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A specialist ‘safety sleeper’ means 12-year-old Ryan Neale can now enjoy overnight visits with his grandparents and his family can consider taking a holiday – safe in the knowledge that he won’t be at risk of harm.

Ryan, from Swansea, has a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy combined with dislocated hips and learning difficulties. A wheelchair-user, at home he has a specialist high-sided bed to keep him safe at night. But, says mum Nicola Neale “it isn’t the sort of thing you can take apart and carry with you.”

Nicola added: “We used to have a basic safety tent for Ryan, but he had outgrown this and a normal bed just wouldn’t be suitable; he likes to feel enclosed and he has no awareness of danger so overnight stays away from home have not been possible.”

With hip surgery a consideration, Ryan would also need specialist support to keep him safe while in hospital.

Nicola’s nephew Pascal Neale and his colleagues at the Thomson Holidays Contact Centre in Swansea raised £1,000 towards a safety sleeper for Ryan. But with the equipment costing £3,134, the family contacted Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported 18 families in Swansea with items totalling £20,709.

With funding support from fashion retailer River Island, Newlife ensured delivery of the safety sleeper earlier this month (January) – and Ryan and his family have already used it to visit his grandparents.

The River Island funding comes from sales of carrier bags at its stores UK-wide – stores like the ones in Swansea’s Fforestfach Shopping Park and the city’s Oxford Street. Ryan is one of more than 160 children around the UK to be helped through River Island’s ‘fantastic plastic initiative’.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife for specialist equipment which can have a significant effect on young lives. Having the national support of River Island is an enormous boost for us.”

She added: “Anyone struggling to access equipment through their statutory services should call our Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) to discuss their individual situation.”

If you would like to find out more about Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, go to

For more information about how Newlife supports families in the Swansea area, go to: If you think you could help a local child, go to the website or, alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email


Pictured: Ryan Neale