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 Ealing’s Broadway Centre – all 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.
Local five-year-old Grace Shabo from Greenford in Ealing is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. She is now able to travel without pain, thanks to a special car seat.
Grace has Cerebral Palsy which affects both her arms and legs and means she has to be lifted for all transfers and uses a buggy to go out into the community. She also needs extra support to sit properly and her muscles will contract involuntarily which affects her sleep. Grace additionally has a learning difficulty and is fed through a tube.
Grace was using a standard car seat, but this was becoming too small and no longer gave her the support she needs to keep her safe or comfortable. She was outgrowing the seat quickly and her legs were touching the back of the passenger seat in front of her.
However the cost of the specialist car seat Grace needed was almost £2,600, so her parents, Linda Yalda and Steve Shabo, contacted Newlife Foundation, which provided the vital piece of equipment through Bag Levy funding from River Island.
Mum Linda said: “Grace was stiff and tense all the time in her old seat. It didn’t have enough padding to support her properly and it was hurting her. I was also struggling to transfer her in and out of the car.”
Now Grace has the new car seat, she can enjoy journeys with her parents and one-year-old sister, Jessica, whether they are popping to Grace’s school which is five minutes away or going out for the day.
Linda said: “The car seat Grace has now means she is safe and comfortable and so much happier. I’m not worried about her safety at all now and when I see her smile, I’m happy.
“This seat also makes it much easier to get Grace in and out of the car. Travelling by car is much better now. We’re very glad she has it.”
Newlife Foundation CEO Sheila Brown added: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife for specialist equipment which can help transform 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 and how to access its services, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline or go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk.
Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 765 children in Greater London, at a cost of £980,291. If you think you could help a child in the county, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/greaterlondon for further details.
Pictured: Grace Shabo