Wiltshire’s Lord Lieutenant Sarah Troughton is supporting a local initiative to fund more specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in the county.
Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children helps dozens of families in Wiltshire, and Mrs Troughton – the Queen’s official representative in the county – is backing the charity’s drive to ensure more local babies, children and young people get the equipment support they need, when they really need it.
Mrs Troughton said: “The work Newlife does to support and care for disabled and terminally ill children and their families is commendable. Any support people feel able to give to the Wiltshire appeal will make a difference to many lives and I know will be greatly welcomed and appreciated.”
Right now, there is one disabled children in Wiltshire who need your help to get the specialist equipment that will really change their lives. That’s why Newlife Foundation, the UK’s leading children’s disability charity, is launching the Newlife Wiltshire Fund – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/wiltshire It is an opportunity for local people to help local disabled children and every penny donated or fundraised in Wiltshire is guaranteed to support vulnerable families in the county.
Special disability equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, beds, seating and communication aids can help give children independence, keep them safe, relieve pain and overcome challenges. For instance, you could help a child take their first steps or kick a football with their friends. . . .
Together we can really change the lives of disabled children – supporting them to experience and enjoy life and all that we take for granted.
Newlife has already helped 60 children in Wiltshire just like Ashton (see story below) through equipment grants and loans totalling more than £158,123, so we know there is a very real need for a specific county fund. In this way we aim to help more children, more quickly.
Statutory services in Wiltshire often have a responsibility to make equipment provision – but when help is declined, Newlife steps in. The charity challenges many such decisions and has an impressive success rate. However, where we are unable to overturn these decisions, we provide the equipment ourselves through our range of grant and loan services. We do this with the support of front-line health professionals across Wiltshire who have helped Newlife help local children in real need.
The Newlife Wiltshire Fund will support equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.
Vitally, the Newlife Wiltshire Fund website – www.newlifecharity.co.uk/wiltshire – will enable local people to find out who needs help in their county right now and highlight the support the charity gives vulnerable families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support local disabled children and their families.
That might involve taking part in a local sporting challenge, give you information on how to organise a fundraising event – or even ask you to donate £5 today! Volunteers are also needed to help raise awareness of what we do and how we do it.
We hope that by launching the Newlife Wiltshire Fund, disabled and terminally ill children in the county won’t have to go without the equipment they need for everyday life.
Newlife Foundation supports families in Wiltshire through a range of free services: Nurse-staffed helpline Equipment grants Emergency equipment loans Sensory and developmental toy ‘pod’ loans.
NEW SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FOR ASHTON
A specialist lightweight buggy with room for vital medical equipment has changed the life of a three-year-old Wiltshire boy and his grandmother as they can now get out and about.
Ashton Bonner from Swindon has complex physical and medical needs after he was born prematurely at just 27 weeks. He has a diagnosis of Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy which affects his arms and legs as well as Chronic Lung Disease which needed a tracheostomy. He is tube fed, has to have regular suction to keep his airways clear and at times also requires oxygen therapy.
Unable to sit or stand unaided, Ashton has limited head control and needs 24 hour postural support. He was provided with a wheelchair by his local Wheelchair Services which had been adapted with a lowered tray to carry the medical equipment he needs with him at all times. However, it was very heavy and the tray was so low it meant it could only be pushed along flat, even surfaces – which restricted the simplest of outings.
Although Wheelchair Services were unable to provide a suitable alternative for Ashton, they did provide a voucher for £1,733 towards the £3,555 cost of a Stingray buggy which would meet his needs. Ashton’s grandmother and main carer, Maria Davis, turned to Newlife to help fund the remaining £1,821.
Maria said: “The new buggy has changed our lives. It has a carbon frame and is about a quarter of the weight of the old one which easily weighed 50 kilos even before Ashton was in it. I can push the new one with two fingers and it fits into the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle we have so it’s just a lot easier.
“The tray on the old buggy caught on everything and it was impossible to push along anything but flat, even ground, which really limited where we could go. Also, when you tilted it backward for a kerb to cross the road all his equipment fell off the tray.”
She added: “The new buggy is perfect and so easy and simple to use. Ashton loves it and he is so happy and comfortable in it. It’s easy to turn him around in the buggy so I can have him facing me if I need to do a discreet bit of suctioning; it accommodates all his medical equipment and also has a tray on the front so he can play.
“We can go wherever we want with it now, such as country parks, which we couldn’t have done before. Ashton loves it, he’s a dream come true in it – it’s changed our lives!”
Pictured: Ashton Bonner