Young Cwmbran boy Samuel Wilmot will soon be able to visit his grandparents and sleep in safety away from home, thanks to a specialist portable bed donated by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, working in partnership with retail giant Marks and Spencer.
Three-year-old Samuel has a condition that requires constant supervision to ensure his safety; he has no sense of danger and cannot communicate. The risk of Samuel harming himself while sleeping in a conventional bed is very high so the family have had to put any thoughts of respite care with other family members on hold until Samuel has a specialist travel bed.
Mum Donna Wilmot said: “Being a very active sleeper, Samuel needs to be safe and supervised at all times, which makes overnight stays impossible. A specialist travel bed would enable us to take Samuel to visit grandparents in England for essential respite. This would be a life changing opportunity and enhance Samuel’s quality of life greatly as well as affording us peace of mind,” added Donna.
With no funding available through statutory services for the £1,965 bed, the family turned to Newlife Foundation, the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
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 £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 more than £11,300 of equipment for 13 under-19s in Torfaen. However, the charity is currently working with another four families in the county with equipment needs totalling £4,518.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/torfaen. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in Torfaen.
Pictured: Samuel Wilmot