The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across Merseyside 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 32 families in Merseyside who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £34,062. 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 Liverpool Echo 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 – www.newlifecharity.co.uk – has provided specialist equipment for 582 children in Merseyside, at a cost of £506,976. 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/Merseyside. You can donate to your Local Fund through the website, or alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email email@example.com.
One of the 32 children in Merseyside who currently needs your help is six-year-old Niamh Crighton from Bebington.
Niamh is in need of a specialist car seat that will give her essential safety postural support when she goes out and about with her family. A recent growth spurt means that her booster seat is no longer big enough, she is now able to free herself from the seat while her parents drive – making travelling unsafe.
Niamh Crighton has Downs Syndrome which has resulted in her having low muscle tone and hypermobility of her joints. As part of her condition, she has physical and developmental delays, floppy muscles and gets tired easily when walking. The car seat Niamh needs costs £790 but this is beyond the family’s budget which is why they have turned to Newlife for help.
Mum Mandy Crighton said: “Niamh needs to be positioned so her body is getting the appropriate support while allowing her to sit comfortably like any other child. She is able to get herself out of the booster style car seat now, which is very unsafe, so the specialist equipment is really needed.”
If you would like to help Niamh get her own special secure car seat, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/Merseyside and click on the Donate button next to Niamh’s story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Niamh will be used to help other local children.
Pictured: Niamh Crighton