The UK’s largest charity funder of children’s disability equipment is calling on people across South Wales 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 South Wales who all urgently need specialist equipment. The need currently stands at £72,887. 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 South Wales Evening Post 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 – www.newlifecharity.co.uk – has provided specialist equipment for 657 children in South Wales, at a cost of £627,329. 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 the website home page and click on the County Map. 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 29 children in South Wales who currently needs your help is two-year-old Dafydd Thatcher, from Llanharan.
Dafydd has a rare condition shared with fewer than 100 boys worldwide. This has resulted in him having epilepsy, low muscle tone and minimal head control. He is also registered blind, has global developmental delay and is tube fed.
His brothers – nine-year-old Tomos and five-year-old Rhys – would love to be able to play with him, but they can’t because Dafydd doesn’t have anywhere that is both comfortable and supportive to sit at home.
Dafydd has functional seating for therapeutic purposes but he can only tolerate this for short periods of time and needs a comfy place to sit so he can relax safely with the rest of the family. Newlife is appealing to local heroes in Rhondda Cynon Taf to help get Dafydd the specialist equipment, called a PPod, that will allow him to spend more quality time with his parents and brothers. The PPod will cost £928.
Mum Siobhan Thatcher said: “Dafydd is missing out on quality time with his brothers because he is unable to sit comfortably and be safe which I think is unfair. The specialist seating he needs would create more opportunities for us to make memories together, he’ll be able to play with his brothers and I’ll know he is safe.”
Siobhan added: “Playing with his brothers is a challenge because he has nowhere to sit that is comfortable while giving him all the postural support he needs – the PPod would be perfect for this.”
If you would like to support Dafydd, go to https://newlifecharity.co.uk/Rhondda, Cynon and Taf and click on the Donate button next to his story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]
Pictured: Dafydd Thatcher