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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 ones across Tyne and Wear – profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to national charity Newlife Foundation 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 four-year-old Morgan Wood is one of more than 140 children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. A specialist chair has transformed mealtimes at his Newcastle home.

Morgan, who lives with his parents and seven-year-old brother Cole in the Blakelaw area of Newcastle, has Dravet Syndrome, a rare genetic condition which results in epileptic seizures and developmental delays. In Morgan’s case this includes being hyperactive and he was struggling to sit anywhere for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

Mum Tammy Minto explains: “Getting him to sit down on a normal chair was always really dangerous because he just wouldn’t sit still. It was a matter of having to chase him round the house with finger food to get him to eat anything at all.”

Morgan’s physiotherapist recommended a specialist chair designed for children with complex learning difficulties. With no local statutory funding available, Tammy was advised to contact Newlife for help.

She said: “The new chair is smashing – it is really secure. It took a couple of weeks for Morgan to get used to it, but now he loves sitting in it. In fact, he tries to drag it all round the house with him.

“It has transformed mealtimes because we can now all sit down together to eat, and it is a lot less chaotic. This also helps our older son, Cole, who is on the autistic spectrum.”

Newlife Foundation 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 Foundation for Disabled Children go to

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 175 children in the Tyne and Wear area, at a cost of £200,659. 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