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Bournemouth mum of four Kelly Robbie is getting a good night’s sleep for the first time in over two years – thanks to provision of a specialist cot bed for her young son Charlie.

Charlie Robbie, aged two and from the Townsend area of the town, has a complex condition which includes five congenital heart defects, severe autism and developmental delay.

Until earlier this month (January), Charlie had been sleeping in a standard child’s cot – and, as he would not sleep more than a couple of hours a night, Kelly had to sit up with him to make sure he was safe. This was because Charlie had previously fallen on his head when he leaned over the side of his cot and fell out. With his complex heart condition, a blow to his chest could be fatal.

Kelly said: “I was living on two or three hours sleep a night – I don’t know how I didn’t end up being really ill.”

With help from Charlie’s nursing support team, Kelly turned to the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Just a few days later, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children provided a specialist bed to keep Charlie safe.

Kelly said: “It’s amazing. Charlie has slept every night from about 11pm to 8am since he got the special bed. Before, he would be up all night bouncing and banging against his old cot, only dropping off around 5am.

“He has never slept like this before and it’s great because I get to sleep too. It has changed our lives completely. He feels so safe and secure in the bed and likes being in it – he even asks to go into his bed to sit and play during the day.”

Newlife provided the cot bed – which costs £3,392 – through its emergency equipment loan service. Equipment loans are made for around six months, while Newlife works with local statutory service to try to secure provision. If this is not possible, Newlife can further support families through equipment grants for permanent provision.

Through equipment grants and loans Newlife has supported 101 families in Dorset, with expenditure totalling £123,599. There are currently a further three families in the county with equipment needs of £1,700. If you would like to find out how you could help other children in Dorset like Charlie – or just want more information about Newlife Foundation – go to: Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Dorset will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.

Pictured: Charlie Robbie