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A disabled children’s charity is urgently calling on the local community to help fund a mobile hoist for a Taunton teenager with Cerebral Palsy to give her the freedom she needs to leave home for more than just a few hours.

Iona Turner can’t stand, walk, talk or speak and is completely reliant on others for her care – even changing her position to prevent pain – but aged 16 she’s now too big to lift, so she can never be far away from her Creech St Michael home.

Iona’s life revolves around the family kitchen, her bedroom and bathroom in the house she lives in with parents Alison and Mike and three siblings, as this is where a ceiling track hoist is installed. But without a mobile hoist she can’t access the rest of the house or even go outside for long as there’s no way to safely move her in and out of her wheelchair.

Now Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is appealing for help to fund a £675 specialist hoist which would transform life for the teenager and her family.

Iona’s mum Alison said: “Without a mobile hoist Iona and the rest of the family – sisters Leilani 18 and Cerys, 13 and brother Sam, aged ten – have no choice but to miss out on a lot. Enjoying anything with all of us together, such as a day out, going to visit family or a holiday is very hard.

“Iona can only communicate through smiling, crying, laughing and noises, but we know she’s often in pain and moving her position regularly is vital to prevent this, especially as she’s developed a curve in her spine. But we find it hard to do this without a hoist, so we can’t do it unless we’re at home.

“Going out for longer than a few hours’ also means we can’t transfer Iona from her wheelchair to attend to her personal needs, as bathrooms with hoists or adult changing facilities are few and far between. We can’t stay anywhere else overnight either.”

Alison adds: “As a family we generally have a really positive attitude to life but things are increasingly difficult. A portable hoist is the solution to a lot of the current problems and would make life so much easier. It would allow Iona the freedom she desperately needs to experience more in life and we could do so much more together as a family.

“We could even take Iona to visit my dad in Wales, who is unable to walk far after a stroke and can’t drive. There’s no way to move her from her wheelchair when we are there, but if we had a hoist it would be easier to stay overnight and for longer periods.

Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown, said: “Now Iona is fully grown a mobile hoist would make a huge difference to her life, providing a safe and dignified way to move her without risk. It will help reduce Iona’s pain and allow her the freedom most people take for granted.

“Unfortunately, as much as we want to help Iona and her family, we simply don’t have the funds to buy the equipment right now.

“We are desperately appealing to the local community for help to raise the money so Iona can have the specialist hoist she urgently needs.”

STOP PRESS: Thanks to a great community effort and lots of media support we have now raised enough money for Iona’s mobile hoist.  

However, you can still donate to help the other 13 children on our waiting list in the South West who need £30,615 of specialist equipment.  If you are able to help If you are able to help please donate via the website, call 01543 431 444 or email