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SAFE PLACE TO SLEEP FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD CHAEL

Three-year-old Chael Edwards will soon be sleeping in safety thanks to the donation of a specialist bed from Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.

Chael, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, has a chromosome deletion which has resulted in development delay, learning disabilities and autistic traits. He is unable to talk and has no awareness of danger.

Chael needs a specialist sleeping environment for overnight safety. He had been using a standard cot; this was secured to the floor after he tipped it over but then he learned to climb over the sides. Newlife stepped in to offer an Emergency Equipment Loan of a secure bed, and now Chael will be getting permanent provision of exactly the right piece of equipment for his needs.

Dad Colin Edwards said: “Chael fell a bunch of times when he climbed over the sides of his old cot and started chewing on the wooden sides for sensory feedback. Getting the new bed will be very important for Chael as he has just started school. He regularly wakes up four or five times a night screaming, which means he is very tired the next day. The new equipment will help us get his sleep patterns under control so he can function better at school.”

“Without our local occupational therapist, Chris Bond, we would still be struggling to cope with Chael’s sleep issues. His role in this has been very important and the Newlife journey started with him.”

With the equipment costing £3,799 and no funding available through statutory services, the family turned for help to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is now providing the 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 Cannock 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 200 pieces of essential equipment, totalling more than £630,000 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.”

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife Foundation, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”

Newlife has helped provide £316,989 of equipment for 192 under-19s in Worcestershire. Right now, the charity is currently working with another six families in the county with equipment needs totalling £4,330.

To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Worcestershire go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/worcestershire. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

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

Pictured: Chael Edwards

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