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When you are asked to pay five pence for a carrier bag in a store have you ever wondered what happens to the money? Well, in the case of River Island outlets – like the one in Pontefract’s Bishopgate Walk – profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

River Island is doing something fantastic with the plastic profits – funding a range of specialist disability equipment. Local five-year-old Jack Bamforth is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. Provision of a specialist car seat and a safety harness are helping to keep him safe.

Jack, from Pontefract, has autism and a sensory processing disorder. He has no awareness of danger and car journeys had become very stressful because Jack could not only undo the safety harness on his standard car seat but also unbuckle the belt that held the seat in place.

Mum Laura Bamforth said: “Safety was a real issue, not just for Jack but for everyone else in the car including his little sister Jessie. When my mum took him out on her own he would suddenly appear in the passenger seat next to her. A special-needs car seat was our only option.”

With the equipment costing £738 and no funding available from local statutory services, the family turned to Newlife for help. Now, with the support of River Island, Jack not only has his specialist car seat but also a harness so mum Laura can keep him safe when she is out on her own with Jack and his sister.

Laura said: “This has made a massive difference, just knowing he is secure and we don’t have to be constantly watching him.”

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, added: “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

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 442 children in West Yorkshire, at a cost of £511,899. However, we are currently working with a further 24 families in the area with equipment needs totalling £11,895. If you think you could help a local child, go to for further details. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email

Pictured: Jack Bamforth