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CALLS FOR HELP FROM FAMILIES OF DISABLED CHILDREN IN SCOTLAND HIT AN ALL-TIME HIGH

The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across Scotland for their help, as the number of families who urgently need vital equipment has reached an all-time high.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “We are currently working with 27 families in Scotland who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £108,000. And we are continually receiving new applications.

“The equipment they require is all vital for their children’s everyday lives – and the situation will only get worse as statutory services narrow the range of support they offer.”

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Demand on its resources has increased by 26 per cent in the past 12 months.

Sheila added: “Newlife works with hundreds of national retailers and manufacturers to operate its own successful recycling and retail business which funds core services, however we have received more applications for vital equipment from desperate families than ever before. I am worried that, with demand continuing to rise, we may not be able to help every child. Public support has never been needed more.

“For many the right equipment at the right time not only relieves pain and isolation, it helps prevent long-term deterioration and enables children to make the most of life’s opportunities. In some cases, the equipment we provide means that children can be discharged home from hospital and into the care of their families. For others, having a hi-tech wheelchair means they can continue with their education or specialist supportive seating gets them out of bed and back at the heart of family life.”

She added: “I know this is a busy time for families as they start thinking about the festive season, but I am urging Daily Record readers to spare a minute to consider how they could help improve a disabled child’s life this Christmas. All fundraising and donations can be restricted to help change the life of a disabled child in your county. And we let everyone know how their money has been spent.”

Newlife – www.newlifecharity.co.uk – has provided specialist equipment for 560 children in Scotland, at a cost of £969,554. As well as awarding grants, the charity also works with families to offer Emergency Equipment Loans, often within 72 hours of an application being made, a Play Therapy Pod service for those with complex needs and Comfort Capsules so families of terminally ill children can make memories together.

To find out how the charity supports families in your area, go to the website home page and click on the County Map. You can donate to your County Fund through the website, or alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]

One of the 27 children in Scotland who currently needs your help is six-year-old Amy Robertson, from Glasgow. A specialist sleeping environment will keep her safe at night.

Newlife already has £2,366 towards this vital piece of equipment, which costs £7,100, and has received some small additional donations. But we still require £4,416.

Amy, who lives in the Hillington area of the city, has the rare genetic brain condition lissencephaly which has resulted in developmental delay, muscle weakness and a visual impairment.
Mum Amanda Robertson says: “Amy is still sleeping in a baby cot but she now fills the length of it and keeps getting her legs trapped in the bars. It’s a real safety concern – I’m worried she will end up breaking a leg. But she can’t sleep in a regular bed because that would put her at risk too.”

Amanda says she has had to move home twice because of the noise that Amy makes at night – constantly rocking from side to side and banging on the cot. She said: “Amy doesn’t sleep very well and she can go on for hours. I am always afraid that she will harm herself, particularly her head.”

Although she hasn’t yet suffered any injuries, Amy’s occupational therapist has recommended a safe sleeping environment – called a SafeSpace – to resolve the safety concerns, but there is no local statutory funding available for this equipment. Which is why Amanda turned to Newlife.
Amanda added: “The SafeSpace will be ideal for Amy in terms of safety as well as reducing noise levels because there will be nothing hard to bang against and will mean peace of mind for me.”

If you would like to support Amy, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/glasgowcity and click on the Donate button next to her story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]

Pictured: Amy Robertson

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