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Newlife is urgently calling on support from the local community to raise £7,000 for a Winchester family pushed to the brink because of an 18 month wait for an equipment assessment by Hampshire County Council for their nine-year-old disabled son.

Finley Collyer has Down Syndrome, Autism and is also deaf.  Despite his nine years, he only has the mental age of a two year old and doesn’t understand the danger the world around him presents – particularly at night-time.

When he wakes – which he does frequently, regularly starting the day at 4am – he constantly puts himself at risk, climbing furniture and once unlocking the front door of the family’s home and crossing the busy main road where they live.  Because he couldn’t hear the cars he had no idea how much danger he was in.

Petrified for his safety mum, Helen, has been forced to sleep on his bedroom floor to protect him after being told they have to wait 18 months for a social care assessment for a specialist bed from Hampshire County Council.

Unable to bear the wait the family contacted Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help to raise £7,190 for a specialist, protective bed that will keep him safe at night, and give the family desperately needed peace of mind, and a decent night’s sleep.

Unfortunately the charity simply doesn’t have enough funds available at the moment – so is appealing to the local community to come to the rescue.

Finley and his mum haven’t had a full night’s sleep for years.  The family are desperate to bring a sense of ‘normality’ to Finley’s life – to allow him to have a bit of independence and give him a bedroom like any other child his age.  The specialist bed, called a Safespace, would allow him to be safe at night and give Helen the chance to sleep in her own bed.

Although Finley’s Occupational Therapist agreed he needs the bed, the local authority has a waiting list of at least 18 months before it would be able to assess him.

Finley’s mum, Helen said: “We have tried everything to help Finley settle at night, even taking all of the toys out of his room and keeping it as basic as possible – but this feels so very unfair. He’s a child, he should be able to have his toys in his room.

“Having a Safespace bed would let Finley be like other children – he would be able to play in his room but he would also be safe enough to go to bed by himself. It would make an enormous difference to all of our lives.”

“Any kind of delay in assessing a child with a disability has a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing,” explains Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown.

“However, there is no standard time frame for the maximum period a child should have to wait to be seen for an assessment – this means that some children can be left waiting years.

“A specialist bed like this will not only keep Finley safe, but will give Helen the opportunity to get the rest she needs and this in turn will help her care for Finley. We understand how important it is to them as a whole family but without the generous support of the public we won’t be able to help.”

Including Finley, Newlife has seven other children across Hampshire who are currently waiting for specialist equipment costing over £40,000.

Anyone who is able to help Finley should urgently contact Newlife on 01543 431444. To donate £10 text FINC10 to 70070 or email

Money raised above the amount needed for Finley’s Safespace will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in need in the South East.