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 Princes Street, Edinburgh – 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 teenager Jack Thomson is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative.
With Bag Levy funding from River Island, Newlife has given Jack a specialist bed, at a cost of £2,500, so he can sleep in safety.
Jack, 15, has Christianson Syndrome, which means he has no independent mobility, experiences epileptic seizures and has severe learning difficulties. He lives with his mum in Edinburgh, but she is currently recovering from a brain haemorrhage; to allow her some respite, Jack’s grandparents look after him at their home in the city a couple of nights each week.
Grandma Terry Thomson said: “Getting the safety bed has been brilliant. Before we had it, Jack had to sleep between his granddad and I; and one of us had to be with him at all times because he has no awareness of safety and would just fall out of bed and hurt himself. He is fed through a tube in his stomach, so we wouldn’t want him to dislodge it. Jack is happy to play in the new bed if he wakes up, so we don’t have to worry about his safety if we want to prepare his feed or get his clothes ready or do everyday things like pop to the toilet or make a cup of tea.”
The new equipment is portable, which means if Jack needs to spend time in hospital the bed can go with him. Terry said: “Fortunately, he hasn’t had to go into hospital for a while, but last time he was admitted there wasn’t a safe bed available for him so his mum and I had to sleep on the floor either side of him.”