Charity helps young Daventry boy travel in comfort

Oliver Giles
Oliver Giles

A boy from Daventry who struggles to use a standard car seat without having problems with his legs is travelling in comfort after a charity stepped in.

Three-year-old Oliver Giles will soon be travelling in safety thanks to the donation of a specialist car seat from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.

Oliver has a complex condition including cerebral palsy and microcephaly. He experiences muscle cramps in his legs, especially when his feet aren’t supported. He has been using a standard car seat, but mum Hannah Barnes regularly has to pull over at the side of the road to massage his legs in a bid to reduce the pain caused by the muscle cramps.

Hannah said: “I try to stick to short journeys only with Oliver, because of the terrible pain he gets in his legs.”

What Oliver needed is a specialist car seat with an adjustable footplate, along with a pommel to keep his hips properly positioned and additional lumbar support to help offset further health problems.

Hannah said: “Oliver hasn’t got the strength to sit upright and has a tendency to lean forward, so a specialist car seat with a five-point harness will not only keep him safe but support his health needs.

“Oliver weighs around 15kgs at the moment and the specialist car seat has an upper limit of 50kgs, so it will support him for a long time to come.”

With no funding available from local statutory services and the car seat costing £1,252, the family turned to Newlife charity for help.

Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is now providing the equipment.

M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled.

The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Cannock and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 240 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £815,000 for disabled children in 
local communities across the UK.

Jacquie Leonard, community programme manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment.

“We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife charity, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK.

“Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives.

“We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”