Latest Newlife News


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 in Leeds – 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 Toby Wales is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative.

With Bag Levy funding from River Island, Newlife has helped provide Toby with a lightweight wheelchair for increased independence.


A whole new world of academic study is opening up to 17-year-old Toby Wales, from Pool in Wharfedale, thanks to the equipment.

Toby says: “This chair is BRILLIANT, I can do so much more now, without help and without pain. Thank you.”

Toby has Charcot Marie Tooth disease, a progressive condition that affects the muscles. While he can walk short distances, Toby really needs wheelchair support to get around.

Mum Ruth Wales said: “His old wheelchair was heavy and clumsy and not all the surfaces at school are wheelchair friendly. He was very self-conscious about asking for help so stopped using his wheelchair at school, which meant that by the time he got home he was absolutely exhausted.

“Getting the new lightweight wheelchair helped straight away. Two weeks before delivery he had had an operation and couldn’t walk while he was recovering. So it was brilliant timing. Toby can self-propel it everywhere, which has meant he could still get out and about independently and not have to rely on someone else to push him. Without the new wheelchair he would have been housebound for parts of the school holidays. As it was, he was able to get on the bus into Leeds and meet up with friends.”

Toby – who is currently studying for A-levels in maths, politics and religious studies at Prince Henry’s Grammar School – is now hoping to continue his studies and has already been to visit universities in Leeds and Northumbria. Ruth added: “This is something Toby feels he can now do, thanks to the wheelchair.”

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 go to

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 406 children in West Yorkshire, at a cost of £463,197. If you think you could help a local child, go to for further details.

Pictured: Toby Wales