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A simple piece of specialist equipment will help keep three-year-old James Smith from Uttoxeter safe and comfortable.

James has Downs Syndrome with associated heart defects and learning disabilities in conjunction with a genetic disorder affecting the breakdown of food. He has limited mobility, requiring support to sit and stand, and is fed through a tube in his stomach.

When he is at home, James uses a specialist chair – but due to a recent growth spurt has outgrown his existing equipment. Mum Hayley says there is no statutory funding available for a replacement, so she and her husband turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation – which is based in Staffordshire – for help.

Newlife is the charity partner of Central England Co-operative; since May 2012 colleagues and customers have raised more than £670,000 to help provide specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in their retail area. To date, this has funded 292 items of equipment, with the latest grant awarded to James.

Hearing that her application for the £2,877 chair is being funded through Central England Co-operative’s support, Hayley said: “This is wonderful news. Specialist equipment like this seat for James makes such a difference to families’ everyday lives. It will allow him to play a bigger part in family life.”

The seating will support James’s postural needs and its height-adjustable facility will mean he can use it to sit at the family dining table as well as be lowered to sofa level to play with his six-year-old brother.

Hayley added: “The seat has a safety strap so we will have peace of mind knowing he is secure at all times; that is very important.”

Daniel Warburton, manager of the Central England Co-operative supermarket in The Maltings, Uttoxeter, said: “As a regional retailer we always ensure that our staff-elected charity supports people in need in our trading area. We are delighted to have been able to help James and his family in this way.”

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 – freephone 0800 902 0095 – or go to:

Pictured: James Smith.

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