A specialist car seat is all little Hawwa Choudhary needs so she can travel in safety and comfort. But because of her complex health needs, this equipment is costing £2,223 – and there is no local statutory funding available in Newcastle for this.
So the family turned for help to Newlife Foundation, the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Newlife has funded more than £170,000 of specialist equipment like wheelchairs, hoists, buggies and walking frames for children in Tyne and Wear. But with local statutory budgets struggling to cope, more and more Tyne and Wear families are turning to Newlife for support. Hawwa will shortly be getting her specialist car seat – but there another nine families in Tyne and Wear currently working with Newlife to secure equipment totalling £11,731.
Hawwa, aged four and from Fenham in Newcastle, has a neurological condition combined with developmental delay. Unable to walk, she tires easily and needs additional postural support while travelling in the family car.
Mum Mussarat Choudhary said: “Hawwa is quite tall for her age and has outgrown her current standard car seat; even though I have removed most of the seat padding to create extra space it is still too small and without the padding it is uncomfortable for her if we travel very far. My parents live two and a half hours away in Scotland, so trips to see them can be a problem.
“A specialist car seat will help support Hawwa’s back and also her head, which currently flops forward when she falls asleep. The one we need also has a swivel base, which will make it easier – and safer – for us to get her in and out of the car as she gets older. And this car seat can ‘grow’ with her, with additional parts to suit Hawwa until she is about 12 years old.”
To find out how you can support Newlife to help children with disabilities and terminal illness in Tyne and Wear, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/tyneandwear. Alternatively, you can contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]
Newlife is the largest single provider of specialist car seats in the UK, having invested more than £1.6million in the safety of disabled and terminally ill children. This is because local authorities do not have a statutory obligation to supply this equipment; instead, families can apply for a medical exemption certificate which allows their children to be transported unsecured.
However, Newlife believes that the safety of disabled children is as important as the in-vehicle security of able-bodied youngsters and is currently campaigning for a change in the law. In the meantime, the charity continues to support families through provision.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of the money donated to help children in Tyne and Wear will be spent on equipment provision for under-19s in the area. The ‘Newlife guarantee’ is possible because the charity operates a successful recycling and retail business, the profits of which underwrite core costs, including administration.
For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to: https://newlifecharity.co.uk.