River Island backs Cannock-based Newlife charity with festive fundraising drive

A charity in Staffordshire has been chosen to benefit from River Island's festive fundraising campaign which aims to help raise vital funds amid coronavirus.

Newlife CEO Mrs Sheila Brown OBE outside River Island
Newlife CEO Mrs Sheila Brown OBE outside River Island

Cannock-based Newlife, which helps disabled and terminally-ill children, was backed by the clothing firm which has supported them for 30 years.

Now chiefs behind River Island have called on people to "do something wonderful" through its festive Wonder Island campaign to help the charity.

And it will see the clothing firm feature Newlife in its stores – with 10p also donated for every like on an Instagram post by River Island about the charity today.

Will Kernan, River Island CEO, said: "As a brand, we’ve long supported the outstanding work that Newlife does to support the development and wellbeing of children.

"This year has been particularly challenging, so I am delighted that we are able to ramp up our efforts for this exceptional charity and do something wonderful for a cause that is truly close to our hearts."

Celebrations will reach a high this weekend – over Saturday and Sunday – with River Island staff actively promoting the campaign in-store in a bid to help raise funds for the charity.

The campaign has been set up to support the charity's play therapy pods – which involves loaning specialist toys to disabled and terminally-ill children, often allowing them to play for the first time.

Sheila Brown, co-founder and CEO of Newlife, said: "We are so grateful to everyone at River Island and their wonderful customers for the loyal support they have shown Newlife over the last 30 years, and particularly so this Christmas.

"It has been an exceptionally difficult year for the charity but we are delighted that, thanks to River Island asking people to join them in doing something wonderful, we will end the year being able to help so many more families with disabled and terminally ill children around the UK this Christmas."

Three-year-old Ruby-Rose Schwab who has been helped by Newlife

Three-year-old Ruby-Rose Schwab, from Pershore in Worcestershire, is one youngster currently using a Newlife play therapy pod.

The youngster was born with a cyst growing in her brain – which has delayed her development and means she will lose the ability to talk and move.

But free loans of specialist sensory toys through the service has allowed the three-year-old to play with her two sisters.

Claire Strong, Ruby-Rose's mother, said: "Ruby-Rose gets so excited when her Play Therapy Pod arrives, she can't wait to see what's inside and loves exploring all the new toys.

"There is such a wide variety of toys that keep her engaged and encourage her to play with her two sisters."

People are able to donate to Newlife by texting WONDER to 70500 to donate £5 – with texts costing the £5 donation plus one message at the standard network rate.

Donations can also be made within River Island stores via collection tins or online at https://newlife.support/DoSomethingWonderful

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