Latest Newlife News


A specialist bed of his own will see 15-year-old Sam McLean sleeping in safety this Christmas.

Sam, from South Queensferry in Edinburgh, has autistic spectrum disorder with challenging behaviours. Mum Kathryn McLean said: “We used to have to replace Sam’s bed every couple of months because he was smashing it. He is permanently scarred because of the injuries he gave himself; we had an intercom into our bedroom and we would be woken by the sound of him cracking his head on the floor. Although we padded his room as best we could, at the time he was heading for residential care – but then someone told us about specialist safe sleeping environments.”

Having discovered that these cost several thousands of pounds, the family was advised to contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Newlife immediately stepped in to provide an emergency equipment loan of a safe sleeping environment – and now it has given Sam his very own equipment, costing £5,222, just in time for Christmas (delivery December 18).

Kathryn said: “This has made life so much easier for the family and has helped us to continue to look after Sam at home.”

She added: “Some people with autism love the feeling of being enclosed and safe and this equipment has helped change his behaviour. Sometimes Sam sleeps through the night now – something that never happened before the bed arrived – and is more rested in the mornings. Our feeling of anxiety about what he could get up to at night has now gone – and improved our lives.”

With demand for its range of services increasing dramatically, the charity is increasingly looking to ‘local heroes’ to help fund essential equipment for children in their own counties.

Newlife has provided specialist equipment for 28 children in Edinburgh totalling more than £80,000. If you would like to help a disabled child in the city, go to: and click on the Donate button. The website also gives more information about other children in Edinburgh who have already been helped and ways you can fundraise. Alternatively, you could contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated in Edinburgh will be used to provide specialist equipment for children in the city.

For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to:

Pictured: Sam McLean