Newife retail team
The Newlife retail team (from left): Jenna Clifton, Cath Cottis, Denise Benson and Harjinder Samra

Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children has been awarded a prestigious regional retail award for its unique unsold goods model which funds specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children.

The national charity was virtually presented the Excellence in Retail prize by the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards ceremony on the 23 July.

Over the last 30 years, Newlife’s commercial operation has built up relationships with more than 240 retailers and manufacturers across the UK and Europe who donate unsold items for it to sell at reduced prices across its network of seven stores.

Supplying surplus goods, faulty items and customer returns, donors include Primark, Matalan, Amazon and River Island.

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According to Newlife, the scheme helps to finance the charity’s work while also helping organisations meet their sustainability goal by donating products which would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Its store portfolio includes a flagship superstore, home store and market place in Cannock, as well as regional stores in Yardley, Birmingham, Market Drayton, Shropshire; Heanor, Derbyshire; and Moreton, The Wirral.

Harjnder Samra, Deputy Commercial Director at Newlife, said: “We’re all absolutely delighted to have been awarded the Excellence in Retail award by the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, which is testament to the incredible amount of work our dedicated staff and volunteers put in throughout the year.”

Judges were said to have been impressed by Newlife’s model of raising money to fund its equipment and other services, including its specialist toys loan service, alongside its campaigning efforts.

The award comes following a difficult period for the charity over the course of the coronavirus lockdown throughout spring.

The charity highlighted that it was hit extremely hard by the closure of its stores for three months, effectively stopping its income overnight, while still delivering its services.

Towards the end of April 2020, the charity pleaded to the chancellor in an open letter for access to financial support, warning the services and support it provides were at risk.

“It has been a hugely challenging time for the charity in recent months, first adapting to lockdown and largely closing down our retail operation, to recent weeks where staff have been working tirelessly to ensure our stores were COVID-secure and welcoming back our loyal shoppers,” continued Harjnder.

“I’m so proud those efforts have been recognised externally and wish a huge well done to everyone at Newlife for all of their hard work.”

Hundreds of families with disabled and terminally ill children around the UK turn to Newlife each year because they cannot get the specialist equipment needed, including wheelchairs, car seats, beds and buggies.

Heart FM presenter Ed James, who hosted the awards with the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Faulkner, said: “Newlife has been operating for 30 years and directly improved the lives of more than 20,000 disabled and terminally ill kids across the United Kingdom. It’s absolutely awesome. Congratulations and a huge well done to Newlife!”

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