We hear from the disabled children’s charity Newlife Foundation how its equipment loans have made dramatic differences to the lives of families up and down the country…
Three-year-old Korey Grant (pictured above) has a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, learning and communication difficulties. He is mobile but has no awareness of danger and cannot be left unattended. According to his mum, Joy, “Thank goodness we are getting a specialist buggy for Korey – without it we struggle to take him out.
“Although he is three, he is the size of a six-year-old and no longer fits in a standard pushchair. Also, he is quite clever and can undo a regular harness. I can’t risk him running off, because he doesn’t have the communication and social awareness skills to be able to tell anyone who he is if he gets lost.”
Like thousands of other parents and carers, Joy approached leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. The charity has provided more than 6000 items of disability equipment, at a cost of more than £8.5 million since 2005. Last year (2012/13) alone, 1000 Newlife Equipment Grants were made, at a total cost of £1.5 million.
Newlife Equipment Grants – which fund items such as powered and manual wheelchairs, buggies, specialist beds, car seats, sleep systems, SafeSpaces, walking/standing frames, portable hoists, sensory and communication aids – are just one of the practical support services the charity offers to families of disabled and terminally ill children.
The charity’s services are all accessed through the national Newlife Nurse Helpline, which is staffed by disability-experienced health professionals who are able to provide information and guidance to thousands of families.
For those families whose children are receiving end of life care, Newlife’s ‘Just Can’t Wait’ emergency equipment loan service aims to get equipment to homes within just 72 hours, wherever they are in the UK.
Just Can’t Wait can make a huge difference to children in helping parents to manage their pain and care. Despite this being a very sensitive service to promote, around 100 families have been supported in the past 18 months.
Newlife’s second loans service involves Kit Boxes, which provide specialist sensory and developmental equipment for children with a range of disabilities. The Kit Box loan service was launched in 2011, as a direct response to families’ concerns about lack of access to suitable toys and aids for use at home.
Each box contains around £300 to £400 of assorted equipment tailored to the child’s specific developmental and sensory needs, and is available on a 12 to 18-week loan.
To find out more about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk.
The Newlife Nurse Helpline can be contacted on 0800 902 0095; alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org.