3 year old Tiago
Northfield 3 year old Tiago loves his Newlife sensory Kit Box

A national children’s disability charity providing families with specialist sensory and developmental equipment is currently seeking donations.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has already funded £695,533 of essential specialist equipment for 508 children in the West Midlands. The charity also offers a ‘Kit Box’ service, loaning out sensory and developmental aids to families across the UK for up to three months at a time. This service currently has a waiting list of around 170 children, 17 of them in the West Midlands.

Three-year-old Tiago Simoes lives in Northfield and attends Victoria School. Suffering from epilepsy, Global Developmental Delay and Septic Optic Dysplasia, Tiago has already benefited from the Newlife Kit Box scheme.

Mum Sabrina Simoes said: “We had a Kit Box which included a projector and fibre optics, which Tiago loves. Whenever he was stressed we would put him to bed and put the lights in his hands and that would help calm him. And having the projector for light and colour was much better than putting the television on. He was calm and relaxed and would fall asleep without his dummy. In fact, the Kit Box was so good that I have been telling other people – at the hospital and local mums in a similar situation to myself – all about the service and Newlife.”

Newlife Lead Nurse Karen Dobson said: “Play is important to all children, but for those with a disability the opportunity to access a range of interesting and varied aids may not be a reality. Some of this equipment is around £200 for a single item, which puts it beyond the financial reach of many of the families we support. The Newlife Kit Box scheme was launched to help alleviate this financial burden and to enable children to trial equipment.

“Many families use our Kit Boxes to find out what sort of aids and toys best suit their child before either buying the items for themselves, applying to charities like Newlife for funding or approaching us for another box to continue the good work.”

Karen added: “Sensory equipment is effective for children with visual impairment, can have a calming effect on those with behavioural issues and stimulates others with learning difficulties. The use of sensory equipment encourages children to get more control over their bodies and their environment and can be a fun way for families to interact.”

Kit Boxes are available to borrow, free of charge, from the charity by contacting the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 or by emailing nurses@newlifecharity.co.uk

If you think you can help with raising funds to equip new boxes, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

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