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Local heroes and River Island have rallied together and made it possible for 14-year-old Jack Felkin from Erdington in Birmingham get a special seat called a P-Pod. This will be a special Christmas because Jack will be able to open his presents around the tree in comfort and safety with his whole family.

Following a media appeal for Jack being featured in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer on March 21, fabulous fundraisers donated £455 and River Island funded the remaining amount of £718. When you are asked to pay five pence for a carrier bag in a shop have you ever wondered what happens to the money? Well, in the case of River Island outlets – like the ones in Birmingham – profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to Newlife.

Jack is one of more than 140 children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. Jack is a bubbly, happy young boy who has Cerebral Palsy and is unable to support his own posture. He has a wheelchair which he used to sit in most of the time, but this became uncomfortable after a while. Sofas and comfy chairs do not offer the appropriate postural support he needs to help prevent further deterioration of his condition, so Jack needed a special seat to give him a place to sit at home comfortably.

Mum Alison Felkin said: “Jack’s wheelchair was OK for him to sit in for a short while, however it offered zero comfort. He couldn’t sit on the floor so the alternative was putting him in his bedroom where he was often alone. Now Jack absolutely loves his P-Pod; it’s amazing. You could immediately see a difference. He is so comfortable now.”

The specialist seat offers Jack a comfortable place to relax but also provide added postural support. Thanks to a ‘fantastic plastic’ initiative at River Island fashion stores and local heroes in the West Midlands supporting Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, has been able to provide Jack with a P-Pod costing £1,173.

“This chair has helped me get my connection back with Jack, he is able to spend a lot more time with the family. He is no longer in his room alone. We can all sit in the living room watching TV together. Jack loves ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and now he can watch it comfortably. We are so grateful to everyone who made this possible. It’s not only changed Jack’s world it’s changed mine too.

“Every mother wants to give their child the world and I am no different; this chair has made a huge impact on us as a family,” added Alison. Newlife Charity CEO Sheila Brown added: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife for specialist equipment which can help transform young lives. Having the national support of River Island is an enormous boost for us.”

She added: “Anyone struggling to access equipment through their statutory services should call our Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) to discuss their individual situation.”

If you would like to find out more about Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children’s range of practical support services go to

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 1,428 children in the West Midlands, worth over £1,000,000. If you think you could help a local child, go to Midlands for further details.

Pictured: Jack Felkin