Charity fulfils mum’s dream of specialist disability bed

Holly Welchman-Booth, aged 12, in her new bed, supplied by Newlife.
Holly Welchman-Booth, aged 12, in her new bed, supplied by Newlife.

A leading disability support charity has stepped in to help a Bassetlaw youngster with a specialist bed to protect her from being injured during the night.

Jane Welchman asked local statutory services for a replacement bed suitable for her 12-year-old daughter Holly – but instead they offered a “safe room”, which would not meet her needs.

Jane, of Retford, said: “Holly functions through routines and knows going into a special sleeping space means she should do just that – sleep.

“She needs obvious ‘clues’ that it’s time to sleep.

“If she was in a ‘safe room’ she would just play for hours through the night.”

“We would have to clear the room of any furniture because Holly can’t walk so she gets around by crawling and pulling herself up on whatever she can find.”

Holly has a complex brain condition which means she has no awareness of danger, coupled with epilepsy.

She had grown too big for her specialist high-sided bed and was at risk of falling over the sides.

Concerned for her safety, Holly’s occupational therapist contacted Newlife, a charity for disabled children, which has supported the family in the past and quickly offered loan of an appropriate high-sided safety bed.

Jane said: “Holly loves the loan bed and is so comfortable in it – she settled into it straight away.

“She doesn’t understand the difference between night and day, but she does know going into the bed means it’s time to sleep, rather than time to play.”

The change has also been positive for Jane, who now has more peace of mind when Holly is along in her room.

To date, Newlife has helped 469 disabled and terminally ill children in Nottinghamshire and is currently working with another nine families in the county, with equipment needs totalling £570.

The charity offers a range of practical support services including emergency equipment loans for specialist beds, buggies, wheelchairs, seating and portable hoists.

Most are provided for a period of six months while the charity works with local statutory services to secure permanent provision.

Stephen Morgan, Newlife head of charity operations, said: “It’s great we could help Holly, but now we need to find funds to help the other Nottinghamshire children.

“So we are appealing to individuals, groups, clubs and companies to help us help them.”

n To find out how you can help a local disabled child, visit www. newlifecharity.co.uk/nottinghamshire