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A specialist chair means two-year-old Louisa Spindler-Duckworth will soon be able to sit in comfort and safety when she stays with her loving dad, thanks to Newlife, the Charity for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer. Louisa, from Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, has Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy. She has a specialist PPod seat to use at her mum’s home – where she lives five days a week – but they couldn’t afford identical supportive seating for dad’s home in the town, where she spends the remainder of the week. Mum Marilia Spindler says: “It is a really positive thing that her dad is involved in Louisa’s care but we have concerns for her safety. When she goes to Lee’s house she sits in a baby bouncer, but this doesn’t give her any postural support. This is a concern especially when it comes to feeding times as the bouncer simply isn’t safe for Louisa. “The PPod is a really flexible piece of equipment – she can be safely fed sitting in it, as well as relax, being supported at all times, which is really important to her future health.” With the equipment costing £1,008 and no funding available through statutory services, the family turned for help to Newlife, the Charity 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 240 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £815,000 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 charity, 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 £529,560 of equipment for 446 under-19s in Lancashire. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 23 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £20,558.

To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Lancashire go to: The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email – 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 Lancashire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.

Pictured: Louisa Spindler-Duckworth