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

The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across Hampshire 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 22 families in Hampshire who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £66,862. 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 ‘local heroes’ 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 – www.newlifecharity.co.uk – has provided specialist equipment for 414 children in Hampshire, at a cost of £626,287. 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/hampshire. 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]

One of the 22 children in Hampshire who currently requires your help is
four-year-old Keiley Gough from Southampton. She needs a specialist high-sided bed of her own to keep her safe at night.

Keiley has a neurological condition and her future is unknown. Whilst she can’t walk, she can crawl and pulls herself into a standing position. Keiley has little awareness of danger and so was sleeping in a child’s cot; however, she started sliding, head first, over the side rails, putting herself at risk.

Mum Allana Rossiter said: “Statutory services weren’t interested in funding a specialist high sided bed for Keiley so her occupational therapist told us to contact Newlife Foundation for help.”

Recognising the urgency of the situation, Newlife delivered just what Keiley needed within a few days, through its Emergency Equipment Loans service. The bed has high sides so she can’t climb out and is padded to provide a low stimulation environment which encourages sleep.

But Keiley needs a permanent bed of her own to ensure her long-term safety – and this will cost £6,440.

If you would like to support Keiley in getting her permanent bed, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire and click on the Donate button next to her story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected] Any money raised surplus to requirements for Keiley will help another child in Hampshire.

Allana said: “Since we got the emergency loan bed, Keiley is sleeping much better – and so are the rest of the family as we aren’t constantly worried about her. She still wakes up, but I know I can leave her to play and then settle herself back to sleep.”

Pictured: Keiley Gough

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