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Five-year-old Libbi-Faith Dudley from Birmingham now has an opportunity for more independence, thanks to the fabulous fundraisers at local Central England Co-operative stores.

Libbi, who lives with her parents and 11-year-old brother Joe in Bartley Green, has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, which means she has limited mobility with poor body and head control. She is fed through a tube in her stomach and needs oxygen when she is unwell.

Her parents are delighted that she has now been given her own specialist walker after Libbi had an opportunity to trial the equipment at a disability exhibition – and take her first independent steps.

Mum Eloise said: “Yes, she found it quite a challenge, but she took a few steps and was very proud of herself. It was a huge ‘lump in the throat’ moment.”

She added: “With the help of this specialist walking frame we are hoping she will be able to get herself around the open plan ground floor of our home; I look forward to the day when she suddenly starts appearing in the kitchen!”

Not only will the walker give Libbi a bit of independence, being in an upright position will help improve her digestion and muscle tone, providing an alternative to her wheelchair. “We also noticed that using the walker has helped her gain a bit more head and trunk control,” said Eloise.

With no local statutory funding available, the family turned to the UK’s leading charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, Newlife Foundation, for help to secure the £1,857 walker. Newlife had previously helped support Libbi with provision of a specialist car seat to ensure her safety while travelling.

Eloise said: “The nurses at Newlife are very approachable and have helped with a number of issues regarding Libbi’s condition.” Newlife is Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity. Colleagues and customers have raised more than £883,000 for Newlife; this has already helped 417 children with disabilities and terminal illness in the retailer’s trading area get the vital equipment they need, when they need it.

Donna Goodby, Manager of the Central England Co-operative convenience store in Quinton Road West, Quinton, Birmingham, said: “As a regional retailer we always ensure that our staff-elected charity supports people in need in our trading area. We are delighted to have been able to help Libbi and her family in this way.”

For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to:

Pictured: Libbi-Faith Dudley