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Fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative have hit the £1million mark which, since 2012, has helped hundreds of children with disabilities and terminal illness across their trading area.

In May 2012 Central England Co-operative colleagues chose Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children as their staff-elected charity. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

Since then they have worked tirelessly to help fund specialist equipment like wheelchairs so that children can play a greater role in school life, seating so they can relax pain-free, beds to ensure they sleep in safety, mobile hoists to support them inside and outside the home and hi-tech aids so they can communicate with family and friends.

So far, 442 children have been supported through this successful partnership. To find out how a child in your area has been helped recently, see below.

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “As a community retailer and responsible business we are absolutely delighted to have been able to raise such a significant amount of money for Newlife Foundation and it’s all thanks to the dedication and generosity of the Society’s colleagues, members and customers. I’m sure that the knowledge that every penny raised has gone directly to benefit families across our trading area has provided a real incentive for people to get behind the campaign. Reaching the £1m mark is a fantastic achievement but we won’t be resting on our laurels and hope to make a difference to even more families before the partnership comes to an end.”

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, added: “This has been an amazing partnership, helping us to support so many in urgent need. Without this level of support from Central England Co-operative, some of these children would have gone without the equipment they needed and many more would have had to wait months or even years just for an assessment of their needs. With statutory services’ budgets increasingly stretched, it is charities such as Newlife which step in to offer the vital equipment that really does change lives.

“I cannot thank Martyn Cheatle and his colleagues enough for their commitment to Newlife and the families we represent. Thanks a million!”

Central England Co-operative colleagues and customers have raised the money in a wide variety of ways including: • In-store activities like fun days, head shaves and bake sales • Sporting events like marathons, sky diving, walking and kayaking challenges • Car washes, jewellery sales and community awareness days.

How Central England Co-operative is helping three year old Amelia

Three-year-old Amelia Hickman, who lives with her parents in Rowley Regis, is getting a specialist buggy so she can get out and about in safety.

Amelia has a diagnosis of Autism combined with Global Developmental Delay. Although she is able to walk she has no awareness of danger and often has ‘meltdowns’ when she will refuse to move or alternatively run off without warning. She has outgrown her current standard pushchair and now urgently needs a specialist buggy to keep her safe when she is out and about.

Mum Emma Welch said: “She is too big for her stroller, but without it journeys to and from her nursery and her brother’s school can be a nightmare. Amelia’s early years support worker told us about larger specialist buggies and advised us to apply to Newlife for help.”

As a result – and with support from Central England Co-operative – Amelia will shortly be getting the specialist equipment, costing £389. Complete with five-point harness, it will help keep her safe for several years to come.

Parents Mark and Emma added: “It is wonderful to know that people at Central England Co-operative are so involved with helping children with disabilities in their local communities. £1million is a huge achievement – and they should all be very proud of themselves.”

Pictured: Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle and Newlife Foundation CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, celebrate the £1million landmark.

Pictured: Amelia Hickman