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A funding boost of £25,000 by Central England Co-operative means more disabled and terminally ill children with complex needs living in the Midlands can benefit from specialist sensory toys and developmental aids.

The money has been raised by colleagues and customers across the Central England Co-operative trading area for Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, which is the retailer’s staff-elected charity.

Newlife will now be able to create an additional 86 Play Therapy Pods to add to the 130 it currently loans out to families of disabled and terminally ill children across the UK.

Each pod contains around £400 of sensory and developmental toys; they are delivered to families’ homes on three-month loans. The pods fall into two age categories – under and over-fives – and are targeted at children with a range of complex tactile, visual, interactive and auditory needs. As with all Newlife services, there is no charge.

Newlife Equipment Loan Services Manager Carrick Brown said: “Newlife has been Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity since May 2012 and the past two years have been very productive.

“Central England Co-operative colleagues and customers have raised £472,679 for Newlife, which has enabled us to buy specialist equipment like wheelchairs, beds, seating, hoists and communication aids for 210 disabled and terminally ill children in their retail area. This funding is on-going and allocation of £25,000 of it to provide 86 Play Therapy Pods is fantastic news.

“In the last financial year we saw a 273 per cent rise in the number of families asking for a Play Therapy Pod so the demand is definitely out there. We currently have a waiting list of families requesting a Pod, so the impact this will make is huge.”

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