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Do you know someone in Birmingham and the Black Country with a disabled child who struggles to get the specialist equipment support they need?

If so, a new community outreach project could provide a helping hand and make a real difference to their everyday lives. Reaching Out is a two-year support programme from national charities Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and Include Me TOO, with backing from the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

Outreach support workers from Include Me TOO will be working with local groups and communities in Birmingham and the Black Country – particularly those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – to make more families aware of the specialist help available through Midlands-based Newlife Foundation’s equipment services.

To help raise awareness within individual communities, Reaching Out is recruiting local volunteers with experience of caring for a disabled child.  Anyone who would like to find out more can call Melanie on 07508 848 920 or 01902 711604 email Full training and support will be provided by Include Me TOO.

Reaching Out has been boosted by £91,000 from the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, in a bid to break down the barriers which prevent families of disabled and terminally ill children from accessing the support they need, when they need it.

All Newlife Foundation services – which are free – are accessed via the Newlife Nurse Helpline: freephone 0800 902 0095 or email

Newlife offers Equipment Grants to provide vital disability equipment such as wheelchairs, beds and buggies, car seats, stair climbers, walking and standing frames, portable hoists and communication aids. In 2013/14 Newlife funded 117 Equipment Grants in the West Midlands totalling £192,808 (£2,088,105 UK-wide).

The charity also has an emergency equipment loan service for families of terminally ill and life-limited children – called Just Can’t Wait – which aims to deliver wheelchairs, buggies, beds, seating and hoists within three days. In many cases this means children can leave hospital to be cared for at home with their families. Right now, 18 families in the West Midlands are being supported through Just Can’t Wait.

Newlife’s Play Therapy Pod service offers three-month loans of ‘pods’ containing around £400 of sensory and developmental toys. There are more than 320 in circulation and they enable families of children with complex needs to play together, often for the first time.

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