Emma Penfound from Bude has embarked on a 10 day challenge to raise money and awareness for children with hidden disabilities

Matthew Penfound has struggled with disability after meningitis damaged his brain as a baby.Matthew Penfound has struggled with disability after meningitis damaged his brain as a baby.

A mum has gone on the road in North Devon to highlight the needs of children with disabilities and the terrible effects of meningitis.

Emma Penfound, from Bude, wants to raise money and awareness to help children with 'invisible disabilities', such as her own son Matt, who suffered a brain injury from meningitis aged five months.

Now 10, he has sensory processing disorder and learning disabilities, and his mum feels there is a lack of help and support for such children in smaller communities across Devon and Cornwall.

Joined by her daughter Libby, 13, and her friend Jo Bernard, plus Jo's daughter Freya, Emma has been fundraising and raising awareness at various North Devon locations for the Meningitis Now charity.

The girls have been doing a spin cycle challenge and the group has set themselves a target of raising £5,000 during 10 days in August.

Thanks to store manager Lynn Nigh, they were at Bideford Morrisons on Wednesday and Sunday.

They will Atlantic Village in Bideford tomorrow (Saturday).

Emma said she hoped any money raised could go towards helping children in those areas.

She said: "We've found that in small towns there's not a lot of awareness so if a child does have an injury to their brain, they are a bit forgotten.

"People think if they can't see a disability they don't have one."

She said Man City fan Matt's brain struggles to process information and too much noise or input at once overwhelms him.

He also has no awareness of danger or impulse control.

She said at first the family had not realised how the disease could affect Matt and had struggled to find any support and later he had struggled at school.

But she said Meningitis Now had been a huge help.

"I didn't hear about them until Matt was six and the first time someone came out to see me I broke down, because everybody there understood," said Emma.

"But we were lucky, when you think of the families that have lost someone."

If you would like to donate to Emma's cause, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emma-penfound/