At night, young Shanike Henry’s body twists into uncomfortable and potentially health-damaging positions.
The nine-year-old from Camberwell has cerebral palsy, which affects muscle control and prevents her from repositioning herself so she can relax and sleep.
But a deal between Newlife the charity for disabled children and supermarket giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) has now given her a specialist sleep system to help solve this problem.
Her mum, Shaneika Barrett, says: “I used pillows and cushions to try and keep her body straight, but Shanike turns to the right and then her body twists into positions which are bad for her posture and health.
“Her physiotherapist recommended a special sleep system, but there was no funding for this from our local statutory services.”
Shanike, who has undergone hip surgery, also has epilepsy and needs to be positioned for comfort and safety every hour of the day she uses a specialist wheelchair.
With the sleep system costing £735, Shanike’s health team suggested the family contact Newlife, the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment.
M&S has worked 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 Staffordshire 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 260 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £850,000 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.”
Newlife’s head of operations Stephen Morgan said: “The UK has more disabled children than ever before – and our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children.
“It’s an outrage that families have to battle local services and yet still face heart-breaking refusals. “The support of organisations like M&S means we can change lives across the UK every day.”