Seven-year-old twins Balraj and Balhaar Singh will soon be sleeping in safety thanks to the donation of specialist beds from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.
Balraj and Balhaar, from Gorton in Manchester, both have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, learning and communication difficulties. They are poor sleepers and have no awareness of danger.
Mum Gurmeet Singh said: “Balhaar has his own bedroom, but puts himself in danger by doing things like ripping down his curtain pole and ceiling light and climbing into the bath fully clothed, turning on the taps. Due to their behaviour the boys can’t sleep in the same room so Balraj is in my room, but he has also pulled down a curtain pole and jumps all over the bed. They are constantly finding things to do and I have to pack away their sister’s toys so they can’t destroy them.”
Gurmeet urgently needs specialist beds to keep both boys safe at night, but with no funding available from local statutory services and the beds costing £3,225 each, she turned to Newlife charity for help. 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 helping to provide 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 £373,515 of equipment for 462 under-19s in Greater Manchester. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 28 families in the area with equipment needs totalling £24,416.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Greater Manchester go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/greatermanchester. 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 the metropolitan area.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Greater Manchester will be used to specifically help local children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Pictured (L to R): Balhaar and Balraj Singh