Two Walsall children will soon be getting the vital specialist equipment they need – thanks to a new charity partnership supporting disabled and terminally ill youngsters.
The families of four-year-old Emily Banks, pictured, and seven-year-old Lewis Evans both applied to Cannock-based Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children after statutory services were unable to provide the equipment – a portable bed (£2,754) for Emily and a specialist walker (£1,091) for Lewis. Fortunately for the families, Newlife is currently working with The Morgan Foundation, founded by Steve Morgan, owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, which supports organisations across parts of the West Midlands (via Wolves Aid, part of Wolves in the Community Trust) as well as North Wales, Merseyside, West Cheshire and North Shropshire.
The Morgan Foundation is making £450,000 available to Newlife to provide vital equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in these specific areas. The money was raised in May this year at The Morgan Foundation’s Charity Golf Day and Gala Dinner and is in addition to the £2m a year that the charity donates to organisations in its remit area.
Steve Morgan, founder of The Morgan Foundation, said: “Hearing how the money raised is helping individual children like Emily and Lewis, and their families, is just brilliant. Knowing that 100 per cent of the funds go direct to the people who need it most is so important – we look forward to hearing how they get on with the equipment, and how the money has benefitted even more children in the months to come.”
Emily Banks – who has Cerebral Palsy and the brain condition Encephalopathy – will soon be getting a portable safe room so she can sleep in safety when she is away from home. Mum Lesley Banks said: “We have had one night away in a Premier Inn when Emily used one of their cot beds. But she wouldn’t sleep in it, partly because it wasn’t big enough, and she can’t use a regular bed because of safety issues. So she had to sleep between her dad and I – which meant we didn’t get any sleep either, nor did her brother and sister.
“Knowing we are getting this piece of equipment – similar to something Emily uses at the local hospice – means we can start planning a family holiday, knowing she will be safe and we will all get some sleep. This will make a huge difference to us all.”
Lewis Evans is now set to get a specialist walker so he can continue to get around his home and garden independently as well as take part in vital PE lessons at his school – Oakwood in Walsall Wood, where Emily is also a pupil.
Mum Tanya Whitehouse said: “Lewis is the only non-mobile child in his class, so it is important that he has a walker so he can join in with school activities. Lewis has almost outgrown his current walker – which was also provided by Newlife – and the new equipment will mean he can continue to do things like take part in PE lessons.”
Lewis – who has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay – had his Achilles tendons cut earlier this year to help improve his ability to walk. And, says Tanya, after eight weeks in casts “it has really helped – his walking is so much better. The new walker will complement this.”
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife so their children can get vital equipment for everyday life. Having the support of The Morgan Foundation is an enormous boost for Newlife. We look forward to helping to transform more lives across The Morgan Foundation catchment area. Anyone struggling to access equipment through their statutory services should call our Newlife Nurse Helpline to discuss their individual situation.”
For further information about The Morgan Foundation visit the website,www.morganfoundation.co.ukor call Jane Harris, Administrator 01829 782800.
If you would like to find out more about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and how to access its services, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on freephone 0800 902 0095 or go towww.newlifecharity.co.uk.