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Leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation has received £3,200 from electricity distribution company Western Power Distribution (WPD).

The funding has been used to provide specialist Kit Boxes containing sensory toys and aids for children with learning and developmental needs in the South West, Midlands and South Wales.

The first child to benefit in the South West is six-year-old Brooke Prentice, from Torquay in Devon.

Brooke, a pupil at Mayfield School in Torquay, has Global Developmental Delay, Epilepsy and an undiagnosed genetic disorder. Mum Lucie Homes said: “Brooke’s occupational therapist referred her to Newlife for the loan of a Kit Box. She has the opportunity to play with sensory toys at school, but they are very expensive to buy and difficult to find.

“We will get a lot of fun out of playing with these over the summer holidays.”

Newlife Foundation Lead Nurse Karen Dobson said: “Long school summer holidays can be a difficult time for parents of disabled children, particularly those with complex needs. Due to the high cost of specialist equipment, many children with learning and developmental needs only have access to a range of condition-appropriate toys and aids during term time, at school. Therefore, holidays quickly become a time of boredom and frustration for disabled children.”

Newlife loans out a range of its Kit Boxes targeted at different age groups and needs. They are offered to families for up to three months at a time, helping parents to communicate and play with their disabled children.

Currently, more than 100 Kit Boxes are in circulation but Newlife needs dozens more to meet families’ needs, as Karen Dobson explained: “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. Newlife Kit Boxes were launched to help alleviate this financial burden and to enable children to trial equipment.”

She added: “We would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone at Western Power Distribution for helping us to help some of the most vulnerable children in the region. We know what a huge difference this will make to families.”

For further information about the service, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 or email

Anyone who thinks they might be able to help fund additional Kit Boxes can contact the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640.

Picture Caption: WPD’s Luke Stakepole is pictured with six-year-old Brooke Prentice and her mum Lucie Holmes at their home in Torquay using one of the Kit boxes on loan from the Newlife Foundation. 

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