Little Theo Murphy from Ashton under Lyne is one of six Lancashire children currently being supported by a charity’s emergency equipment loan services . . .
A simple piece of specialist equipment is keeping little Theo Murphy safe at night – which means a good night’s sleep for the whole family.
Four-year-old Theo, from Ashton under Lyne, has a diagnosis of autism, severe learning disabilities and hypermobility. Provision of a SafeSpace – in effect, a room within a room – by leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation has also had a positive impact on Theo’s behaviour.
Mum Joanne Murphy said: “Theo used to wake himself up during the night . . . he would bang his head on the side of his cot and climb out, which was always a worry. I did some research and found out about SafeSpaces; then Theo’s occupational therapist contacted Newlife – and, amazingly, shortly afterwards the equipment we needed arrived at our home.
“The SafeSpace is a comforting environment for Theo and he is really happy in it. He gets a more consistent night’s sleep, which has a direct affect on his behaviour during the day. His dad and I are reassured, knowing that he is safe, and sleep better ourselves.”
The SafeSpace was provided through Newlife’s Emergency Bed Loan (EBL) service which helps children sleeping in unsafe environments, have life-threatening conditions or are in need of additional support to leave hospital. It offers six-month loans of equipment, delivered direct to families’ homes.
Newlife Equipment Loan Service Manager Carrick Brown said: “The six month loan period gives us time to work with local statutory services to explore avenues of public funding for long-term equipment or – if this is not successful – provide it ourselves through the Newlife Equipment Grant service.”
Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson added: “Specialist beds cost thousands of pounds each but they can transform the lives not only of the children concerned, but offer much needed respite for carers.”
EBL is just one of a range of practical support services for families of disabled and terminally ill children, all accessed via the Newlife Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 902 0095 or email [email protected].
Joanne Murphy said: “Newlife has given amazing support to Theo.”
The charity has previously provided a specialist car seat through an Equipment Grant so Theo can travel in safety and the family are also using Newlife’s Play Therapy Pod service, which offers ‘pods’ of specialist sensory toys on three month loans. Each pod contains around £400 of equipment; there are over 200 in circulation, providing development opportunities for children of different ages and sensory needs.
Demand across Lancashire for all of Newlife’s services has risen sharply over the last year, so the charity has appointed a regional Awareness and Fundraising Manager to help ensure continued support for families of disabled and terminally ill children in the county.
David Reeves joined the charity last month and said: “What attracted me to Newlife Foundation is the guarantee that 100 per cent of all funds donated or raised go directly to buy specialist equipment for children in need. People can designate which county their money is used in and because of the charity’s transparent accountability I can tell everyone exactly how their funds have been spent.”
David is keen to hear from any local individuals, social and community groups or business organisations which might consider supporting Newlife Foundation in Lancashire, either through fundraising or volunteering activities. He can be contacted on 07854 425 273 or by emailing [email protected].
Pictured: Theo Murphy
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