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Eighteen-month-old Rudi Else will soon be able to relax in comfort with specialist seating that meets his complex health needs – thanks to fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative.

Rudi, from Chesterfield, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at six months old. It is a progressive muscle-wasting condition and he is unable to sit or hold up his head unaided. A special needs buggy, feeding chair and standing frame have all be provided by Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children to help manage his health – but he had nowhere posturally supportive to sit where he could be comfortable and relax.

Now Newlife – with the support of Central England Co-operative – is providing a £743 P-Pod seat for Rudi.

Rudi’s mum Daniella Ingrosso explained: “Rudi’s occupational therapist has been working with him since he was eight months old and has helped us get a range of equipment in place for him. One of these is a supportive high chair from Newlife, which he uses when he is feeding and playing – but he has nowhere to sit where he can relax but still be in a posturally correct position. We have ended up propping him up on the sofa surrounded by cushions, but he can’t be left alone for even a second because if he slipped he wouldn’t be able to prevent himself from falling. I am also concerned he could suffocate among the cushions. Rudi is now starting to get scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) so it is even more important that he has this equipment now to help prevent further health issues developing.”

When Rudi attends day nursery at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield he is able to use P-Pod seating there. “He looks really comfortable in it,” says Daniella.

With applications to Newlife for specialist equipment having risen 64 per cent in the last five years, the amazing support of organisations like Central England Co-operative enables the charity to continue to meet the growing need.

Newlife – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – became Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity in 2012. Since then colleagues and customers have raised £1.3million, every penny of which has been directly spent on vital equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in the retailer’s trading area. More than 600 children like Rudi have benefitted so far.

Tracey Hawkins, Manager at Central England Co-operative’s convenience store in Grangewood Road, Chesterfield, said: “Central England Co-operative takes fundraising to help local communities very seriously, and we are committed to making a positive impact in the local areas in which we trade. Working with Newlife has provided a great opportunity for us to help make life easier for youngsters like Rudi.”

Daniella added: “This will make such a huge difference to Rudi’s quality of life. He is currently having ground-breaking treatment, once a fortnight, which is helping to increase his movement and head control – but at the same time we still have to work on his posture. The P-Pod will help with this.”

Newlife has supported 399 children in Derbyshire, with equipment totalling £345,508. To find out more about how the charity helps families in the county go to Newlife is currently working with a further 21 families in Derbyshire, with equipment needs of £6,344. If you would like to help, go to the website for details. Alternatively, call the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 – or email

Pictured: Rudi Else