Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello has visited the headquarters of a Staffordshire-based national children’s disability charity, to find out how it is supporting young people in his constituency.
During his visit to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children in Cannock on Friday (April 19), Rob Flello said: “I am blown away by the set-up – it is a phenomenal way of operating. The work that the charity does is fundamental to provision of care for some of the most vulnerable people we can possibly come across. The charity’s ability to cover all the general operating costs and then offer fundraisers and donors the opportunity to donate for a specific service or child is, I think, unique. I have not come across this anywhere else.”
Newlife supports disabled and terminally ill children and their families across the UK. Children like six-year-old Elise Kelly, from Lightwood in Stoke on Trent, who last week took delivery of a specialist walking frame thanks to Newlife.
Elise has a diagnosis of Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and learning difficulties; she desperately needed the walking frame so she can get around under her own steam instead of relying on other people to push her in her wheelchair. Newlife has funded the £2,024 walker with support from 22 Signal Regiment, which is based in the county.
Talking about the difference the walker will make to Elise, mum Gemma said: “It will give her independence in and around the home. Elise uses a similar walker at school and she is making good progress; she recently came home with a certificate saying she had managed to walk from the school hall to her classroom. Elise loves being independent and is really proud of her achievements.”
Gemma added: “She can drag herself along the floor and roll about unaided, but the sort of independent mobility the walker offers is vital to her development.”
A tour of Newlife’s headquarters showed Rob how the charity’s core services, including its national Nurse Helpline, are supported by a successful recycling and retail operation – run by Newlife Trading Ltd – which works in partnership with dozens of High Street chains.
Newlife has two stores in Cannock and one in Uttoxeter selling a wide range of clothing and home wares; the profits help fund the charity’s range of services which includes Equipment Grants. To date, Newlife has funded 470 Equipment Grants, totalling £715,609, for children in Staffordshire. Nationally, the figure is £8.5million in Equipment Grants for 5,800 disabled and terminally ill children.
Pictured: Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello meets Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson to discuss the needs of constituents.