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Home adaptations training ISSUE 271 APRIL 2021

Trading through lockdown

TRADE MAGAZINE

Branching into ecommerce

Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Gearing up Find out how the mobility trade is preparing for increased footfall as lockdown eases

B S U C Y O E S R OT P S E ’G E R C IA U L ID E

THIIS TRADE MAGAZINE • ISSUE 271 • APRIL 2021

Also inside...


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WELCOME

Inside..

From the editor Welcome!

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32

Features

Regulars

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30 32 36 42

Retailer Spotlight: City Mobility Trade Talk: HDD Distribution Handicare partner training programme Supplier Spotlight: Monarch Mobility Trade Thoughts

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News, deals and people Retailers Choice: Mobility scooters Let’s get it clear Buyers’ Guide

The mobility and access industry can be proud of the resilience it has shown during the last year or so of the pandemic. Many businesses adapted to new ways of working to ensure the safety of vulnerable customers. Now, as lockdown restrictions start to lift again, many retailers can look forward to welcoming increased footfall from customers eager to get and about. This issue, our focus is on mobility scooters, so don’t miss our top retailers’ recommendations (p10) as well as our Buyer’s Guide (p48). Our latest issue is packed with all the latest advice, news and views about the sector. We visit Handicare’s new training facility in the Midlands (p32) to find out how it’s supporting the training of stairlift engineers. We also find out about HDD Distribution’s exciting re-brand plans and its motivation for moving to new offices at the end of last year. Carol Elliot at City Mobility talks about working through the pandemic as an essential retailer in Scotland and we also catch up with Martin Sampson, Director at Monarch Mobility, about his firm’s exciting plans for 2021. Exciting opportunities are also coming up for the trade to finally re-connect. To this end, the British Healthcare Trades Show on 15 June 2021 in Leeds is must for the diary, for retailers and suppliers alike. If you have any suggestions for stories you would like to see covered in THIIS, or would like to share your thoughts and opinions on industry topics, please don’t hesitate to email me now at the address below. Enjoy the issue!

Liane McIvor Editor

Stay up to date... TRADE MAGAZINE

@wwwthiiscouk facebook.com/THIIS.Magazine

Editor / Liane McIvor 07917 784929 / liane@thiis.co.uk Advertising / Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 / joe.fahy@bhtaengage.com Sub-editor / Sarah Sarsby sarah@thiis.co.uk

linkedin.com/company/thiis-magazine THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, Office 404, Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 E Smithfield, Whitechapel, London E1W 1AW BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

News, deals & people

A round-up of the key trade stories for business leaders to digest

Rehasense UK launches lightweight wheelchair range

Budget 2021: Key takeaways for the sector

in brief...

Mobility equipment supplier Rehasense UK launches its new ICON 35 lightweight aluminium wheelchair range this month. Weighing 8.2kg, the ICON 35 BX is the lightest wheelchair in the ICON range and features an ergonomic seat and back angle. The ICON 35 Lx, which weighs 9kg, is fitted with enhanced ergonomic seating, back upholstery and adjustable arm rests for increased levels of support and pressure relief. Both models have seat widths of 40cm and 45cm respectively and for transportation and storage can be easily folded to a compact size. With a maximum user weight of 125kg, standard features on both models include swing-away leg rests with release lever, stepwise brake control with cable, armrest and carrying handle. Lee French, Managing Director, Rehasense UK said: “We believe these latest models will prove popular with retailers, OT’s and end users as they offer a superb lightweight manual wheelchair solution along with excellent value for money.” Dealers can contact ukadmin@rehasense.com or call 0333 220 0704 to find out more.

SAVARIA ACQUISITION A new global leader in accessibility has been created after multinational mobility and accessibility manufacturer Savaria confirmed that it has completed its successful acquisition of Swedish stairlift giant Handicare Group. The acquisition of a top stairlift manufacturer represents a unique opportunity for Savaria. Handicare produces over 45,000 stairlifts annually, bringing an innovative new product line to complement its elevator and wheelchair platform lift portfolio.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget announcement last month outlined the key spending and tax plans set to impact businesses and to aid in the UK’s economic recovery. Measures announced include extensions of the Coronavirus Job Support and Self Employment Income Support schemes to September 2021 and a new “flexijob” apprenticeship programme in England to enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector Eligible businesses in the retail sector in England will also benefit from business rates relief. Businesses with profits of £50,000 or less, around 70 per cent of actively trading companies, will continue to be taxed at 19 per cent and a taper above £50,000 will be introduced so that only businesses with profits greater than £250,000 will be taxed at the full 25 per cent rate.

NEW BHTA CHAIR The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has welcomed Mark Baumann, Head of Sales for NRS Healthcare’s Product Sales Division, as the new Chair for the Independent Living and Mobility Sections. Mark has held senior positions in a number of leading branded housewares companies and was an active committee member in that sector’s trade body. As well as supporting the BHTA’s Independent Living Section as its new chair he will also be standing in as Chair of the Mobility section while a permanent chair is appointed.


Issue the correct cushion first time, every time with our easy to use proven assessment tool for FREE* Don’t just trust our 50 years experience in the industry, trust the Indicator Cushion! *Indicator cushion is FREE for any supplier or retailer that commits to 6 cushions in our colour coded range

Have you seen the Equazone yet? If not where have you been!? It’s popularity in the Community and Retail is growing substantially. Easy to use Very High Risk Air Cushion Self inflates – no pump Less than £30 to Retail and Community

Helping Hand Pressure care are always on the lookout for expert retailers and distributors for our superior Pressure Care range. To enquire about joining our network of leading retailers email - info@hhpressurecare.co.uk or call 01531 800199

Reducing Pressure Sores for Over 25 Years


NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

Disability Commission report highlights employment pay gaps

in brief...

A report by the Disability Commission, an independent body backed by the Centre for Social Justice, is calling on the UK Government to close the employment gap for disabled people. Its Now Is The Time report stated that employers with over 250 employees should report the proportion of their workforce that is disabled and the pay gaps that exist between disabled and non-disabled employees. Other recommendations include increasing supported routes into employment, including work experience for disabled pupils, and reforming government schemes such as Disability Confident and Access to Work. It also urged the government to take into account an organisation’s disability employment records in all large public sector contract award decisions and to require them to work towards increasing the proportion of disabled people within their workforce. The report found that 52 per cent of disabled people are employed compared to 81 per cent of nondisabled people.

DHG snaps up United Care BV Pressure care manufacturer Direct Healthcare Group (DHG) has snapped up the Dutch patient handling solutions manufacturer United Care BV as it continues its expansion plans. The acquisition of United Care adds to DHG’s safe moving and handling portfolio, with a combined focus on promoting movement and independence to improve quality of living for the patient. The innovative patient transfer solutions that have been developed by Netherlands-based United Care, including mobile hoists, ceiling hoists, and sit-to-stand aids, will further enhance customer choice and the quality-of-care delivery for patients and caregivers across all of the geographies that Direct Healthcare Group serves. The acquisition of United Care BV is the latest in a strong period of expansion and growth for Direct Healthcare Group within the last 18 months, and follows on from the acquisition of Swedish-based GATE Rehav Development AB, Nordic and Handicare’s Patient Handling Europe division, Finland-headquartered Carital Group Oy, and UKbased Talley Group Ltd.

AAT’s supported bathing ‘game-changer’ Stairclimber and vacuum posture cushion specialist AAT has invented Aqua Liberty to “plug the gap” in supported bathing. According to AAT, Aqua Liberty (pictured) is the first, and only, bath system that comfortably enables the bather to be properly supported in the bath with minimal physical intervention from a carer. This means the bather can enjoy the hygienic and therapeutic benefits of being immersed in water. Based around the company’s innovative vacuum posture cushion, Aqua Liberty precisely forms to the end-user, irrespective of physical and/or neurological conditions, stabilising their head, trunk and pelvis individually. Secured into place with integrated suction cups, Aqua Liberty provides a stable, non-slip base during bathing that can be easily removed for other members of the household to use the bath.

LATE PAYMENTS Poor cashflow is the biggest financial concern for small businesses in the UK this year with 32 per cent of businesses in the healthcare sector among those expecting to make a loss this year, according to survey by card payments specialist takepayments limited. A survey carried out of SME business owners found that more than a quarter of businesses have been constantly chasing late payments during the pandemic, with 42 per cent of businesses within the charity and voluntary sector the most fearful of late payments.

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THE BIG EVENT The Motability Scheme has decided to host a virtual version of The Big Event online on Friday 6th August and Saturday 7th August. The event, which is primarily aimed at disabled motorists and their families, is hoping to bring all the information and fun of the real-life event to visitors to its virtual event – without the need for them to travel. COVID-19 Government guidance, and the uncertainty regarding future restrictions led to Motability Operations cancelling all of its physical events for this year, which includes The Big Event and all regional One Big Days.


Wingus

Functionality and comfort meet design Introducing the new sit-and-drive rear wheel drive wheelchair from Ottobock. The Wingus is an entry-level power wheelchair which is very easy to use. The back and seat depth can be individually adjusted and the arm supports can be folded back. With a weight of just 57 kilograms, the Wingus is comparatively light and can be easily loaded into the car. The compact dimensions also improve driving in tight spaces and through narrow doors. #SitAndDrive

© Ottobock 2021


NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

Jenx and Jiraffe recruitment drive Thanks to a period of business growth over the past 12-months, Sheffield-based postural support specialist Jenx and its UK distribution division, Jiraffe, is recruiting more people to join their teams. Between Jenx and Jiraffe, eight people have recently been appointed including a product advisor, despatch operatives, productive operatives and a marketing manager. Now, the organisation is actively looking to fill the positions of Regional Sales Manager, Despatch Operative, Head of IT, Head of Operations, Finance Manager, two Customer Support Advisors and a Technical Service Co-Ordinator. The recruitment drives comes at a time after Jiraffe and Jenx have experienced a significant period of growth across the range of market leading postural support equipment. Holly Jenkins, Director at Jiraffe, said: “Providing the very best support and products to children is at the heart of what we do every day and by employing more specialist people across the board this can only make us stronger.”

Holly Jenkins, Director at Jiraffe and Dan Limb, Divisional Director and Head of Manufacturing at Jiraffe.

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Drive launches community and care home beds range Medical products manufacturer Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has launched two new electric profiling bed families, the Bradshaw and Casa Elite. Both bed ranges offer flexibility and choice for nursing and residential care settings, with cross-compatible accessories and innovative modular designs. Drive developed an innovative design solution that enables the aesthetic of the Casa Elite bed (pictured above right) to be upgraded with a modular head and footboard design that encloses the bed actuators in a few minutes. The design allows for the head and footboards to be replaced and repaired quickly and easily, reducing product downtime during recycling, service and maintenance. In addition, the Bradshaw range of beds feature an auto regressing backrest are designed to maximise end-users’ comfort. The Bradshaw bed is available in five different wood finishes with optional leatherette padded inserts for the head and footboards , making it also ideal for a home care setting. Both of these latest bed ranges by Drive come with the option of a large selection of wooden and metal side rails.

Peter Nicklin appointed chair of Tunstall Healthcare Global health and care technology company Tunstall Healthcare has announced the appointment of Peter Nicklin as Chairman of the Board. Peter has international experience as a senior healthcare executive with Baxter International, Bayer Healthcare, Novartis and BristolMyers Squibb. More recently, he has been chief executive and member of the board of Amann Girrbach AG based in Koblach, Austria. He commented: “Tunstall is ideally placed to continue to build on its market leading position in the sector throughout the countries it operates,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Tunstall team to capitalise on opportunities in the market and drive forward its strategy.” Tunstall Healthcare works with health, care and housing providers, providing technologyenabled care solutions that help people to live independently for longer.


Proud of what you have to say about our 1100!

“ “

With its space-saving size, superior, ergonomic design and simple installation, the 1100 is the future of straight stairlifts. Joe Stevenson, Senior

The 1100 looks modern, has a smooth ride, an easy-to-cut rail, is light to carry for installs and reliable. With regards to on-site training, I thought this was good and I have access to support when I need it. Steve Worth, Workshop Engineer, TPG

Engineer, Senior Stairlifts

The 1100 is a good lift with a simple install. The demonstration is always nice and easy and customers like the look of it too. Matt Bolton, Engineer, Premier Mobility

At Handicare we pride ourselves on always bringing our partners high quality innovative products. With experts on hand to train and support you in anyway we can.

Contact the TPS team today on

0844 225 3121 www.handicare-stairlifts.co.uk www.handicarepartners.com


RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Mobility scooters 10 / www.thiis.co.uk

Wondering which walking aids are grabbing mobility companies’ attention? Each month, retailers in the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out for them and why…


We took our

BEST SELLING SCOOTER of 2018, 2019, 2020, made some excellent upgrades and now offer a premium model… …The AutoFold Elite!!

NEW Front and rear suspension

NEW Comfort Delta bar operation

NEW NEW

LED front headlight

USB charging port

New to the Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare range, the AutoFold Elite includes several new features to enhance the riders experience.

Remote control Operation Folds or unfolds easily within 15 seconds

• NEW Fresh metallic silver finish

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• Weight capacity A first in its class of remote auto-folding pavement scooters to feature shock absorbing front and rear suspension, designed to provide extra comfort for an exceptional ride.

125kg (19.7st)

Call NOW for prices and more information! Karen Clarke 01274 475 118 karen.clarke@ddhuk.co.uk

Sandra Conlan 01274 475 121 sandra.conlan@ddhuk.co.uk

Nial Hutton 01274 475 116 nial.hutton@ddhuk.co.uk

WE HAVE MOVED! Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Ltd, Sidhil Business Park, Holmfield, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX2 9TN

sales@drivedevilbiss.co.uk www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk Information current as of 03_21


RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Mayfair from Freerider

Ceri Dixon Marketing Manager of Ableworld

Retailer’s Choice: Vista from Electric Mobility “As we start to enter spring, restrictions start to ease and hopefully some nice weather scooters will be on the top of everyone’s wish lists. “We have picked the Vista Mobility scooter from Electric Mobility as our pick this month, as this colourful mobility scooter cheers everyone up. “The mid-range scooter is not only bright, but it is also packed full of features, including all-round suspension to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride. With the added option of it being able to be dismantled into six sections, for transportation or storage, this scooter is a great option for our customers. “A popular choice due to the bright colour options of Oxford Blue and Sunset Orange, this scooter is a great choice for those who want to pop into town or visit friends or family. With an impressive 24-mile maximum range, plenty of legroom and generous turning manoeuvrability, the Vista may look small and compact, but it has everything you need for a comfortable journey. It also features front and rear LED lights, puncture-proof tyres, comfortable swivel seat, tiller charging and delta handle bars. “A great all-round scooter, ideal for helping customers to enjoy getting out this spring.” www.ableworld.co.uk

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“There are a few mobility scooters I could choose for this month’s retailers’ choice. First reaction is to go for one of the new lithium battery scooters, like the automatic folding scooters or the new lightweight car portable scooters – perhaps even one of the larger ones with all the bells and whistles on. “But this month, for the mobility scooter choice, I am going to go back to basics and choose one that is a reliable and practical everyday pavement scooter that suits many different situations. One I think that will often get overlooked. The Freerider Mayfair. “A 4mph scooter, it has lights and indicators as standard. Carrying up to 21 stones, it gives an ideal weight capacity, along with a really comfortable captain’s seat, which has a swivel action, ability to slide it forwards and backwards to give more or less legroom, and is height adjustable. “It’s ideal for those who wish to travel in and out of town for their shopping. Or for journeys out on a summer’s day to see friends and family – Covid restrictions allowing, of course. “Over the years, the design has not changed, but why change something that works? This style fits nicely as a reasonably priced, comfortable, 4mph scooter for the customer. It has a ground clearance of 4 inches with a choice of 36Ah batteries or an upgrade to 50Ah, if you require more range. It also comes in two standard colours of red or blue.” www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk

Karen Sheppard Managing Director of People First Mobility


RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Cetus from Invacare “Here at TPG DisableAids, we stock a whole range of scooters of different sizes and from different suppliers. The ability to assess a customer’s needs and capabilities before then matching a vehicle to their requirements is not lost by lack of choice. “It is, therefore, nice when the customer’s assessment also matches one of our favourite scooters: the Invacare Cetus. “The Invacare Cetus scooter has been specifically designed to offer a durable, premium product for those

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who desire complete independence to travel further afield. “Class 3 scooters are a popular choice for those who want to fully maximise their independence by travelling further and faster in style and comfort. Beautifully styled and boasting superb suspension, as well as a driving range of up to 44km, the Cetus has been designed for the discerning consumer who wants reliability and a truly exceptional drive performance. A 226kg (35.5-stone) weight limit and a 22inch wide seat provides a versatile

scooter designed to suit many individuals who enjoy getting out and about.” www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk

Alastair Gibbs Managing Director of TPG DisableAids


RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Vogue from One Rehab “Finding a mobility scooter that is comfortable, lightweight, car-transportable and also looks good is very important to our customers. Many come to us with these requirements, which is why I’m so impressed with the Vogue. It ticks all of the aforementioned boxes, while also offering much more. “Described by One Rehab as a ‘fashionable scooter’ that’s available in six great shades, including Brilliant Green, Candy Pink and Oyster Grey, the secure-grip delta handlebar gives the user full control over manoeuvring, while adjustable suspension on the front and back provides a smooth and comfortable ride. There is even lots of leg room, which everyone – not just tall people – love. “The accessible battery pack, which is simple to remove (so it can be charged separately to the scooter); the interchangeable battery pack, which allows for a quick and cost-effective upgrade from 12Ah to 20Ah sized batteries (giving longer travel time, and additional freedom); a second charging port; plus the powerful LED light are all features that help make this scooter popular. “However, what our customers love most about the Vogue is that it easily disassembles into five parts in around 30 seconds, ensuring a quick, safe and best of all ‘lightweight’ lift in and out of a car. “The Vogue Mobility Scooter provides everything a user needs and is a mobility product that I rate as one of the best!” www.fortunamobility.com

Elaine Ferguson Mobility Services Manager of Fortuna Mobility

Retailer’s Choice: Landranger from Freerider “When it comes to recommending an outdoor scooter, we would not want a customer to leave without seeing a Freerider Landranger first. “At Modern Mobility, we pride ourselves on providing quality products for our customers and that is certainly what they are receiving with this Class 3 mobility scooter. “Freerider’s description of the Landranger series of scooters is that they are the heavyweights of the range and it is easy to see why. They will certainly stand the test of time. Me and the whole team at Modern Mobility believe that we are providing an excellent product which provides the customer value for money. “If you are looking for a mobility scooter that has all the usual modern features, but, in addition, has some of the best suspension available;

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amongst the highest user weight limits and maximum range figures; the ability to easily travel over gravel, grass and other challenging terrains; with a build quality that inspires the ultimate confidence; then you need to look at a Landranger. “The admirable capabilities of the scooters aside, we never worry about recommending Freerider to our customers. The back-up and support from their head office is second-to-none, with a reliable next day delivery on spare parts and new models. Their staff will go to extraordinary lengths to meet our needs as a dealer, which obviously benefits the end-user in the long run.”

Nick Partridge Store Manager of Modern Mobility Leicester www.modernmobility.co.uk


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RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Minimo from TGA Mobility “The scooter we have chosen for Retailers’ Choice is the TGA Minimo, which continues to be a popular choice for clients requiring a folding scooter. “Due to the nature of it being a travel scooter, the design is kept simple, however, it looks stylish and modern, and, true to the TGA brand, is of high quality. “There are a number of models available, which helps to meet the varying requirements of our clients. The manual folding version helps to keep the price competitive and as it now uses a foot pedal to fold, instead of the previous pull lever, it minimises the amount of bending required by the user. “The Minimo continues to be a popular model on the hire fleet and is able to withstand the demanding use of a hire scooter! The lithium batteries require minimal maintenance and the standard 11.5amp batteries can be transported by air, if required.”

Retailer’s Choice: Illusion from One Rehab “Within the small lightweight Class 2 boot scooter range, Mobility Scotland was very pleased to partner One Rehab and take to market their brilliant little Illusion lightweight aluminium scooter. “We were first introduced to the vehicle mid-2018 and were impressed with One Rehab’s belief and confidence that they had produced a phenomenally lightweight, robust scooter, which met all the customer objectives whilst delivering a reliable, comfortable, and transportable solution. “Their enthusiasm for its aesthetics, innovative features and performance capabilities was enough for us to make a space on our floor and introduce it to our customers.

“The Illusion was so well received by the team and loved by the customers that it soon started to outsell the traditional steel chassis boot scooters, despite being nearly twice the price. Crucially, it just proves that people are willing to pay for a solution which is of quality build and meets their objectives and adds real value to their daily mobility. “The specification is there for everyone to see on the website, but take confidence from the fact this little machine is marketed as the lightest disassemble scooter in the world and now has a proven track record to vindicate this impressive advertising tag.” www.mobilityscotlandltd.co.uk

www.classicmobility.org.uk

Lauren Bromfield Director of Classic Mobility

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Billy Finnie Operations Manager of Mobility Scotland


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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

City Mobility: Rising up to the challenge Carol Elliot lives on the Black Isle, just north of Inverness, with her husband and son. Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis since the age of nine, she certainly knows a thing or two about the challenges that come with having restricted mobility. Carol’s health condition, she says, has helped shape her personality and life as she always worked to achieve things on her own terms. “I left school with hardly any qualifications as my schooling had taken second place to my arthritis but ended up getting a BA (Hons) in Psychology with the Open University as a young adult,” she recalls.

Carol Elliot, City Mobility’s managing director

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Overcoming challenges such as this led to Carol becoming involved in promoting accessibility and inclusion, either with voluntary groups or through previous jobs over the years. Before becoming the owner and managing director of City Mobility – a firm which was established in 2002 – Carol had been a silent shareholder in another mobility business until the outgoing owner, a friend, wanted to retire. “I was never involved with the day-to-day running of a mobility business until then,” explains Carol. “After our due diligence processes and the timeous insolvency of the local branch of a national mobility franchise whose model didn’t get the challenges of the area we cover, my fellow shareholders agreed we should buy City Mobility, but only if I gave up my job and ran it.” Always up for a challenge, Carol agreed and in January 2019 she took over the running of the business. With two of City Mobility’s four directors having a disability, the business is truly led by disabled people. LET THE GAMES BEGIN City Mobility operates an Invernessbased showroom and workshop, and

The UK’s most northerly Motability powered wheelchair and scooter dealership, City Mobility is based in Inverness, Scotland. Its reach of customers covers just over half of Scotland but after the business was forced to close for all but essential purposes in March 2020, covering this huge area became even more challenging. Despite this, over the past year, the dealer has helped aid the UK’s vital COVID-19 vaccination programme by providing wheelchairs to help people attend their appointments. The firm’s staff also received their vaccinations to help protect its elderly and disabled customers. City Mobility’s managing director Carol Elliot talks to THIIS about the challenges of running such a unique business during a pandemic...

a shared showroom in Aberdeen with another Inverness-based mobility business. Alongside supplying, servicing and repairing new and second-hand mobility scooters and powerchairs, the dealer services and repairs wheelchair lifts and hoists in vehicles and fits dual controls for driving instructors. “We are the most northern Motability dealer on the PWSS Scheme and concentrate on mobility scooters and powerchairs for

“We are the most northern Motability dealer on the PWSS Scheme and concentrate on mobility scooters and powerchairs for Motability and private customers” CAROL ELLIOT


Take another look at Primacare... RETAILERS’ CHOICE OF THE YEAR 2020

Brecon

‘Floral Oatmeal’

For more information on our range go to... www.primacare.co.uk


RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

The store supplies, services and repairs new and second-hand mobility scooters and powerchairs.

Motability and private customers,” explains Carol. After Carol took over the business, she had just over a year’s “honeymoon period” to learn about the business before the challenges really began. She says: “The staff, since day one, have been amazing and supportive as we got to know each other and we’ve pulled together to ensure we all come out the other end of the pandemic intact.” Carol explains that the workload of her staff was on a downward spiral from the end of February 2020 as the business’s vulnerable customer base started shielding ahead of the national lockdown. “The week before a national lockdown was announced we could see it coming so we started to work quickly to finish jobs and get equipment back to people ready to close the business,” she says. “When the announcement came on the evening of Monday 23rd March 2020, we were already

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prepared for it, so I just had to call the staff that night and tell them not to come in the next day.” KEEPING GOING One of the first things Carol did was set up a ‘staff only’ Facebook page so that her and her staff could stay connected informally and “keep building on the team spirit we had nurtured.” It was also useful as a means to consult staff as the business moved forward. City Mobility was forced to close for all but absolutely essential work, Carol says, so she was in the shop for three months on her own – as Scotland’s lockdown was longer than in England – dealing with essential calls, grant applications, furlough paperwork and the few essential jobs that other staff were usually responsible for. She continues: “Because our sister business still had essential staff working, I used them to fill the gaps and deliver loan equipment where we had to make do. I also made and

posted out over 200 “We’re all in this together” and “We are here for you” postcards in May and November 2020 to all our PWSS Motability customers with comforting messages to let them know that we were thinking about them during these tough times, which I know were appreciated.” Carol found that the rules and information in Scotland about the pandemic was generally “very clear and consistent”. She was pleasantly

“All staff appreciated the opportunity to have the vaccine to be able to offer further protection to our customers” CAROL ELLIOT


RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

City Mobility’s Inverness-based showroom and workshop

surprised, for instance, to find that City Mobility’s local MSP Kate Forbes, who is also the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, found the time to have a Zoom meeting with Carol to hear about the issues her business was facing. Accessing business grant funding administered by the local authority was more of a challenge, however, she says. “It took us six months to get our business grant and only then with the help of a ‘no-win-nofee’ professional as we weren’t recognised as a retail business. We did however receive an award from the Scottish Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund recognising City Mobility’s unique role as a regional business in supporting the disabled community.” WHEELCHAIRS ON LOAN The business made headlines when it came up with the idea of offering free wheelchair loans for customers having the COVID-19 jab. Says Carol: “We had a contract come to an end leasing wheelchairs to an airport for passenger assistance, so we wanted to put the secondhand wheelchairs to good use. When we got a call to ask about lending wheelchairs for the NHS Grampian Vaccination Centre we decided to do it for free.” Fortunately, City Mobility’s

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business area remained in the lower of Scotland’s five-tier system so the business could, with the appropriate measures, continue trading once lockdown was lifted. The Boxing Day lockdown was the next official lockdown but the local authority had by then recognised City Mobility as an essential business, enabling the business to carry on as usual. Since then, Carol worked on getting her team of nine staff vaccinated as the jab was not being offered automatically, she explains. “I had to do a fair amount of leg work to get it but as soon as we reached the right person to ask, it was immediately actioned and our status was never questioned. All staff appreciated the opportunity to have the vaccine to be able to offer further protection to our customers.” SERVING A LARGE AREA City Mobility’s area covers just over half of Scotland at over 41,000 square kilometres, which is bigger than Switzerland. Covering such a huge area with a small population is logistically challenging at the best of times but it was made especially so during the pandemic. “With reduced economies of scale we have made a loss reaching our more rural mainland customers,” admits Carol.

A trip to the Scottish Islands to service Motability customers requires special permission from Island Local Authorities, she says, to make key worker hotel bookings and to use ferries. “And it took longer than usual because of reduced sailings and social distancing on crossings.” Due to covering such a large expanse, Carol and her team says that they are always very thorough in their phone assessment process ahead of home demonstrations so that they can make sure they take the right products out to meet customers’ individual needs. “When you are travelling over 200 miles on a a trip you need to get it right first time,” she laughs. “We have formed closer partnerships with those suppliers who have been very supportive of us this past year.” RISING DEMAND Carol has noticed that customer demand has increased as people have realised that they valued being able to get out for their own shopping and daily socially distanced maneuvers. “If we had traded for a full year it would have been even better than the last one,” comments Carol. “Demand has of course fallen for travel scooters and increased for

Carol scooting out with the Highland Disabled Ramblers in the Cairngorms


RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Carol sent out comforting postcards to the business’s PWSS Motability customers during the pandemic

more substantial scooters,” she adds. COVID aside, with the UK leaving the EU Carol said she has already seen a difference in trading conditions. “Like other UK retailers we are seeing price rises due to increased freight costs and reduced margins. Again, this will have an impact on what we sell. “Being squeezed in the middle between rising costs and not being able to pass them on to certain customers,” is, she says, amongst the biggest challenges facing her business in the months to come. Competing with internet businesses is also a challenge, says Carol. “For once, where we live is an advantage to us as those internet ‘national’ businesses who know one end of a map from the other are beginning to realise that they can’t provide an after-sales service to the remoter reaches of Scotland. “Those suppliers that have gone down the route of having both a dealer and internet presence will

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know that referring their internet enquiries to us is the way forward for their products rather than competing with us. Carol says that she has seen more internet suppliers and businesses getting in contact with City Mobility to provide an after-sales service to their customers because they did not realise how far away addresses in this part of Scotland are, or they cannot get to them with travel restrictions. “It does annoy me that the Department of Transport, in February 2020, called on all powered wheelchair and mobility scooter retailers to ensure that customers are trained in the safe use of equipment but they have done nothing to ensure internet providers are bound to the same code.” Carriage costs to the Highlands and Islands is another nationally contentious issue, says Carol, who adds: “We won’t work with suppliers that don’t offer us the same prices as the rest of the UK.”

FACING THE FUTURE Carol is looking forward to building on the relationships that her business has with certain suppliers this year and getting to know their product lines. “Loyalty is a two-way street,” she remarks. The business, she says, is already working in partnership with its sister company and selected suppliers to expand its mobility scooter presence across the area so that they can be more proactive in growing their Motability fleet in their dealership area. “Staff will shortly be undergoing training in more complex powerchairs, a market we have not tapped into much at all. “We are also carrying out sea trials at the moment of a new customer relationship and workflow database customer built by a locally based provider.” Carol comments that City Mobility has recently been awarded a grant for IT equipment to equip its mobile staff with digital tools to use this database in order to better serve their customers’ needs. The business has also started to invest in young talent. Just days before the March lockdown City Mobility employed a young engineer and they recently started a teenage trainee admin assistant through the Kickstart Scheme. “Lastly, our expanding engineering team, as a sideline, already services electric powered golf buggies, which we have recently been promoting more widely, especially as our corner of ‘Bonnie Scotland’ is renowned for its worldfamous golf courses!”

“When you are travelling over 200 miles a trip you need to get it right first time” CAROL ELLIOT


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TRADE TALK

Trade talk Q&A with James Sunderland, Managing Director at Healthcare Distribution Direct REFLECTING ON THE LAST 10 YEARS, HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE BUSINESS EVOLVE SINCE ITS INCEPTION? “At the start of our business journey, we were mostly focused on staying alive in a very competitive sector. As we started to concentrate on the specialist service for mobility and healthcare suppliers direct to the consumer it quickly became apparent how much of a positive difference this made to people. It could be my mother, my granddad… “Our purpose as an organisation is now to help these people gain the know-how and confidence to use their medical equipment to stay healthy for longer and to do this with respect from beginning to end. “Our customers work hard to build their brand, generate sales, and support their customers, especially where they might be older or more vulnerable. Maintaining high customer service levels throughout the complex logistics of delivery, set up, handover, service, and repair, directly with the consumer, can be really challenging. As the only logistics company focused on this critical challenge, HDD grew rapidly, becoming the leading end-to-end distributor of healthcare products to UK consumers. “As a business, we continued to invest heavily in both our people and systems as part of a strategy to further improve the service and experience to our customers and

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their customers. Continued growth resulted in a move to our new offices with increased warehouse capacity, allowing our clients additional stock holding facilities and providing faster order to delivery times for their customers. “Our focus on customer experience led to further investment in our systems to enhance efficiency and end customer satisfaction, something we take pride in. Our team continued to grow, both in customer support and engineer roles, to ensure we maintain the very highest levels of customer service. “I genuinely believe our greatest achievement over the last 10 years is the personal touch we have managed to maintain with our clients and end-users alike. We have a phrase printed on our office walls to remind us of the importance of what we are doing day to day. “As Michelle Obama once said: ‘Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make to people’s lives.’”

West Yorkshire-based Healthcare Distribution Direct (HDD) provides a nationwide healthcare delivery and installation service for suppliers of mobility equipment direct to consumers. This year, in its 10-year anniversary, the firm has been busy implementing some new changes, including opening offices in Cleckheaton and undergoing a re-brand. THIIS caught up with James Sunderland, Managing Director at Healthcare Distribution Direct, to find out more...

PLEASE CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH WHAT PART OF THE BUSINESS YOU HAVE RE-BRANDED AND THE THINKING BEHIND IT? “The re-brand was another aspect of the business we assessed heavily during the Covid 19 pandemic and did grow arms and legs a little. “Our initial idea was to update our website as all our clients have access to HDD’s online portal (this allows our clients to add and manage their orders) through our website. “With this in mind, we felt our website needed to showcase exactly what we offer to the market as we believed that there were certain services we could offer that people may not know about yet. “While completing the development of the site, we decided we would ‘refresh’ our logo as it had been the same for the last 10 years. I guess a little celebration of the 10-year anniversary with a new tweaked logo. This then evolved into a new look van livery, our first ever HDD brochure and new company stationery.”

HDD vans have been refreshed with new-look livery


“Our greatest achievement over the last 10 years is the personal touch we have managed to maintain with our clients and end users alike” JAMES SUNDERLAND

The business has continued to invest heavily in both its people and systems

WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND YOUR DECISION TO INVEST IN A NEW OFFICE AND WAREHOUSE SPACE? “Despite the challenge’s many businesses have faced in 2020, we continued to thrive and grow. This is a testament to the continued dedication of our team and our commitment to providing customers with a stellar level of service. “As part of this growth, though, we did need to look at the structure of the business and decide how we could future-proof the business moving forward so we would continue to be able to provide the services levels in the long term. This is when, during the COVID 19 pandemic, we decided the business needed a new larger home. “Towards the end of 2020, HDD was happy to completely move its business to its 35,000 square foot offices in Cleckheaton.  This means we now have a greater capacity and more than 2,000 pallet spaces to provide healthcare distribution logistics that set the benchmark in the industry. “We are hoping that when the pandemic is over, we will have the

opportunity to showcase our new business home to our existing clients and potential new prospects.” HDD HAS INVESTED IN NEW BARCODE TECHNOLOGY RECENTLY – CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THIS AND WHAT DIFFERENCE IT WILL MAKE? “HDD’s new barcode technology was implemented to ensure optimal recognition of goods, allowing us to optimise workflow processes and streamline logistics lead times. It is important to us to ensure we manage our clients’ products in the most efficient possible way. “Any delays in our processes and systems fundamentally mean delays for the end-user and as we all know healthcare products are exceedingly important for the users of this equipment. The new system allows us to track every single parcel and makes sure it runs through HDD’s systems with as little delay as possible and is becoming increasingly effective as we grow as a business. “We had also seen, in recent times, a lot of our clients were wanting to store their products at

HDD’s warehousing facility. It was important to us that if this side of the business was to grow, it would be managed properly which is exactly what the barcoding has done. “Each product can now be managed and tracked at any point and reports can be autogenerated and sent to our clients so they can see the exact movements of each item.” WHAT DO YOU THINK 2021 HOLDS FOR HDD DISTRIBUTION AND THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE? “This question is something the management team has discussed for some time now and we have found it difficult to answer. We know the industry has been hit in 2020 but we have been lucky enough to navigate the pandemic with an element of positivity. HDD continued to see yearly growth and has also continued to increase the team in all areas. We firmly believe this trend is going to continue for HDD but, more importantly, we believe the industry overall is going to see some very positive results this year. “We have also been working on increasing our service offering even further and are heavily investing in developing a LOLER testing arm to HDD. This is a natural step forward for HDD and are committed to ensuring this side to the business grows over the coming months.” www.hdd-ltd.com

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GUEST ARTICLE

Engineers get hands-on with installing products onto a staircase

Creating a skilled workforce to deliver home adaptations Let the Powerpack do the pushing Incredibly easy to fit and simple to remove Designed and made in the UK Range of up to 10 miles

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With our ageing population investing more in adaptations so they can stay mobile and independent at home for longer, demand for safe and reliable equipment is expected to continue to rise. So too is the need for a skilled workforce to carry out installations and maintain that equipment. Stairlift manufacturer Handicare has invested in a new facility at its Kingswinford site in the Midlands to support the development of its own and its partners’ teams of engineers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness and reduced the stigma of home adaptations, with more single person and multigenerational households investing in products to make living at home easier vs moving to a nursing or care home. It has also forced public health authorities and governments to consider more urgent action to tackle the major challenge for health and social care systems to cope with the ageing population. SUPPORTING ENGINEERS Anticipating a surge in demand for its straight and curved stairlifts, Handicare is extending its training and technical support for engineers installing and maintaining them. Handicare’s Paul Stockdill, Sales & Marketing Director, explained: “Many people are more determined than ever to stay in their own home if they need care and are starting to future-proof their homes at an earlier age. We strongly believe an ageing population means more homes will need to be adapted to make them easier and more comfortable to live in for people in later life. “We need to act now to make sure

Workshop sessions include training videos and practical demonstrations

we have the skilled workforce to cope with the increase in demand for products and services, and that means both attracting more people into our sector and giving them the training and support they need to succeed.” With over half of its stairlifts reaching end-users through its trade channel, Handicare’s support for its partners has long been regarded as an industry benchmark. In terms of technical training, its Handicare Academy ensures engineers employed by partners receive regular in-person training on all its

models, requiring certificates to be maintained and refresher courses taken every two years. Now, the Academy facilities at its UK headquarters in Kingswinford have been extended to cope with the expected increase in demand from its trade partner, direct and local authority sales channels. DRIVING IMPROVEMENTS The new training room has eight stations for engineers to get handson and install products onto a staircase, as well as dedicated desks for workshop sessions where training

The spacious training room has eight stations for engineers

Paul Stockdill, Handicare’s Sales & Marketing Director

Call to find out more

01787 888 106 Attaches in seconds

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GUEST ARTICLE videos and practical demonstrations can be shared, all while observing strict social distancing rules of keeping two metres apart. Rob Wood, Senior Technical and Training Engineer, and Lee Craig, Technical Support Manager, have over 35 years’ experience of Handicare’s products between them. They are driving improvements in the delivery of training and support for Handicare’s 180+ strong partner network. “Providing the training and support which means partners and local authority teams can install our stairlifts confidently is an absolute must for us,” says Rob. “We believe it can make all the difference to the teams who are helping customers. Our approach is very much focused on creating a good outcome for end-users and that means making sure our partners know our products inside out so they’re confident they’re fitting exactly what their customer needs and maintaining them to the highest safety standards.” Dealers who invest in the skills of their engineers by sending them to manufacturers like Handicare for training quickly see a return in terms of the amount of time it takes for them to install products including stairlifts, as well as to diagnose and solve problems. “We also find that our partners benefit from promoting their credentials in product knowledge and training; our Partner Programme gives them credibility in the eyes of their customer who is seeking reassurance about the quality of the retailer,” added Rob. ONLINE TRAINING During lockdown in 2020, face-toface training opportunities were very limited so Handicare launched an online training programme, HandicareLive. The response was huge. Almost 200 people attended a total of 48 live sessions delivered using video calling with 100 per cent positive feedback. Following this success, Handicare plans to launch an online library of training sessions later this year so partners can access the resources

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A workshop session in the training room at Handicare Academy

on-demand. There’s also an online support tool in the pipeline, which will help apprentices and engineers who are new to Handicare’s products access the information they need quickly and easily from mobile devices while they are on site installing or repairing stairlifts. The Technical Service Desk also allows partners to access direct support from a team of Handicare’s experienced senior engineers. Rob and Lee have been joined on this team by Gordon Kerr, a timeserved lift engineer with a decade of experience at Handicare. He’s keen to help engineers on site, whether they’re carrying out routine maintenance or fixing a breakdown. “I know how important it is to find the solution to a problem when you’re on site. It can be quite stressful when you can’t fix something and you’re in the customer’s home. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like,” says Gordon. With increasing demand for stairlifts and the additional health and safety introduced due to Covid-19, Gordon knows there are more pressures than ever on engineers to get the job done quickly. “I want to give our partners the confidence to know they’ll find the answers every time.” Partners can book training sessions at the Handicare Academy through their Business Development Manager or by calling TPS on 0844 225 3121.

Comments from partners on Handicare’s technical training... “Please pass my thanks onto Rob Wood for his brilliant efforts yesterday for the 1100 training. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a great deal.” Sandeep Singh, Logistics Manage, 24/7 Healthcare ‘Thoroughly enjoyed it’ ‘Very comprehensive’ ‘Really informative’ Jackson Lifts “Really clear video guidance and explanations.” Mobile Mobility (HandicareLive 2020) “At Handicare you have the excellent training, the good support and they’re always there when you need them. Handicare’s service is marvellous. They are one of the best in the industry.” Mike Williams, Ableworld


You told us what you want - we’ve delivered

We’ve listened to what you value when it comes to choosing a stairlift partner. Now we’re giving you more of what’s important to you in our new Partner Programme. As a partner you will benefit from:

Industry leading commercial & technical training Access learning & development opportunities online or at our NEW Handicare Academy in Kingswinford.

Our new Partner Programme is designed to give you all the tools you need to grow your stairlift business with us. At Handicare, we don’t just supply stairlifts, we make everyday life easier, together. If you’d like to become a Handicare Partner, get in touch and secure your place in our growing network.

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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

Monarch were picking up Motability repairs throughout the pandemic

Monarch Mobility: Getting its mojo back 36 / www.thiis.co.uk

Now in its 20th year, Monarch Mobility has brought many innovative products to the mobility market place in its tenure, with its folding scooter being amongst its most successful. Now, after being forced to adapt its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, this nationwide supplier of mobility scooters, powerchairs and adjustable beds is branching into ecommerce, as well as gearing up to launch a new range of products. THIIS caught up with Managing Director Martin Sampson to find out about the company’s exciting plans for 2020.


“Customers had nowhere to go but we functioned throughout the whole pandemic” MARTIN SAMPSON

More solid appointments are coming through on the telephone thanks to the business moving into ecommerce

Monarch Mobility was established by David Leach 20 years ago, and he is still fully involved in the business on a daily business. Four years ago Martin Sampson joined him as Managing Director. Martin, whose background in the industry was predominantly as the Sales and Marketing Director for Niagara Healthcare-owned Adjustamatic Beds, liked how Monarch was leading the way with an innovative product offering. One such example was when the company brought the Mobie folding scooter into the marketplace eight years ago. As Martin explains: “Many manufacturers and dealers laughed at us and our folding scooter concept initially; however, the folding scooter now appears everywhere. Not only was the folding scooter good for the dealers, but it also was – and still is – the answer to many consumers’ problems and provided just the answer.” An accredited Motability dealer and manufacturer, excellent customer service is at the core of what makes Monarch stand out from its competitors, explains Martin. “It is predominantly focused around the aftercare service we provide and the way we service our clients around the UK,” he notes. “In fact, when the country went into lockdown we were pretty much

covering most companies in the UK as they were all pretty much closed down with their repairs. Customers had nowhere to go. We functioned throughout the whole pandemic and were picking up Motability repairs from all sorts of dealers.” THE IMPACT OF COVID Monarch has a B2B market where it supplies its products to approximately 175 trade dealers around the UK. As well as having a retail outlet/showroom in Halifax the firm operates a sales force which drives across the country doing demonstrations of our products. The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was a “dead

stop” explains Martin. The way the UK Government helped business with initiatives such as the furlough scheme helped the company a lot, says Martin, but Monarch still had to adapt, and fast. “Obviously there was that worry and concern out in the big wide world, and then everything suddenly stopped. We had to be reactive to our marketing in a different way. “Not only to maintain the outgoings of the business but to obviously maintain the business itself. We had to make a lot of changes which we probably wouldn’t have done if there hadn’t been a pandemic.” Throughout the pandemic, because of furlough, Monarch ran its warehouse operation from its retail outlet/showroom just so that the business could maintain productivity. Explains Martin: “It’s a working showroom. Customers will come in on a regular basis - especially the

The ecommerce model has been working so well that the firm has decided to make it permanent

www.thiis.co.uk / 37


SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

Customers can visit the working showroom in Halifax to view and test out products

local people. They come in with problems and faults and we’ll repair them. Or they’ll come in and view the products themselves.” The most significant development for the firm was in transforming its website into an ecommerce website. The website the company had devised before the pandemic was pretty basic. “Basically we had a website which just showed our products with a contact phone number and people would just ring in,” says Martin. “We now have a brand new fully-built ecommerce website so customers can look for products, enquire about products and pay for them online. “Importantly, we can now go to sleep at night knowing we are making money during the night.” The ecommerce model has been working so well it is set to stay for good, comments Martin. “The world is moving online,” he says. “Forget the overheads and costs involved with opening new stores! “It means that when customers go onto the internet now they can see the price, so we are now getting a more solid appointments coming

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through on the telephone because they know the price.” By presenting all the information that the customer needs online, the “timewasters” that used to call in pre-pandemic are no longer there. This means that as well as using television advertising and Facebook to increase its visibility to customers, the firm has been focusing its energies on processes such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) to help meet its online goals. NEW MOBILITY RANGE “Pre-lockdown we were just about to launch, at the Naidex event, a completely new Monarch mobility range, going from folding scooters all the way up to ‘eight-mile-perhours’ and obviously it all stopped so we never got to launch those products,” says Martin. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Monarch is looking forward to launching its new product range at the BHTS in June, he says. “We have now a complete new ‘four-miles-per-hour’ range, which has various scooters for different

customers needs. Some of them break down, some of them don’t. All of them are now on the Motability Scheme. “We have some new powerchairs, particularly our Carbon Lite, which featured in THIIS Magazine, that are becoming increasingly popular because of their weight. “Our massive ‘eight-milesper-hour’ range has been very successful for ourselves currently and, again, all those products are on the Motability Scheme. As a manufacturer of products on the Motability Scheme, the firm is proud of its service offering, but it is also keen to challenge itself by

“The world is moving online… Forget the overheads and costs involved with opening new stores!” MARTIN SAMPSON


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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

Monarch prides itself on its excellent aftercare service

pushing forward with new goals, states Martin. “With our new product range, out of the 11 qualifying manufacturers in the UK we were 10th or 11th, but already we are up to seventh or eighth and our goal is to be in the top three,” he comments. GEARING UP FOR 2021 “We are continuously looking at innovative and unique new products,” explains Martin, who shares that the firm is currently talking to its partners in China today about launching a new product. The details about the new offering are ‘top secret’, although he hints that “lightness” will be key. “We are always looking for something which is different that somebody hasn’t thought of before. Hence one of the biggest things in the industry is the lightness of scooters and lightness of powerchairs.” The firm has adapted to this trend already, he says, with its Carbon Lite powerchair and the featherlight Mojo folding scooter, which Monarch launched last year.

40 / www.thiis.co.uk

A younger market is also in the firm’s sights, explains Martin, and he sees that as key to expanding the firm’s customer base. “Our customer base is generally in the 55-85 years age range, so that means there are 35 years we are missing in the lower range, so we are now looking at products and model which will capture the 1850s.” The company had started to make steps towards achieving this goal with the creation of a new website, www.urbaneriders.co.uk, which was created with exactly this demographic in mind, explains Martin, and enabling Monarch to cater for a full age range throughout the UK. “It’s fresh; it’s new; and it’s different,” he says. “Once we have got a full handle onto that marketplace we will then look at becoming a trade dealer for other traders.” Both David and Martin would like to take this opportunity to thank all of their loyal and supportive staff over the years. www.monarchmobility.com

Martin Sampson, Managing Director of Monarch Mobility

“We are continuously looking at innovative and unique new products” MARTIN SAMPSON


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Trade Thoughts How is your business preparing for the end of the coronavirus restrictions? After a difficult winter for many in the mobility sector, the announcement of all coronavirus restrictions potentially being lifted by the summer has come as welcome news. This month, THIIS asked industry leaders how they intend to make the most of this summer and make hay while the sun shines.

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Karen Sheppard

Billy Finne

Managing Director of People First Mobility

Operations Manager at Mobility Scotland

Preparing for the end of the restrictions is exciting, and, hopefully, this will be the last time we are closed. I am aware that we are classed as essential but being in small town that is also a seaside town reliant on tourists has meant it has not been worth opening. The cost of staff and variable costs would be more than the possible outcome of visitors instore. So, the spring and summer months are going to be hard work, but enjoyable. “I am very enthusiastic for the new season and will bring back some furloughed staff part-time. A summer sale was on the agenda to encourage more sales, however, with the increased purchase prices from suppliers, this will have to be reconsidered. “One supplier has increased some of their mobility scooters by £100 per machine. This is a huge rise to have to pass on to the customer or absorb. Advertising must be a key thing for the new season to remind people that you are still trading. Making the customer welcome will be a key point and getting them come back to the high street. Promotions, giveaways, and freebies are all part of the comeback strategy for People First Mobility.

It has been a long hard year, but optimism and spring is in the air and the lockdown exit strategy will (hopefully) work out. This lockdown, especially in Scotland, has been the most damaging. It has hit hard and consumer behaviour has been affected and has begun to swing ‘habitually’ in the direction of online purchasing. “We need to quickly address this and work towards making our bricks and mortar operations safe, inviting, and attractive places to visit again, as many people are likely to be nervous about going back into a physical store. We need to give them confidence and reinforce the message that when considering mobility equipment, the most prudent and effective way to do it is by consultation, demonstrations, and thorough needs analysis. “Also, we are very aware that as revenues begin to grow, and government assistance is steadily withdrawn, our working capital will be placed under great pressure. So, a strategic plan for the second half of the year is being devised to ensure business recovery. This plan will include investment in our showroom environment, creating the wow factor for the ultimate customer experience. In turn, this will drive footfall, while new product lines and resources for our teams will enable our team to deliver in-depth professional needs analysis, enabling appropriate recommendations, leading to high sales conversions.


Mike Williams

Kevin Bounds

Dave Dodsworth

Managing Director of Ableworld

Chairman of Snowdrop Independent Living

Area Sales Manager of Dolphin Mobility Yorkshire and Cumbria

As Ableworld has been fully open throughout lockdowns, most of the preparation is already done, although we are obviously all looking forward to it. “We have already started our preparations and increased our stock levels in stores by around £500,000 (£20k+ per store). Also, an increase in marketing, which includes over two million leaflets being distributed throughout March and April, as well as some other exciting plans. “All of our staff have returned from furlough, ready to help and support our customers as the restrictions continue to ease. “We are really looking forward to the end of restrictions as we enter the summer, and we celebrate our 20th birthday. We naturally see an increase in footfall over the summer months, so we are making sure we are ready with the staff, the stock, and some amazing summer sale prices. With another big marketing boost, we are looking forward to helping even more customers remain independent and have the right equipment to help them enjoy the summer and get out in the fresh air.

The last 12 months have been challenging; however, we are full of optimism for the coming months. “In February 2020, just before lockdown, we acquired three new branches in the Midlands. “Obviously, we battened down the hatches to ensure the survival of our business, but we also used the period to improve our online capability, revamp the stores, rebrand the Midlands stores, establish an engineering function in the Midlands, and plan for the post Covid environment “The plans for reopening fully include making sure that all staff feel safe and comfortable and well trained, as well as using sophisticated technology tools to showcase our products and the benefits they bring via our brandnew website. “In addition, we’ll be providing multiple ways for our customers, and their families and supporters, to interact with us. Customers can get in touch with us via a new Facebook group, an online forum and instant chat support. “We have launched a new COVID safety measures video and virtual product demo. “We are gearing up to meet pentup demand but also to encourage customers to take full advantage of the new freedoms by getting out and about and enjoying life once more.

During lockdown, we changed. Surprisingly, it made us leaner and more prepared for the opportunities the post-lockdown bounce will provide. Sadly, I can’t say the same about me physically. “We adopted a flexible, sometimes furloughed, sanitised, vaccinated, and adopted a masked presence for those who needed our support. But after a year of redeveloping websites, developing marketing strategies, and at least a thousand hours of training, we are ready to adapt again. “Councils restarting visits for non-urgent cases offers us an opportunity to re-engage with an OT community that has been increasingly isolated. Training courses are ready for delivery and initial dates booked. “I’ve committed to stands at mobility events throughout the summer, with a view to engaging with a new group of customers and potential partners. “A lack of foreign holidays will mean an increase in mobility renovations. If the pandemic did one thing, it was ensuring less people want to move into care. Enhanced marketing strategies developed during lockdown will generate both remote sales and a pipeline of visitors to our stairlift and hoist showroom, and we’ve increased our headcount to cater for this. “We gained strength during lockdown and will do the same again during the easing of restrictions.

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Trade Thoughts Have you got a trade thought that you would like industry leaders to discuss? Contact Liane McIvor at liane@thiis.co.uk to share your topic. 44 / www.thiis.co.uk

Gino Farruggio

Amy Hadlow

Sales Director, Trade at Stiltz Lifts

General Manager of Higher Elevation

Stiltz Homelifts has been fortunate as the lockdowns have not affected the company adversely. The second main lockdown in Q1 of 2021 did not see any staff furloughed. Inhome assessments and installations continued, where customers were willing for these to take place. “Stiltz has powered through with similar levels of advertising as outside of lockdown. This has given us a tremendous advantage over those competitors who shut up shop and pulled their spend. We are anticipating massive pent-up demand once this lockdown ends, much like after 2020’s lockdown where the summer months saw us reach record sales numbers. “The Stiltz trade team are ready and waiting to support dealers as they re-open and start to re-invest in marketing and promotional programmes. Our Referral Partnership scheme has been reinvigorated and we’re looking for dealers keen to benefit from homelift referrals. Make the most from the investment Stiltz has made into press and TV advertising, and the increased awareness this has brought, to kick-start your post lockdown trading. “We’ve also settled into our new premises, and, as soon as possible, will be opening up our new technical training facility, where we will offer in-house training for our partners.

Through our range of mobility lift products and services, Higher Elevation changes lives and keeps customers mobile in their homes. As the business transitions towards a next normal, there are four action points that we are driving this summer to increase our customer satisfaction. 1. Investment to expand the team Higher Elevation are on a recruitment drive. With the addition of a new stairlift surveyor, stairlift engineer and an office sales coordinator, the existing team will have a chance to be promoted into new roles and support the new staff recruitments. 2. Driving technology Our talented surveyor recently developed a Stairlift Surveying app! This will transform our systems and ensure that each customer gets a timely, in-depth quotation. 3. Showroom expansion The showroom encourages visitors to test drive and see up close the diverse range of stairlifts to suit their needs. This summer, we are proud to demonstrate the new Flow X Stairlift by Access BDD in the showroom too. 4. Marketing drive The pandemic has reinforced the need to be more digital and agile in our decision making. A newly appointed marketing agency will help grow our reach online and showcase more examples of our work.


Peter Eckhardt

Ian Jones

Simon Fielden

CEO, Gainsborough Healthcare Group

Managing Director of Care & Independence

Director of Rahana Life

Gainsborough Healthcare Group has experienced exponential growth in all of its specialist trade sectors during the pandemic. The need for assisted bathroom solutions is higher than ever and with our unique anti-microbial technology, BioCote, we are investing in more production capacity as well as customer assessment services. “Simultaneously, we are preparing to launch the next wave of marketleading assistive bathing solutions across our four specialised divisions. Similarly, we are looking forward to introducing a new, strengthened brand profile to take our customer dialogue to the next level. “Crucially, from August 2021, Gainsborough Healthcare Group has been approved and certified as a NHS preferred supplier. This is a significant development for the business and I am hoping to add further strategic partnerships in the future. Our delivery of ‘life enhancing bathing’ continues to accelerate.

Like everyone else, we are looking forward to coming out of lockdown. Ours is a very ‘hands-on’ business, yet, whilst we have been providing remote support and sociallydistanced face-to-face appointments where necessary throughout, a personal approach with OTs and users is critical for us to deliver the quality of service and attention we are known for. “We have also maintained excellent stock quantities and lead-times over the past 12 months, but are now stepping up a gear in anticipation of restrictions lifting and product demand returning to pre-Covid levels. We are also turning our attention to the launch of an improved training programme to service OTs’ needs with sling clinics and online learning resources. “It’s a very exciting time for Care & Independence with a host of fabulous new products lined up for release across the year, so we are now considering how best to showcase these new items up close and personal through industry events and special launch preview meetings too. “We really can’t wait to get back out in the field and meet with customers old and new alike – we have a lot to share with everyone so watch this space!

Like many in the independent living sector, Rahana Life is looking forward to the significant easing of coronavirus restrictions, enabling health and social care professionals to return to more normal levels of activity, supporting the independence of our disabled clients. “That being said, coronavirus restrictions have provided us with an opportunity to rethink some of our working practices and we have developed new ways of working that can add real value as we move forward. “For instance, Rahana Life has developed a mobile arm support assessment kit that local services (e.g. rehabilitation centres, community therapy services, special schools) can use independently, knowing they have the full support of Rahana Life, but without the complications of coordinating visits. Remote training and ongoing assessment support will be provided as required. “The mobile arm supports provided in the assessment kits are not only useful for assessments, but also for longer trials with individual clients. Any additional specialist items that may be required to facilitate these trials can also be loaned from Rahana Life without the need for an additional visit. We currently have an introductory offer on assessment kits. Please contact Rahana Life for more details.

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LET’S GET IT CLEAR

Restraint, rest or support? Restraint, rest, or support? When should we use which and where? Let’s start with perhaps the easier part: rest versus support. REST VS SUPPORT On a chair, people still talk about back rests, arm rests, and so on. Ever since ISO 7176 part 26 was published in 20071, the term ‘rest’ has been deprecated, and the preferred terms have been back support, arm support, etc. The term ‘support’ has connotations of the device providing an active function, whereas ‘rest’ implies passivity. The support element of these devices is to help position a person into a more functional posture, whilst also coincidentally increasing the weight bearing surface area and thus potentially reducing the risks of tissue injury in the buttocks and sacral area. The term ‘support’ thus has subliminal implications of improving function and other potential benefits and therefore, when this term is used, a more appropriate solution is more

Dr Barend ter Haar has been involved in seating and mobility for over 30 years, including lecturing internationally and developing international seating and decontamination standards.

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Figure 1. Sling or canvas backs do not aid good posture.

likely to be offered to the client. A simple canvas backed wheelchair is only offering, at best, a rest behind the client, and is generally only providing a means to stop the client falling backwards out of the chair (Figure 1). We spend time selecting an appropriate cushion to cover the client’s needs under their thighs and buttocks, to place on top of the canvas base, but often ignore the support that the trunk needs from an appropriately prescribed back support. As we have covered in other articles in this series, the trunk has a vital role around many of our physiological functions, such as breathing, digestion, bladder control, etc. Proper support for the spine leads to a better posture – not only for these functions, but to get our heads into the optimal position for seeing, hearing, eating, and breathing. So let’s get away from the dis-service offered by a canvasbacked chair (unless for temporary use for transfer from say a house to a vehicle) and replace it by a proper back support! Considering the arm supports for a moment: they may provide

Different attachments around the body or around the mobility device have mixed use of terminology and confusion therein in their purpose, and as a result their application. The term ‘restraint’ has negative connotations, but there are many places where restraints confer a benefit to the client. This article reflects on where and when the terms ‘Rest’ or ‘Support’ may be more appropriate, and where ‘Restraints’ are relevant.

a degree of lateral support to the body and thus the distance from the trunk on either side will be of importance, and will in most cases be prescribed by the ‘width’ of the chair, or v.v. For arm supports to provide appropriate support, their height is extremely important: too high, and the client’s arms will stick out too far to the sides of the chair, and the client will be uncomfortable – and may lose some degree of functionality for eating or other instances where they need their hands. Too low, and not only will the client slip down into a lordotic spinal curve, but also there will be less opportunity for weight redistribution under the arms. Therefore, adjustable height supports should be prescribed. HEAD SUPPORT? The one area where any one of the three terms may be appropriate, is the device above the back support and behind the head. • It is a ‘restraint’ where provided, on the likes of a powerchair, to stop the head from being thrown back too far during rapid deceleration – in the same way that we have head restraints on our car seats. • It is a ‘rest’ where it is provided to catch the head when the seat is tilted back. • It is a ‘support’ where it is used to help to position the head – either as a head support or a neck support. The average adult head weighs about six kilograms and depends on


belts and postural management devices. The seat belts in your car or aircraft seats are there as restraints, so that in the ‘unlikely’ event of an accident, you are restrained in your seat, and not ending up head-butting the windscreen as the vehicle decelerates more quickly than your body. In summary: Wheelchair occupant restraint Figure 2. A Stealth Ultra provides subbelts are generic devices which occipital head support with an extra are used to restrain a wheelchair pad to provide lateral support occupant in the event of a vehicular its neck muscles to keep it upright collision (Figure 3). and steady. As the day progresses Wheelchair postural supports and fatigue sets in, sub-occipital support a person’s posture, or support behind the head, as a position in their wheelchair. These minimum, can help keep the head supports are not intended to be used in position. For those who need for, nor do they have the required more help, an extra lateral or anterostrength to be used as, occupant lateral pad near the top of the head restraints during vehicle transport may help to provide a third point of (Figure 4). control (Figure 2). (Just a word of Positioning supports shall not warning – where a head support is be used with the primary purpose used, ensure the client has a wellof restraint. The topic is covered adjusted pelvic positioning belt and more extensively in BS 86253. In this standard it points out: “If a anterior trunk harness in place to pelvic positioning support could be stop the client ‘hanging’ off the head perceived as a restraint, the decision supports.) to use the support shall be made by an interdisciplinary team, including POSITIONING BELTS carers, with the justification AND HARNESSES documented. The justification shall Positioning belts and harnesses show that appropriate thought was bring us to the area where the most given to alternative interventions, concerns tend to be expressed as including, but not limited to, to whether they are restraints. contracture management, tone Restraint is a term that has different management, and therapeutic meanings and connotations, intervention to address behavioural depending on the context of use. issues. Decisions shall, where For this reason, RESNA produced a practicable, be taken with the position paper2 to clarify the issue, in which the differences between consent of the occupant, in the best supports and restraints are covered, interests of the occupant to ensure as well as vehicular occupant safety and function. restraints, and protective restraints. Any desired outcome resulting Figure 2. A Stealth provides support with an extra pad tofrom provide lateral The firstUltra area to sub-occipital clarify head is the the limitation of movement support difference between vehicular safety shall also be documented (e.g. to

‘Let’s Get it Clear’ by Dr Barend ter Haar One in a series of occasional résumés of aspects in the world of posture and mobility where there are common misconceptions, and myths to be addressed, to help promote better practice. Further items can be found at www. beshealthcare.net. If you are interested in receiving further information on the topic, please contact: barend@beshealthcare.net

minimize the risk of falls). It shall also be documented where there is an aim to restrict movement in one part of the body, in order to facilitate greater function in another (e.g. fixation of the pelvis to improve postural stability).” Related to this topic could be the choice of buckle on a pelvic positioning belt. Depending on the client’s physical and/or their cognitive abilities, the ease of operation of the buckle comes into play – some are designed for easy release, but might therefore allow premature opening, while others may be more ‘fiddle-proof’, but might be more of a challenge for release in an emergency (see Annex C in BS 8625). In the RESNA document, the concept of ‘protective’ restraints is also covered: there are times when some degree of restraint may be appropriate to protect the client from harming themselves (e.g. as a result of uncontrolled movements) or their carers around them. 1 ISO 7176-26:2007, Wheelchairs – Part 26: Vocabulary.

Figure 3. A vehicular restraint belt stops the client from being thrown forward.

Figure 4. A pelvic positioning belt (in front of trochanter) provides postural control while optimising movement optimising movement and function and function.

2 REHABILITATION ENGINEERING AND ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA. RESNA Position on the application of wheelchairs, seating systems, and secondary supports for positioning vs restraint. RESNA: 2013.

Figure 3. A vehicular restraint belt stops the client from being thrown forward Figure 4. A pelvic positioning belt (in front of trochanter) provides postural control while

3 BS 8625:2019, Selection, placement and fixation of flexible postural support devices in seating – Specification.

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Buyers’ guide to scooters

Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider offering to customers

Vogue Sport/ Vogue XL mobility scooter from Monarch Mobility Monarch’s flagship Class 3 mobility scooter models, the Vogue Sport and Vogue XL are equipped with full suspension and a carry capacity of 25 stone on the sport and 32 stone for the XL, and each boast a range of 30 miles. With a solid build and durable parts, the scooter can cope easily with varying terrain while its 10/12-inch wheels and optional pneumatic tyres make for a smooth ride. Designed to meet Class 3 regulations, the Vogue range is available on the Motability Scheme and is ideal for anyone considering an 8mph road legal mobility scooter.

Cabin Car scooter from Scooterpac This Cabin Car scooter features a cosy interior heater, remote central locking, rear parking sensors and reversing camera, offering users complete freedom all-year-round. www.scooterpac.com

www.monarchmobility.com

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

iRide electric scooter from Pride Mobility

Alumina and Amulina Pro scooters from Motion Healthcare The Alumina range offers the innovation of both an aluminium chassis and lithium battery technology, making the scooters lightweight with a long range. The Alumina offers up to 15 miles range with a lightweight 4kg battery pack while the Alumina Pro goes even further, with a 30-mile range and only a 5kg battery pack. Both the Alumina and Alumina Pro are designed to be disassembled easily for transportation with the heaviest part weighing just 10kg. Both are also fitted with all-round suspension, giving an impressive ground clearance. The long and flat floorpan and adjustable tiller also allow generous leg room and the soft grip tiller handlebar and a larger-than- standard seat make for a comfortable ride. www.motionhealthcare.co.uk

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Small, compact and portable, the iRide is the lightest portable electric scooter in Pride’s line-up. This foldable electric scooter was designed to fit into any size vehicle and small storage areas. The iRide is equipped with an airline-safe lithium-ion battery pack. It is a portable lightweight travel solution that weighs in at only 21kg, inclusive of the batteries. The portable three-wheel scooter features an easy-to-read digital odometer, manual handbrake with supplemental footbrake for added safety, 113kg weight capacity, speeds up to 3.7mph and a twist-grip throttle. The scooter is available in a variety of colours. www.pride-mobility.co.uk

Rascal Veo Sport scooter from Electric Mobility The Rascal Veo Sport features all-round suspension and an easy and robust take-apart mechanism, 22Ah batteries and dual compound puncture proof tyres. A consistent best-seller within the Rascal range, the practical Veo Sport is a model loaded with features. A compact model built for the boot of a car, the Veo Sport embodies easygoing travel. It has a superb capacity for a scooter of its size, affording a range of up to 13.5 miles, plus a lightweight battery option of 14Ah. A two-tone matte finish in either aquamarine or platinum grey combined with white accent stitching make this the choice for style conscious customers looking to improve their mobility. www.electricmobility.co.uk


SMALL

COMPACT PORTABLE

The iRide is the lightest portable electric scooter in our line-up. This foldable electric scooter was designed to fit into any size vehicle and small storage areas. The iRide is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack which is airline and travel safe! This portable lightweight travel solution weighs in at only 21kg, inclusive of the batteries.

ONE SCOOTER, ENDLESS ADVENTURES! This portable 3-wheel scooter features an easy-to-read digital odometer, manual handbrake with a supplemental footbrake for added safety, 17 stone 12 lbs weight capacity, speeds up to 3.7 mph with a twist-grip throttle and has flight safe batteries. Available in a variety of colours, there’s something for every style.


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

ATTO Sport scooter by Movinglife New for 2021, the ATTO Sport offers all the safety and convenience features of the classic ATTO folding scooter, with extra performance and a contemporary race-inspired design. It folds and unfolds in 10 seconds and easily splits into two lightweight parts. The ATTO Sport fits any car trunk and has a flightapproved battery. It reaches a maximum speed of 6mph and has a maximum range of 18 miles. Other features include airless, PU shock-absorbing tyres, a front disc brake, programable LCD control panel and front and rear LED lights. www.movinglife.com

Rascal Vista scooter from Electric Mobility The compact Vista is a mid-size 4mph transportable scooter that is ideal for longer, more comfortable days out. It features full suspension, a comfortable seat, generous turning manoeuvrability, and quickrelease features as it dismantles into six parts. Customers can be offered the option of solid tyres or pneumatic tyres at no extra cost. The convenient off-board charger is available as standard for the split 35Ah battery pack. Sturdy enough for long adventures yet small enough to nip around town, the Vista can suit a variety of user needs with its lightweight yet robust feel. High resolution photograph is available to support digital sales. www.electricmobility.co.uk

ATTO Sport Max by Movinglife Also new for 2021, the augmented ‘max’ model of the ATTO Sport was built to sustain a larger build and safely transport up to 136kg. Featuring a race-inspired design, the scooter folds and unfolds in 10 seconds and easily splits into two lightweight parts. The scooter fits any car trunk and has a flightapproved battery. It carries users up to 136kg. The maximum speed of the scooter is 5mph with a maximum range of 16 miles. It has airless shockabsorbing tyres, front disc brake, programable LCD control panel with front and rear LED lights. www.movinglife.com

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Rascal Pioneer scooter from Electric Mobility The powerful motor and full coil suspension make the Pioneer an ideal performance scooter for more challenging environments. Designed for journeys up to 35 miles with a maximum user weight limit of up to 25 stone, the Pioneer is a reliable and comfortable 8mph scooter. Large shock-absorbing tyres offer maximum comfort on the move and the Class 3 scooter’s robust frame encourages a feeling of safety and security when driving on a road – ideal for customers transitioning from a car to a mobility scooter. Its front basket and optional rear top box make essential trips to the shops more manageable for complete independence. It is available in black or red with a front bumper and two rear view mirrors.

Maximo Plus scooter from TGA Offering the best of both worlds, the TGA Maximo Plus offers compact folding practicality with full-size scooter comfort. Once the seat is removed, the Maximo Plus can be folded in one movement for easy storage. When unfolded, the scooter offers comfort thanks to its large, padded seat and because of its LED lights, indicators and rear-view mirror, can be taken on the road. In addition, the Maximo Plus has a range of up to 12 miles, a user weight of up to 21 stone and a speed of up to 6mph. www.tgamobility.co.uk

www.electricmobility.co.uk

NEW

ICON 35 LX LIGHT & COMPACT

 The all-new ICON 35 LX transport wheelchair, weighs just 9.0 kg and has a maximum weight capacity of 125 kg  Enhanced ergonomic seating, backrest support and height adjustable armrests provide superb levels of comfort  Simple to fold with integrated carry handle for transportation

Rehasense UK +44 (0) 0333 220 0704 ICON 35 LX LUXURY EDITION IN ICE BLUE

ukadmin@rehasense.com www.rehasense.co.uk


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Easy Rider scooter from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare The striking Easy Rider offers precise handling with its easy-touse LED controls, twin dial digital dash and twin adjustable rear-view mirrors for extra visibility. Reaching a top speed of 8mph and a maximum range of 31 miles on full battery charge, the scooter features a throttle lever with automatic safebraking system and an additional handbrake. Its telescopic front motorbike suspension assists with optimal handling. Other features include a trip computer with odometer for measuring distance travelled, motorbike-style wheels, rear bumper, a large seat back storage pocket and lap belt.

The scooter boasts excellent manoeuvrability and a small turning circle. It has a weight capacity of 180kg. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

Kensington scooter from Freerider The Kensington scooter offers allround suspension, a fully adjustable captain’s seat and user-friendly controls. This practical Class 3 scooter lends itself perfectly to a full day in the driving seat whether it be cruising on the road or eating up the pavement miles. The ‘no-nonsense’ design and platform that is more saloon than sporty has made this one of the bestselling scooters on offer, according to Freerider. It has a range of up to 35 miles when fitted with 50Ah batteries.

eDrive scooter from Motion Healthcare The eDrive is a travelfriendly scooter that quickly folds itself into a small manageable shape in one smooth movement at the press of a button on the key fob and unfolds just as quick. Once in the boot, the revolutionary removable battery pack allows the user to slide out the lightweight lithium battery pack to charge indoors. Despite its compact shape, the eDrive offers plenty of comfort and stability with large wheels, an impressive ground clearance and plenty of leg room, with a weight limit of 21 stone.

www.freeridernetwork.co.uk www.motionhealthcare.co.uk

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Agility scooter from Kymco Healthcare

Lithilite and Lithilite Pro scooters from Motion Healthcare The Lithilite range adds innovative lithium battery technology to its high-quality, tried and tested design. The scooter offers up to 15 miles range with a lightweight 4kg battery pack. The Lithilite Pro goes even further, with a 30mile range and only a 5kg battery pack. A smaller battery pack is also available which complies with the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations for air travel. Both the Lithilite and Lithilite Pro can be disassembled easily for transportation and are fitted with all-round suspension, giving an impressive ground clearance. The long and flat floorpan and adjustable tiller also allow generous leg room and the soft grip tiller handlebar make for a comfortable ride. www.motionhealthcare.co.uk

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This midi-type scooter includes automotive technologies and advanced features. Its waterproof backlit LCD dashboard comes with full odometer functionality and its soft touch illuminated waterproof control switches and premium delta handlebars are easy to use and comfortable. The scooter features bespoke alloy wheels with low profile pneumatic tyres for extra comfort. There is also a modesty leg-shield with storage, 12v /24w power socket and a soft independent suspension system. The scooter offers a powerful motor performance with a 5.4-inch ground clearance, making it ideal for driving on tougher uneven terrain. It is available in five metallic colours; red, black, mink, bronze and blue.

www.kymcohealthcare.com

Auto Folding Dual Wheel scooter from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare A dual front wheel of this scooter offers enhanced stability, while retaining the excellent functionality of the original scooters. This scooter can be easily folded and unfolded by remote within 20 seconds, providing a quick and easy transport solution for users on the go. This model is available in three attractive colour options and comes with a padded carry bag to protect the scooter in transit.

The scooter boasts 8-inch silver wheels on the rear, 6-inch front dual wheels and reaches a top speed of 4mph, with a maximum range of six miles. Auto speed reduction on bends and ground clearance of 17mm aids manoeuvrability. The scooter also conveniently comes with airline-friendly batteries and has a 115kg maximum weight capacity. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk


Breeze Midi 4 scooter from TGA With a front and rear lockable box and convenient features such as cup holders and a USB port, the TGA Breeze Midi 4 could almost describe the larger Breeze S range if it weren’t for its compact frame. Ideal for those wanting to tackle rougher terrain while requiring something compact enough to nip around town, the Breeze Midi 4 boasts full suspension, adjustable tiller and pneumatic tyres for all-day comfort. Other features include a range of up to 30 miles, intuitive controls, a front LED light and a user weight of up to 23.5 stone. www.tgamobility.co.uk

Freerider Landranger XL8 scooter from Freerider

ATTO scooter by Movinglife This stylish foldable scooter is a smart and safe solution for customers with limited mobility. ATTO empowers the customer to move and travel independently, while giving them the confidence that comes with a great-looking vehicle. The scooter folds and unfolds in 10 seconds, easily splits into two lightweight parts and fits any car trunk. It has a flight-approved battery and reaches a maximum speed of 3.7mph and a maximum range of 12 miles. The scooter has airless, flatfree tyres.

With high ground clearance and a 30-stone user weight capacity, the Landranger XL8 is Freerider’s 8mph all-terrain heavyweight scooter. It is versatile in tackling landscape, from country tracks to city streets and the front double wishbone and rear shock absorber suspension can handle a lot of pressure. A long, wide wheelbase (the longest and widest of all the Freerider offerings) ensures a robust, sturdy ride while the twin 100Ah batteries and 950-watt motor provide a drivetrain to back up the off-road credentials. www.freeridernetwork.co.uk

www.movinglife.com

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Spring 8 mobility scooter from Monarch Mobility

Apex Alumalite travel scooter from Pride Mobility

Another flagship Class 3 model, the Sprint 8 mobility scooter is equipped with full suspension and a carry capacity of 25 stone. It also provides a good range of 25 miles. With its solid build and durable parts, this premium scooter can cope easily with varying terrain while its 12-inch pneumatic tyres and captain’s seat make for a smooth ride. Designed to meet Class 3 regulations, the Sprint 8 is road-ready and available on the Motability Scheme. This reliable device would suit anyone considering an 8mph road legal mobility scooter. www.monarchmobility.com

The Apex Alumalite is a lightweight, compact travel scooter designed for convenience and ease. The Apex Alumalite has an aluminium frame giving it an overall weight of 28.8kg without batteries. This lightweight scooter can be disassembled into five pieces and has flight-safe batteries, making it the perfect travel companion. Stylish and practical, the Alumalite has 8-inch alloy style wheels and an easyto-grip tiller adjustment knob. www.pride-mobility.co.uk

AutoFold Elite Scooter from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare The new AutoFold Elite claims to be the first in its class of remote auto-folding pavement scooters to feature shock absorbing front and rear suspension. It offers new comfort delta bar operation, LED front headlight and a USB charging port. The scooter comes in a metallic silver finish with silver wheel hubs and puncture-proof PU tyres. Its digital LCD screen displays speed, battery power, travel time and mileage. The scooter, which comes with a lithium-ion airlinefriendly battery, conveniently folds or unfolds within 15 seconds using the remote control or buttons on the dashboard. It is lightweight, weighing 27kg, and reaches a top speed of 4mph with a maximum range of 9.3 miles. The scooter manages a weight capacity of 125kg. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

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Komfy 4 and Komfy 8 mobility scooters from Kymco Healthcare

mLite from Motion Healthcare The mLite weighs 17.8kg, making it the lightest folding mobility scooter on the UK market, according to Motion. The lithium battery pack weighs 1.85kg and offers the option of both on- or off-board charging. Using a quick and simple sliding mechanism, the mLite offers a comfortable spacious ride when unfolded but is still compact when folded. This allows it to fit in any car boot or the rear footwell of most cars. The extendable handle offers the ability to easily manoeuvre when folded, making it easy to transport. Despite its compact size, the mLite has an 18-stone weight limit and a powerful motor. The extra soft compound solid tyres and soft rubber seat also provide a high level of comfort. www.motionhealthcare.co.uk

These mid-size mobility scooters offer users manoeuvrability, ergonomic comfort, performance and ease of use. Komfy scooters come in 4mph and 8mph versions. Both versions come packed with features. The scooters offer wrap-around delta-type type handlebars and an easy-to-read soft touch dashboard. The 45Ah batteries provide superior travel range. The Komfy 4 reaches 25 miles, while the Komfy 8 reaches 20 miles. The fully adjustable comfort suspension system provides an exceptional ride quality. There is also a reclining comfort captain seat, a USB charging point for mobile device charging and a high-power 500-watt motor. The range comes in four metallic colours: blue, red, silver and black. www.kymcohealthcare.com

Landranger S HD scooter from Freerider A solid, lightweight scooter, ‘HD’ stands for ‘heavy duty’ and the smaller stablemate of the XL8 claims to deliver this in spades. This workhorse has a huge maximum user weight capacity of 35 stone, packed into a more compact frame. The shorter stature of a 55-inch footprint makes for increased manoeuvrability, with a turning radius of 62 inches. Its 12.5-inch puncture proof tyres offer five inches of ground clearance. These features ensure the user won’t have any problem tackling obstacles thrown up on the road or pavement. www.freeridernetwork.co.uk

ZT10 scooter from Pride Mobility The ZT is the latest addition to the Zero Turn range of mobility scooters featuring iTurn technology. This feature-rich scooter has a three-speed control, giving users the power to adjust their speed when moving from indoor to outdoor driving. The USB charger is conveniently placed directly under the delta tiller for recharging smartphones or other

portable electronic devices. Along with these standard features, the Zero Turn 10 has a 181kg weight capacity, a 43-inch turning radius, a convenient battery charger port for quick access for hassle-free charging, and a full LED lighting package. Its powerful dual motors and two-wheel drive offers aggressive traction, easily tackling rugged terrain.

www.pride-mobility.co.uk

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

K-Lite F and K-Lite FE scooters from Kymco Healthcare These compact lightweight scooters incorporate the latest technologies in materials, electronics, folding mechanisms and safety systems. They fold to a compact manageable size and can be easily stored in cupboards, car boots etc. The 1.64kg lightweight lithium battery box can be easily removed for off-board charging. The battery box can also be removed when the scooter is completely folded. Features include a key fob remote and on-board controls, with a tamper-proof lock/unlock functions for extra safe folding. There is an under-seat shopping bag included as standard, easy-to-reach front and rear zipper access. The scooter also has a removable swing-back height, width-adjustable armrests, height-adjustable handlebar position and a folding removable seat. www.kymcohealthcare.com

Vita Lite scooter from TGA TGA’s Vita range brings a unique style to mobility scooter design and the Vita Lite is no exception. The model is available in titanium silver metallic and ruby red metallic, has five-spoke alloy wheels and Vita-style tiller to stand out from the mid-size crowd. Although smaller in size than the Vita E, Vita S and Vita X, the Vita Lite doesn’t compromise on practicality with an illuminated digital display, mono-shock rear suspension (with independent suspension at the front) and a fully adjustable rotating seat. The Vita Lite has a range of up to 16 miles, a user weight of up to 21 stone and a speed of 6mph. www.tgamobility.co.uk

Mini 4/Mini 4 Plus mobility scooter from Monarch Mobility The Mini 4 and Mini 4 Plus mobility scooters offer a slimline frame, making them great to use on public walkways and paths. The scooter’s unique quickrelease assembly allows the unit to easily be placed within a car boot, which is ideal for regular travellers. Performance-wise, the Mini 4 and Mini 4 Plus can achieve a top speed of 4mph, with a battery range of up to 12.4 miles on the Mini 4 and 18.6 miles on the Mini 4 Plus. Designed to meet Class 2 regulations, the Mini 4 range is available on the Motability Scheme. www.monarchmobility.com

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A FIXED RATE INSURANCE PACKAGE

RETAILER ESSENTIALS Exclusive to Retail Members of the BHTA

COVER INCLUDES ✔ ✔ ✔

Material Damage Business Interruption Employers, Public & Products Liability

Option 1: Excluding Employers Liability - £224 including 12% Insurance Premium Tax

Option 2: Including Employers Liability - £280 including 12% Insurance Premium Tax

REQUEST INFORMATION For more information on our insurance packages, please contact Stephen Aldridge - our Client Director who has worked with BHTA’s members for many years. E: stephen.aldridge@verlingue.co.uk T: +44 (0) 208 282 8595 W: www.verlingue.co.uk

Cover provided by Markel (UK) Ltd

ABOUT US Verlingue is the approved insurance broker for the BHTA insurance scheme, which is available exclusively to BHTA Members. We are part of the Verlingue Group, one of Europe’s largest independent insurance brokers, employing over 1,100 people and placing premiums in excess of €2 billion.

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority


RECRUITMENT

Marketing Campaigns Manager The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is searching for an experienced Marketing Campaigns Manager to join its expanding marketing and communications team. Location: Based from home (requirement to travel to Solihull office one/two days a week) Reporting to: Head of Communications and Marketing Starting salary: £27,000 to £32,000 per annum (depending on experience) JOB DESCRIPTION This is a fantastic opportunity for a talented and ambitious Marketing Campaigns Manager to join this growing team and deliver campaigns that will educate and engage audiences nationally. The successful candidate will be responsible for the planning and implementation of numerous campaigns, aimed at engaging key target audiences across multiple touchpoints – with a significant focus on digital. Reporting directly to the Head of Marketing and Communications, the individual will coordinate with the BHTA’s media subsidiary, BHTA Engage, as well as its 400+ member companies, affiliate partners, wider BHTA team, and third-party vendors, to maximise the reach and effectiveness of campaigns. COMPANY DESCRIPTION With over 100 years of heritage, the BHTA is a leading trade association in the healthcare industry, representing the needs and providing support to over 400 member companies, while championing consumer safety. The organisation operates across 12 key sections of healthcare and assistive technology, working to ensure the ethical provision of equipment and services to consumers, and raising standards within the industry. At the heart of the association is its Code of Practice, which all members agree to adhere to, helping ensure the best outcomes for consumers.

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ROLE SPECIFICS • Plan, execute, monitor, and measure multiple marketing campaigns • Create engaging content for online and offline channels • Map out user journeys and help implement marketing automation • Measure and optimise campaign performance using data and analytics • Liaise with third party vendors, including creative agency • Coordinate closely with the BHTA’s media and publishing subsidiary • Engage with the Association’s 400+ member companies, and affiliate partners KEY SKILLS • Confidence to take ownership of campaigns and use initiative to optimise results • Attention to detail and strong command of English language • Ability to work to deadlines and under pressure • Exquisite time management to deliver and monitor multiple campaigns • A dedication to excellence • Creatively minded to find new ways to effectively engage audiences • Team player with an ability to work with, and secure buy-in, from multiple constituencies EXPERIENCE Essential • Minimum three years of proven success in a marketing or communications role • Must have experience using CRMs, ideally in membership organisations Desired • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in marketing or related field • Experience working within a

membership organisation • Experience of the health and social care industry • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite, Wordpress, Mailchimp, Monday.com, SurveyMonkey COVID-19 CONSIDERATIONS The role will be based from home, but will require the successful candidate to travel into the organisation’s Solihull office one to two days a week PACKAGE DESCRIPTION • Mixed office/home working, negotiable • A supportive and friendly working environment • A competitive not-for-profit sector salary • Contributory pension scheme • 28 days annual leave (includes 3 days Christmas office closure), plus bank holidays • Access to BHTA Advantage scheme – discounts from a range of companies • On-going professional development opportunities • Casual dress (excluding business meetings or representation at events/conferences) APPLYING FOR THIS POST To apply for this post, please email your current CV and a covering letter or email outlining any further information you think is relevant to the role to marketing@bhta.com The closing date for receipt of applications is 17:00 on Monday, 16 April 2021. If you do not hear from us within two weeks of the closing date for applications, you should assume that in this instance your application has been unsuccessful. BHTA endeavours to be an equal opportunities organisation. We look forward to receiving an application from you.


The updated Blazer has a number of user friendly upgrades and is now even narrower than before. It is still available with either a Sling or Captain seat and a variety of accessories.

Blazer Captain

Blazer Sling

Manual Recline No Tilt-in-Space Captain Sitting Nominal Seat Width (inch): 18 / 20

Tilt-in-Space/ Standard Seat Sling Sitting Adjustable Seat Depth Manual Stepless Recline Nominal Seat Width (inch): 17 / 19 / 20


ENRICH EVERY DAY

The Breeze Midi range – all the features you’ve come to expect from the Breeze range, made compact. With full suspension and a range of up to 30 miles, the Breeze Midi 3 and Breeze Midi 4 are agile three and four-wheel scooters equally at home in urban or more rural environments. To enquire about the Breeze Midi range

Call 01787 888 106

or email trade.sales@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THSA21

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THIIS April 2021  

As the sun starts to shine after a difficult, COVID-dominated winter, THIIS' April issue looks to what the warmer months hold for the indust...

THIIS April 2021  

As the sun starts to shine after a difficult, COVID-dominated winter, THIIS' April issue looks to what the warmer months hold for the indust...

Profile for thiis