Midlands disability rights campaigner Jane Raca visited the Staffordshire headquarters of national charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children to find out how the organisation helps families around the UK.
Jane is mum to 15-year-old James, who was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy, autism, severe learning disabilities and epilepsy. A trained lawyer, she is the author of ‘Standing Up for James’, a powerful description of her family’s experiences in bringing up a disabled child.
Jane was given a tour of the Newlife Foundation charity headquarters in Cannock, meeting CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, and the team of disability-experienced nurses who staff the Newlife Nurse Helpline. The nurses are families’ first point of contact with the charity; they offer information and guidance on disability issues, plugging people into their local statutory services, and are the ‘gateway’ to Newlife’s range of practical support services including grants for and loans of specialist equipment.
During the visit Jane said: “Severely disabled and life limited children are the most vulnerable people in our society. There should be no barrier to them getting the equipment they need, to live as normally and pain free as possible. All too often though, their parents struggle with red tape and delays, getting nowhere. Newlife cuts through the red tape and gives what is needed – fast. I wish I had known about them when James was little.”
For further information about Jane, and how to access her book, go to www.standingupforjames.co.uk