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DISABLED CHILDREN’S EQUIPMENT NEEDS IN GREATER MANCHESTER HIT AN ALL-TIME HIGH

The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across Manchester 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 29 families in Greater Manchester who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £33,389. And we are continually receiving new applications.

“The equipment they need is all essential 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.

One of the children in Greater Manchester currently waiting for help is eight-year-old Levente Kerek, who needs a lightweight seat to swap between wheelchairs. Read his story below.

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 Manchester Evening News 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 county. And we let everyone know how their money has been spent.”

Newlife has provided specialist equipment for 440 children in Greater Manchester, at a cost of £362,233. 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, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/greatermanchester. You can donate to your County Fund through the website, or alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]

Pictured: Levente Kerek

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