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CAN YOU HELP US KEEP LITTLE CHARLIE SAFE?

Six-year-old Charlie Hall from Witney in Oxfordshire has autism and a severe learning disability that results in challenging behaviours; he needs a specialist buggy so his family don’t become housebound.

Now Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is looking for ‘local heroes’ who can help us make this happen. We already have £346 towards this vital piece of equipment, which costs £1,039. But we still require £693.

We need donors and fundraisers who want to really make a difference, helping us transform Charlie’s everyday life. To find out how you can support Charlie, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/oxfordshire and click on the Donate button next to his story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Oxfordshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Charlie will be used to help other local children.

Charlie’s mum Sara Hall said: “Charlie is outgrowing his current special needs pushchair. I remember when we were waiting for a referral for this one we got to the point where we were housebound; I don’t want that to happen again.”

Charlie can walk short distances on tiptoes, with the help of an adult, but he has a tendency to become anxious – so a buggy is important for everyday life.

With no funding available from local statutory services for a suitable replacement, Charlie’s occupational therapist recommended the family apply to Newlife for help. Sara said: “Charlie can wriggle out of the straps on his current pushchair and he has a thing about personal space – if people get too close he can ‘kick off’. The larger specialist buggy we now need will give Charlie the opportunity to wriggle and move around to meet his sensory needs – but a special harness will keep him secure and he will be more enclosed so he can’t interfere with anything or anyone. For example, he has cleared entire shelves in the supermarket before now.”

Charlie, the youngest of four children, is sensitive to noise and touch and has little awareness of danger. Sara said: “When he wriggles out of his pushchair at the moment he sometimes head butts the floor because of his sensory issues. Obviously, we need to prevent that from happening.”

She added: “Charlie uses his pushchair indoors as well. If he is having a particularly rough day he likes to sit in it – he feels secure. He can’t talk, but that’s his signal to say ‘Don’t come near me, I don’t want anyone to touch me’.

“I know that a larger special needs buggy will be right for him because Charlie has had the opportunity to trial one. He absolutely loved it – so much so that he wouldn’t get out of it. In the end he had a huge meltdown because he had to get out of it.”

Newlife has already helped provide specialist equipment for 124 children in Oxfordshire, at a cost of £94,694. If you think you could help Charlie, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/oxfordshire.

Pictured: Charlie Hall

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