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With his new mobile hoist, seven-year-old Adam Butterfield from Peterlee, County Durham is able to do more things outside of the family home. Thanks to retail giant River Island and Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, Adam can be transferred safely not only making it easier and more comfortable for him but also for his mum Nicola McAllister.

When you are asked to pay five pence for a carrier bag in a store have you ever wondered what happens to the money? Well, in the case of River Island outlets – like the one in the Friars Square Shopping Centre in Aylesbury – all profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to national charity Newlife.

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

Adam is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. He is now able to do what he enjoys most, which is being outside with his mum.

Adam has a rare condition called Emanuel Syndrome which has resulted in him having no mobility. He is unable to talk and he is fed via a PEG and uses a wheelchair and standing frame daily to help him get around. He needed a mobile hoist as he is growing bigger and it is becoming increasingly difficult for Nicola to lift him due to her arthritis which often causes her joints to flare up – it takes two people to lift Adam safely but Nicola has to lift him on her own most of the time.

Nicola said: “I had limited what we could do out of the family home because sometimes it wasn’t practical for me to go out with him on my own. He has even stopped sleeping at his grandparents’ home because they are unable to lift him.”

With bag levy funding from River Island, Newlife provided Adam with a specialist mobile hoist, at a cost of £2,205, which will really help him and his mum as he gets older. The quality of life will improve for them both as they will no longer be socially isolated, creating more social and leisure opportunities.

Nicola added: “The hoist has been a great help. Adam is a sociable little boy who likes to go out and about, the mobile hoist has made it easier to get him out of his wheelchair especially when my joints are having a bad day. It’s handy to know I can use the equipment instead of struggling to transfer him – we are going on a mini break soon so the hoist couldn’t have come at a better time.”

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 and how to access its services, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline or go to

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 71 children in the County Durham, at a cost of £78,050. If you think you could help a child in the county, go to for further details.

Pictured: Adam Butterfield