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Two top Tyne and Wear hotels are supporting the UK’s leading children’s disability charity with staff fundraising activities later this month.

Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park and Newcastle Gateshead Metro Centre Marriott Hotel are aiming to fund two £400 Kit Boxes, full of specialist sensory and developmental toys and aids, for Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.

Newlife has funded £107,005 of essential specialist equipment for 61 disabled and terminally ill children in Tyne and Wear; it also offers a ‘Kit Box’ service, loaning out sensory and developmental aids to families across the UK. This service is so much in demand that the charity currently has around 130 families on the waiting list.

Staff fundraising activities at the hotels on Tuesday 20 November are designed to raise enough money to kit out another two boxes to add to the 30-plus the charity already has out on loan. Staff will also be encouraging guests to donate, with collecting cans on display in the hotel reception areas.

Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park General Manager Andrew Fletcher said: “I am delighted we are able to build a strong relationship with Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and support the charity. We will make the event on the 20th of November a great success. This is just the start as we plan to continue raising funds in the future and helping to make a difference for these children.”

Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson said: “Play is important to all children, but for those with a disability the opportunity to access a variety of interesting and varied aids may not be a reality. Some of this equipment is around £200 for a single item, which puts it beyond the financial reach of many of the families we support. The Newlife Kit Box scheme was launched in 2011 to help alleviate this financial burden and to enable children to trial equipment.

“Many families use our Kit Boxes to find out what sort of aids and toys best suits their child before either buying the items for themselves, applying to charities like Newlife for funding or approaching us for another box to continue the good work.”

Kit Boxes are available to borrow, free of charge, from the charity for up to 12 weeks at a time by contacting the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 or by emailing

Karen added: “Sensory equipment is effective for children with visual impairment, can have a calming effect on those with behavioural and issues and stimulates others with learning difficulties. The use of sensory equipment encourages children to get more control over their bodies and their environment and can be a fun way for families to interact.”

Newlife fundraising manager Nora Smith said: “The charity is grateful to ‘local heroes’ like the staff at the two Newcastle Marriott hotels for their support; we know what a huge difference access to equipment like this makes, not only to the children themselves but to their wider families. If anyone thinks they can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640.”

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