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At night, young Shanike Henry’s body twists into uncomfortable and potentially health-damaging positions. The nine-year-old from Camberwell has Cerebral Palsy, which affects muscle control and prevents her from repositioning herself so she can relax and sleep.

A partnership between Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children and Marks and Spencer has now given her a specialist sleep system to help solve this problem.

Her mum, Shaneika Barrett, says: “I used pillows and cushions to try and keep her body straight, but Shanike turns to the right and then her body twists into positions which are bad for her posture and health. Her physiotherapist recommended a special sleep system, but there was no funding for this from our local statutory services.”

Shanike, who has undergone hip surgery, also has epilepsy and needs to be positioned for comfort and safety 24/7; during the day she uses a specialist wheelchair.

With the sleep system costing £735, Shanike’s health team suggested the family contact Newlife, the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment.

M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Staffordshire and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 260 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £850,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK.

Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”

Newlife Head of Operations Stephen Morgan added: “The UK has more disabled children than ever before – and our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children. It’s an outrage that families have to ‘battle’ local services and yet still face heart-breaking refusals. The support of organisations like M&S means we can change lives across the UK every day.”

Newlife has helped provide £1,168,021 of equipment for more than 1,000 children in the Greater London area. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 48 families in Greater London with equipment needs totalling £45,433. To find out how you could help a child near you, go to: Alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Greater London will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the metropolitan area.

Pictured: Shanike Henry