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The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across Essex for their help, as the number of families who urgently need vital equipment has reached an all-time high.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “We are currently working with 25 families in Essex who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £19,442. And we are continually receiving new applications.

“The equipment they need is all vital for their children’s everyday lives – and the situation will only get worse as statutory services narrow the range of support they offer.”

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Demand on its resources has increased by 26 per cent in the past 12 months.

Sheila added: “Newlife works with hundreds of national retailers and manufacturers to operate its own successful recycling and retail business which funds core services, however we have received more applications for vital equipment from desperate families than ever before. I am worried that, with demand continuing to rise, we may not be able to help every child. Public support has never been needed more.

“For many the right equipment at the right time not only relieves pain and isolation, it helps prevent long-term deterioration and enables children to make the most of life’s opportunities. In some cases, the equipment we provide means that children can be discharged home from hospital and into the care of their families. For others, having a hi-tech wheelchair means they can continue with their education or specialist supportive seating gets them out of bed and back at the heart of family life.”

She added: “I know this is a busy time for families as they start thinking about the festive season, but I am urging Essex Live readers to spare a minute to consider how they could help improve a disabled child’s life this Christmas. All fundraising and donations can be restricted to help change the life of a disabled child in your area. And we let everyone know how their money has been spent.”

Newlife – – has provided specialist equipment for 267 children in Essex, at a cost of £335,261. As well as awarding grants, the charity also works with families to offer Emergency Equipment Loans, often within 72 hours of an application being made, a Play Therapy Pod service for those with complex needs and Comfort Capsules so families of terminally ill children can make memories together.

To find out how the charity supports families in your area, You can donate to your Local Fund through the website, or alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email
One of the 25 children in Essex who currently needs your help is three-year-old Jessica Morris from Tillingham.

In order for three-year-old Jessica to travel in safety she needs a specialist car seat, but she has out grown her current one so it is becoming increasingly difficult to take her out in the family car safely.

Jessica has Rett Syndrome which is a rare condition that affects her brain and physical development. She is in need of a specialist car seat as it is essential for her posture and will help prevent further deterioration to her spine as she gets older. With the specialist car seat costing £2,535 her family turned to Newlife for help.

Mum Tracey Morris said: “It’s become very difficult taking Jessica out in the car because she is no longer comfortable. The new car seat would make a big difference to our lives; I would be able to take Jessica out r knowing she is safe and comfortable.”

Getting a new car seat means Jessica will be seated correctly while maintaining her posture – making it an easier car journey for the whole family.

If you would like to help Jessica get her own special secure car seat, go to and click on the Donate button next to Jessica’s story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email Any money raised surplus to requirements for Jessica will be used to help other local children.

Pictured: Jessica Morris