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Midlands Co-op Charity of the Year

Television star pauline quirke launches charity partnership

Actress Pauline Quirke was in Great Barr,Birmingham, yesterday (May 14, 2012) to launch a partnership between Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and Midlands Co-operative Society Ltd, which will help support hundreds of vulnerable families over the next two years.

Newlife Foundation is a Cannock-based national charity providing information and practical support to thousands of families of disabled and terminally ill children across theUK. This partnership will enable Newlife to help even more children in Midlands Co-operative’s trading area of 11 counties which includes the core counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and theWest Midlands.

The two-year partnership was launched at the Midlands Co-operative store inWalsall Road, Great Barr, with help from Pauline Quirke – who opened last night in the Birds Of A Feather stage show at theNewAlexandraTheatreinBirmingham.

Pauline, who was accompanied by her husband, said: “We read about all the work the charity does to help disabled children and we were pleased to help.”

Pauline met Sutton Coldfield mum Emma Tucker and her children Esme and Joel. Newlife has recently provided the family with a much-needed specialist buggy for Esme, aged six.

The event was attended by Newlife Foundation CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, and Midlands Co-operative Great Barr food store manager Rob Collins and Co-operative Funeralcare Director Kiran Bhogal.

Rob Collins said: “We always ensure that all of the money we raise supports people in our trading area and we are very excited that our new charity partner is based locally inCannock, Staffordshire. Newlife is theUK’s leading children’s disability charity and we are delighted that the money we will be raising for 2012 and 2013 will be going to such a worthwhile local cause.”

As part of its range of support services, Newlife provides a wide range of disability equipment including wheelchairs, buggies, walking and standing frames, specialist car seats and beds, safe environments, safety seating, portable hoists, sensory and communication aids. To date, the charity has awarded more than £2m of equipment grants to around 1,500 children across the Midlands Co-operative area alone. And this figure is increasing every week.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Midlands Co-operative Society Ltd is well known for its commitment to serving local communities and I know our partnership will play a key role in changing the lives of many vulnerable children and their families.

“Every penny raised by Midlands Co-operative staff will be used to buy specialist equipment to help local disabled and terminally ill children. Equipment ‘enables’. It can mean the difference between comfort and freedom, engagement or isolation, freedom or a worsening condition. Equipment costing from just a couple of hundred pounds to several thousands can revolutionise lives.”

She added: “I would also like to thank Pauline and her husband for taking time out of their busy schedule to come along to Great Barr and support us in raising Newlife’s profile. The more families who know about us, the more disabled and terminally ill children we can help. And I am confident Pauline’s support will galvanise Midlands Co-operative staff into some fantastic fundraising initiatives to help give us the funds to deliver that vital help.”

In addition to funding specialist equipment, Newlife operates a free Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – offering information and support to thousands of families. This is complemented by its ‘Just Can’t Wait’ emergency service which provides essential equipment for terminally ill children within just 72 hours. Newlife has also invested £12million in child health medical research to help understand, prevent and treat conditions.

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Pictured from left: back row, mum Emma Tucker, actress Pauline Quirke, Newlife Foundation CEO Sheila Brown; front row, Esme Tucker, Joel Tucker and Great Barr Midlands Co-operative manager Rob Collins.