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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 those across the Greater Manchester area – profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to 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 13-year-old Paul Tulloch from Parrs Wood in Manchester and three-year-old Jacob O’Neil from Stockport are two of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. Paul now has a hi-tech piece of equipment that will help reduce further deterioration in posture and organ function and Jacob has a specialist car seat to keep him safe.

Paul Tulloch has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and is totally dependent on others for his care needs. He uses an Acheeva – a hi-tech piece of equipment that is a cross between a wheelchair, bed and therapy table – at school, but recent changes in his health meant he needed similar support at home.

With Bag Levy funding from River Island, Newlife has helped give Paul an Acheeva of his own – the equipment arrived last month (May 13), the day after he was discharged from hospital following hip surgery. Through Newlife, River Island has donated £3,533 towards the total cost of the equipment (£5,533).

Mum Dawn Tulloch said: “Paul is still in pain from his recent surgery, however the Acheeva is helping because I am able to constantly reposition him for comfort. He has a tendency to slump to one side – the Acheeva will keep him in a better position to help prevent permanent curvature. It will definitely help reduce pressure sores and reduces handling issues; I am only small and Paul is quite big now, so moving him had become a problem.”

She added: “When he is at home, he will be in the Acheeva all the time, except when he goes to bed. It is an amazing product and will make a huge difference to Paul’s day to day life.”

Jacob O’Neil has a degenerative condition that means he is unable to move on his own and cannot sit unaided. Until recently, Jacob was using a standard car seat – but this wasn’t giving him the support he needed and his head would either tilt too far back, causing him to choke, or flop forward.

River Island’s support has enabled Newlife to help give Jacob a special car seat of his own which allows him to travel in safety and comfort to medical appointments and for days out with the family. Through Newlife, River Island has donated £684 towards the total cost of the equipment.

Mum Sophie Bennett said: “The new car seat has made it a lot easier for Jacob – he is positioned properly so is able to sit straight and the swivel base means that he doesn’t catch his legs when we are getting him into the seat. Before we had it, if we went on any long journeys like to Jacob’s medical appointments, we would have to keep stopping off along the way because he was so uncomfortable. Now he is well supported, comfortable and safe. It is such a relief.”

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

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 378 children in the Greater Manchester area alone, at a cost of £309,075. Newlife is currently working with a further 30 families in the area, with equipment needs totalling £25,214. If you think you could help a child in the area, go to for further details.

Pictured: L-R Jacob & Paul