Fundraising appeal for little Northampton explorer

Ross Platt
Ross Platt

A fundraising appeal has been launched to buy a simple piece of equipment which will allow a Northampton boy to explore the outdoors.

Eight-year-old Ross Platt, from Collingtree, has an undiagnosed condition with complex needs and is unable to walk or stand independently.

Ross and his family love the outdoors and long to explore the countryside around their home. However, Ross’ current buggy is heavy and can only cope with flat, even surfaces making it impossible for him to enjoy many outdoor activities.

A three wheeler advanced mobility buggy would give Ross and his parents, Dean and Keri, the freedom to discover the outdoors and to go on trips to the Welsh mountains and Lake District. But statutory services will not fund the £640 piece of equipment.

The cost prompted the family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has funded 91 Equipment Grants for children in Northamptonshire, totalling £153,030.

Mum Keri Platt said: “This three wheeler buggy would open up a world of opportunity for Ross. We would love to be able to explore all the countryside around our home and go on treks through the fields.

“When you have a child with complex special needs simple things like just going for a walk off road can be very difficult. There are many things we take for granted until put in such a situation. The whole world can suddenly feel very inaccessible. The buggy will allow us to improve Ross’ quality of life and our quality of life as a family.”

Mrs Platt continued: “We are an outdoorsy family and it will allow us to do the things we love together.

“Ross loves being outside and going on trips. The buggy he has now has 4 wheels and you can’t push it off road very easily. It is a crash tested buggy for transporting him in the car. We use it in the garden, but it is a struggle to push it through grass.

“We would love to go to Wales & the Lake District so Ross can see the mountains. It would really improve his quality of life being able to get out and explore. It would be lovely to spend quality time like that together as a family.”

Mrs Platt added it is almost impossible for most families to be able to afford specialist disability equipment.

She said: “It really is very expensive. Families like us cannot afford to buy equipment that costs £600, we already have so many other specialist items we need to buy for feeding, sleeping, etc. We are reliant on charities like Newlife Foundation and the fundraisers that support them.”

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As cutbacks continue to bite into local authority budgets we can expect to see applications for Newlife equipment services continue to rise.

“As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Northamptonshire can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county boundary.”

If you would like to raise money to help fund a mobility buggy for Ross, 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.

Any monies collected surplus to requirements for Ross would be used to provide specialist equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in Northamptonshire. Newlife is currently working with four families in the county, with equipment needs of £3, 890.