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SIMPLE PIECE OF SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT KEEPS LITTLE MIA SAFE

A simple piece of specialist equipment is keeping three-year-old Mia Brown from Denholme near Bradford safe while travelling – thanks to fabulous fundraisers at a local golf club.

A variety of fundraising activities at East Bierley Golf Club last year (2014) raised £1,500 for leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation, which has used the money to provide a specialist car seat – costing £1,922 – for Mia.

Jan Kudelnitzky, Chair of East Bierley Golf Club’s Charity Fundraising Committee, said: “We chose Newlife Foundation because we know of the important role that the organisation can play in supporting families who face many challenges in caring for a child with a disability or life limiting illness. We requested that the monies raised be used locally in West Yorkshire as this is one of the criteria that influences our choice of charity each year. We hope that through our efforts more families will become aware of the work of Newlife and feel motivated to apply for support and that more organisations will choose to support Newlife Foundation through charity fundraising.”

Little Mia – who has the brain condition Hydrocephalus, Epilepsy and has not met many of her developmental milestones – has no independent mobility and impaired head control. Mum Michelle Brown said: “We had been using a standard car seat but every time I braked Mia would flop forward. I’d then have to lean over and put her back in place in the seat. Safety was a big issue.”

With no statutory funding available to provide a specialist car seat, the family turned to Newlife Foundation for help. The charity had previously supported the family through its Play Therapy Pod service, which gives children with complex needs access to specialist sensory and developmental toys.

Michelle said: “We have been using the new car seat since the middle of December – and it has made a vast improvement to Mia’s comfort and safety when travelling. Because it has a turntable base, it is much easier for us to get her in and out of the car.

“There is a five-point harness and extra head cushions so she doesn’t flop around any more and she looks so snug in the seat.”

Newlife is the largest single provider of specialist car seats around the UK, having invested more than £1.6million in the safety of disabled and terminally ill children. This is because local authorities do not have a statutory obligation to supply this equipment; instead, families can apply for a medical exemption certificate which allows their children to be transported unsecured.

However, Newlife believes that the safety of disabled children is as important as the in-vehicle security of able-bodied youngsters and is currently campaigning for a change in the law. In the meantime, the charity continues to support families through provision.

Newlife Operations Manager Stephen Morgan added: “In 2014 we have invested £64,275 in the care of disabled and terminally children in West Yorkshire through provision of specialist equipment like wheelchairs, buggies, beds, communication aids and car seats like this one for Mia. The increased demand on our services means we are calling on ‘local heroes’ like the members of East Bierley Golf Club to support our vital work. We are very grateful for their contribution.”

Newlife is currently working with a further three families in West Yorkshire, with equipment needs totalling £21,202. If you would like to donate or raise money to help other children in the county, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines). Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Newlife operates a social enterprise business which covers the costs of its core services; because of this the charity guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in West Yorkshire can be used to fund the equipment for children in the county.

To find out more about the range of equipment grant and loan support services offered by the charity, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email [email protected]

Pictured: Mia Brown

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