Sports prosthetics funding in Budget welcomed by campaigning Harpenden mum
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 March 2016
While George Osborne has been widely slated for his Budget, a Harpenden woman has been applauding one major positive - funding for children's prosthetics.
The Chancellor’s 2016 Budget includes provision for new sports prosthetics for child amputees on the NHS, through a £1.5 million National Heath Service programme.
The pledge came after a lengthy campaign by determined mum Sarah Hope, of Harpenden, whose daughter Pollyanna lost her right leg below the knee when a bus hit her on a pavement in south London in 2007.
Pollyanna was two years old at the time and the same collision left her mum badly injured and killed her grandmother, Elizabeth.
Ever since the tragedy, Sarah has fought relentlessly for the rights and needs of child amputees at home and abroad, founding international disability charity Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, which provides limbs for children in less developed countries.
Here in the UK, she has long campaigned for children like Pollyanna, who face countless obstacles to living an active life, as the NHS only provides walking limbs, but not sports prosthetics.
11, is very keen on sports and enjoys running, netball, trampolining and riding horses.
Sarah explained that she much prefers sports prosthetics to walking limbs as they allow for far more - and better – movement and describes them as ‘bouncier’.
She went on: “Life is hard enough for any amputee, but as a child amputee, Pollyanna has also had to deal with regular bone trimming operations and blistering on her stump, which make it impossible to walk.
“Not providing a limb that allows her to run, jump and dance just seemed like another injustice.”
Brave Pollyanna - whose ambition is to end up as Prime Minister - has had at least 15 operations since she was struck by the bus.
Her mum approached George Osborne to help Pollyanna and the estimated 2,500 child amputees living in the UK.
Sarah told the Herts Advertiser: “I quite like him. He was fine to talk to.”
The Chancellor said: “I have been very moved by Sarah’s campaign. She got in touch with me and explained her family’s story and the problems Pollyanna and too many children like her had experienced.
“Through the NHS we are going to give £1.5 million for new prosthetics, to help amputee children run and jump when otherwise they have not been able to, and build on the 2012 Paralympics legacy.”
A third of the money will go directly towards prosthetics, while £1 million will be spent on helping the NHS develop a new generation of prosthetics, potentially including technologies such as 3D printing.