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Weekly Edition -  6 March 2015




Merseyside fund is launched to help local disabled children

THE family of local Merseyside boy Alex Connerty are backing the launch of an appeal to provide specialist equipment for children with disabilities in the metropolitan area.  Alex's mum is so grateful for the specialist car seat she now has to keep her 9 year old son safe while that she is urging local people to help change the lives of other local children.

Right now, there are 46 children with disabilities or a terminal illness in Merseyside who need your help to get the specialist equipment that will really change their lives. That's why leading UK children's disability charity Newlife Foundation is launching the Newlife Merseyside Fund's new website. It is an opportunity for local people to help local disabled children and every penny donated or fundraised in Merseyside is guaranteed to support vulnerable families in the county.

Special disability equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, beds, seating and communication aids can help give children independence, keep them safe, relieve pain and overcome challenges. For instance, you could help a child be discharged from hospital, take their first steps or kick a football with their friends.

Together we can really change the lives of children with disability and terminal illness, supporting them to experience and enjoy life and all that we take for granted.

Newlife has already helped 354 children in Merseyside through equipment grants and loans totalling more than £325,600, so we know there is a very real need for a specific county fund. In this way we aim to help more children, more quickly.

Statutory services in Merseyside often have a responsibility to make equipment provision, but when help is declined, Newlife steps in. The charity challenges many such decisions and has an impressive success rate. However, where we are unable to overturn these decisions, we provide the equipment ourselves through our range of grant and loan services. We do this with the support of front-line health professionals across Merseyside who have helped Newlife help local children in real need.

The Newlife Merseyside Fund will support equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness.

Vitally, the Newlife Merseyside Fund website will enable local people to find out who needs help in their county right now and highlight the support the charity gives vulnerable families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team, via calling them on:- 01543 431 444 or sending an email to:- – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families.

That might involve taking part in a local sporting challenge, give you information on how to organise a fundraising event; or even ask you to donate £5 today! Volunteers are also needed to help raise awareness of what we do and how we do it.

We hope that by launching the Newlife Merseyside Fund, children with disabilities or terminal illness in the county won't have to go without the equipment they need for everyday life.

Newlife Foundation supports families in Merseyside through a range of free services:-

►  Nurse staffed helpline

Equipment grants

Emergency equipment loans

Sensory and developmental toy 'pod' loans.

Alex has a rare form of dwarfism which means that as well as having short stature he is a very light weight. Sue Connerty, from the Maghull area of Liverpool, said:- "Alex had outgrown his standard car seat – his head was above the back of the seat and the straps didn't fit properly any more so he wasn't secure. We went several places to get a larger car seat for Alex, but because he weighs less than 15 kilos they wouldn't sell us one.  It was only when I got talking to Alex's occupational therapist that I found out about specialist car seats. When we realised how much one would cost (£660) the OT then told us to contact Newlife. We would have had to take out a bank loan to be able to afford one ourselves. Alex's safety had been a big worry for us; and the car seat we have now through Newlife is perfect for his needs. Not only that but he is much more comfortable in the new seat so he is happier to go out in the car. Alex is also able to get in it himself, which gives him a bit more independence."

Newlife is the largest single provider of specialist car seats around the UK, having invested more than £1.6million in the safety of disabled and terminally ill children. This is because local authorities do not have a statutory obligation to supply this equipment; instead, families can apply for a medical exemption certificate which allows their children to be transported unsecured.

However, Newlife believes that the safety of disabled children is as important as the in vehicle security of able bodied children and is currently campaigning for a change in the law. In the meantime, the charity continues to support families through provision.


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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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