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Three-year-old Ross Bell from Edinburgh will have an extra special Christmas this year thanks to charity Newlife and the River Island fashion store chain. Newlife has provided Ross with a special seat called a P-Pod which gives him the essential postural support he needs to enjoy Christmas with his family in comfort and safety.

Ross has Leukodystrophy which is a degenerative neurological condition. Ross has low muscle tone, is no longer able to walk, talk or sit up on his own. His only options for seating were his functional chair, which is very rigid, or laying on the floor with cushions around him, which is not very safe. Both of these offered zero comfort which is why he needed a P-Pod.

A moulded seat on a beanbag style base, it provides comfort and appropriate support to help prevent further health issues.

When you are asked to pay five pence for a carrier bag in a shop have you ever wondered what happens to the money? Well, in the case of River Island outlets – like the ones across Edinburgh – profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to Newlife.

Ross is one of more than 140 children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. Newlife charity, the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, has given Ross a special seat costing £1,219. Which couldn’t have come at a better time.

Mum Sarah Bell said: “Before we got the P-Pod it was very difficult for Ross to interact with us comfortably. He doesn’t sit in his functional seat often as it’s not comfortable for him and laying on the floor isn’t safe. Because of his low muscle tone he needs extra supportive seating.

“The P-Pod will enable Ross to interact with the family more. It’s a lovely addition to our home just before Christmas because Ross has his very own seat. And as the P-Pod has wheels, he will be able to spend time with us in different rooms safely which also means less manual handling.”
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’s range of practical support services go to

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 42 children in the City of Edinburgh, worth over £90,000. If you think you could help a child in the area, go to of Edinburgh for further details.

Pictured: Ross Bell