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The lives of more than 630 disabled and terminally ill babies, children and young people across central England have been transformed, thanks to a five-year charity partnership.

Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children became Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity in 2012 and since then colleagues and customers have raised £1.5million – every penny of which is directly spent on specialist equipment to help change lives.

So far, 635 children across the Central England Co-operative trading area have received equipment including wheelchairs, walking frames, seating, portable hoists and communication aids. One of the most recent children to benefit is Ravneek Singh Kaloti from Coventry (see story below).

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership with a fantastic organisation. Central England Co-operative colleagues in stores across 16 counties have put so much effort into events to raise money for Newlife. That really shows, and has helped hundreds of families who might otherwise have had to struggle on without the specialist equipment they needed.”

Sheila Brown and Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle got together at the company’s Boley Park store in Lichfield, Staffordshire, yesterday (Tuesday 25 July) with Matthew and his mum Christine Smith to mark the end of the successful partnership. Martyn Cheatle added: “For us, it’s been a fantastic five years and we are so proud to have been able to raise £1.5million. However, the important part of the entire partnership has been that we have been able to give all of the money back to support people in the local communities that we serve.”


Seventeen-year-old Ravneek Singh Kaloti has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an aggressive and life-limiting condition. So every day is precious. But his devoted family couldn’t easily take him on days out or on holiday because he needed a portable hoist to transfer him safely in and out of his wheelchair.

At home the family has a ceiling track hoist to help them – but that means they can only leave the house for a limited time, and certainly not overnight.  Which means Ravneek was missing out.

Mum Raikha Kaloti, from Whitmore Park in Coventry, explained: “It was restrictive for all of us, but particularly for Ravneek as it meant he was missing out on a lot of opportunities. We were always worried about the risk of dropping him.”

£3,095 was needed to free Ravneek to enjoy the world around him and help his family make precious memories. This has now been made possible thanks to funding from Central England Co-operative.

The family added: “We would like to thank everyone involved in providing this equipment for Ravneek, who will now be able to get around to see the world which he was missing before.”

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported more than 1,550 under-19s in the West Midlands, with equipment totalling £1,510,099. For more information, go to Newlife is currently working with a further 56 families in the county, with equipment needs of £29,231.

Pictured1 (L to R): Martyn Cheatle, CEO Sheila Brown OBE, Christine Smith & Matthew Smith and Karen Dobson

Pictured2: Ravneek Singh Kaloti