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Deal family praises new trolley chair for children with disabilities at Tesco in Whitfield

A family in Deal has praised the introduction of a new trolley chair for children with disabilities, which they say has changed their lives and made supermarket shopping much easier.

Hannah Marley, of St Augustine’s Road, Mongeham, previously struggled on the grocery shop with her children, particularly when her husband Oliver was at work.

Their son Jacob, three, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and can not sit unaided or hold his head up, so is unable to sit in the usual trolley chair.

Oliver, Jacob, three, Becki, 12, Alfie one, and Hannah.
Oliver, Jacob, three, Becki, 12, Alfie one, and Hannah.

This meant Mrs Marley had to take his buggy to Tesco in Whitfield, leaving little room for shopping, as she was unable to push both the buggy and a trolley on her own.

This was paired with also trying to look after her other children, Alfie, one, and step-daughter Becki, 12.

Then last Friday there was a breakthrough.

The family were delighted to find an adapted trolley with a postural and head support chair and harness.

This is called the GoTo Shop seat and was bought by the supermarket in Whitfield, along with 500 Tesco stores.

The family trying out the chair for the first time
The family trying out the chair for the first time

Mrs Marley, 31, said: “It’s exciting for a lot of people, lots of special needs families have been really pleased to have this.

“That special chair is changing people’s lives.

“Jacob liked it, he sat up looking around, smiling and holding on to the bars.

“It was really good. He got to really experience the shopping instead of being in a buggy sheltered away. He was able to help and choose things and enjoy himself. It’s such a simple thing that some people take for granted.”

The chair is a result of a campaign by Firefly, which makes a range of supported chairs and equipment for children with disabilities.

Firefly wrote letters to supermarkets across the country and it has so far been agreed by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Its website describes it as allowing children to participate in all those moments that make family life special.

Mrs Marley, Jacob’s full-time carer, added: “Not only does he love the ride, but it means that I will be able to go shopping on my own with the children, whereas before I have had to have someone with me or do it all online. This trolley will change the lives of special needs parents.”

Mr Marley, 34, an IT engineer at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, said he would like to thank Tesco and also let other people know that supermarkets are now making it easier for families like the Marley’s to shop.

The couple are now looking to buy a seat for their home. There are also versions which allow youngsters to sit on the floor so that they can play while being supported.

Mrs Marley said the next step she would like to see would be introducing GoTo highchairs in restaurants so that Jacob could eat with the rest of the family.

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