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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 257 • February 2020

THIIS Issue 257 February 2020


Finding success by providing access Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Two specialist stairlift and access companies from different parts of the country share the ups and downs of their experiences in the market




TVM Cheltenham

Dolphin Lifts Midlands


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…from the editor

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

The end of an era.


t the end of January, DHAIS confirmed that it had temporarily closed its remaining Hearing and Mobility stores and had appointed Grant Thornton as administrators.​ The announcement will not come as shock to those who have followed DHAIS’ gradual reduction of its mobility division over the last few years, closing and selling a number of its stores. It does, however, mark the end of an ambitious attempt to create a mobility and hearing retail concept to emulate giants such as Boots and Specsavers. The plan failed to fully come to fruition but DHAIS’ effort was impressive. The end of its bid to dominate the mobility retail market does highlight just how much the mobility sector has changed in the 12 years since DHAIS entered retail. Now a bustling and competitive marketplace, the industry is filled with larger mobility retailers working on their own national ambitions, alongside smaller dealers carving out their place in their local area through exceptional customer service and community engagement. What the end of DHAIS reinforces is the importance of having a clearly defined retail proposition that chimes with the evolving needs and wants of customers. Two mobility companies that have successfully managed to do this for decades are TVM Cheltenham and Dolphin Lifts Midlands. In this issue, both companies’ bosses speak to THIIS about the challenges they have faced and the challenges that face in the mobility and access sector today. One of the biggest changes that has come to pass over the last 12 years is the explosion in social media usage as well. Five mobility retail marketing experts discuss social media as a marketing tool for dealers – is it as important as it is often hyped up to be or is it a waste of time? THIIS is always interested in the latest news and views to share with professionals in the sector. If you have any news or thoughts on an industry topic, we are just an email or a phone call away and would urge you to get in touch.


Calvin Barnett 01933 278086 newsroom@thiis.co.uk


Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 joe.fahy@bhtaengage.com

Calvin Barnett Editor


Sarah Sarsby sarah@thiis.co.uk

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THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, 2-4 Meadow Close, Ise Valley Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4BH • 01933 278 086 • newsroom@thiis.co.uk 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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12 Making a splash in the stairlift sector

Features 6 Conquering Everest 8 Motability Awards 32 In hot water

Regulars 10 Trade talk… 40 From a sports car to a specialist business

20 THIIS time last year 22 Buyers Guide to… 36 Let’s get it clear 48 Retailers’ Product of

48 Retailers’ Picks

the Month 54 The OT’s Perspective 56 New to the market 59 Recruitment 4 | www.thiis.co.uk

54 The right choice

10 Trade talk

CONQUERING EVEREST Three mobility and access companies have been named as the final winners of Handicare’s Everest Challenge, walking away with valuable rewards.


dapted Living, Mountfield Services and Mobility Solutions South won in October, November and December respectively, having sold a sufficient number of Handicare’s latest 1100 straight stairlift to be entered into the competition. Announced at the supplier’s annual Dealer Day, the Everest Challenge was an innovative scheme designed to incentivise Handicare’s trade partners with the chance to win desirable prizes for the more units they sold. Each time a mobility dealer secured 10 orders of the slimline stairlift model, the company received one entry into a prize draw, with partners increasing their chance with each entry. Praising the reward programme, Tony Kennedy, Owner of Adapted Living, commented: “Winning the latest Everest Challenge prize is a nice bonus and helps us to really feel a valued part of the Handicare family.” The prize win for Essex-based Mountfield Services in November was the cherry on top of what was a successful year for the company, reporting that its stairlift sales almost doubled over the last 12 months. Lee Anderson, son of the company’s founder, attributed the growth to Mountfield Services’ commitment to building strong relationships with OTs, as well as Handicare’s range. “We’re proud to be a Handicare partner and have been with them since our business started back in

November’s winner Mountfield Services

6 | www.thiis.co.uk

October’s winner Adapted Living

1996,” he said. “We were involved with the field trials for their newest straight stairlift, the 1100, at the start of the year and find its friction-drive technology is very popular, particularly with OTs. They love the fact that there’s no tooth-rack and grease, plus it’s quiet and a very slim rail making it great for a large variety of staircases.” Echoing Mountfield Services’ success, Mobility Solutions South’s prize win came on the back of a particularly successful 12 months, with business partners Michael Schacht and Peter Chandler highlighting that the company’s stairlift sales doubled. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in January 2020, the company noted that being able to hold the new Handicare model in stock and quickly

December’s winner Mobility Solutions South

respond to customers has played a key role in the recent stairlift growth. “Our showroom has an 1100 model which has gone down very well with customers and OTs,” commented Michael. “We now hold about 10 in stock and have been able to respond very quickly to customer enquiries, with virtually next day installs, thanks to it being non-handed. It’s absolutely ideal, particularly for the local authority work we do.” Since launching the product earlier in the year, the 1100 has quickly proven popular amongst the trade, including being selected as a THIIS Product of the Year 2019. “We’re grateful to Lee, Tony and Michael for the work they’ve done with us on product trials as well as the feedback from our wider dealer network since the official launch of the 1100. Their support has been fantastic,” said Jason Skelding, Handicare’s UK Trade Sales Manager. “The Everest Challenge helped us generate a real buzz around the launch and many of the winners commented on how it made them feel appreciated.” www.handicare.co.uk

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MOTABILITY’S AWARDWINNING MOBILITY RETAILERS Nine mobility retailers across the UK have been recognised for providing outstanding levels of customer service in the Motability Scheme’s 2020 Awards.

More customers use Motability Motability has confirmed that the number of customers leasing a powered wheelchair or scooter has grown to 17,000, whilst 633,000 customers are leasing cars through the scheme. The growth comes as more Motability customers are transitioned from DLA to PIP, with 102,000 former DLA customers losing Motability eligibility following PIP reassessments.


aking place annually, the awards are based on direct feedback from customers of the scheme, with mobility dealers split across three categories: large, medium and small. “One of the main aims of the Motability Powered Wheelchair and Scooter Scheme is to deliver exceptional service to our customers, and these dealerships demonstrate excellent customer service day in, day out,” commented Ian Goswell, Commercial Services Director, Motability Operations.

“We take great pride in working with these award-winning dealers; they’re the face of the Motability Scheme to so many customers, and it’s fantastic to see their continued dedication.” According to Motability Operations, the company that operates the lease scheme on behalf of Motability the Charity, all winning and commended dealerships in the large and medium

Large category

Medium category (fleet size between 100-200)

(fleet size between 35-100)

WINNER Charterwood Mobility

WINNER Mobility Direct N. Ireland

WINNER Beechwood Mobility

COMMENDED Hearing & Mobility Seacroft Mobility

COMMENDED True Mobility Altonaids Mobility

COMMENDED North East Mobility Solutions Cornwall Mobility Centre

(fleet size over 200)

8 | www.thiis.co.uk

categories impressively scored 9.8 or over. Amazingly, the winning and commended dealerships in the small category achieved a clean sweep of 10 out of 10.

Small category



trade talk

TRADE TALK Q&A WITH PAUL STOCKDILL, UK SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR HANDICARE CONGRATULATIONS ON THE PROMOTION TO UK SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR. CAN YOU OUTLINE WHAT YOUR NEW ROLE WILL ENTAIL? I am excited to be the commercial lead for the UK heading up a new senior management team which now has overarching responsibility for all our sales channels: trade, government and direct. One of my key priorities is exploring new business opportunities across all three channels. WHAT DOES THE CHANGE TO THE UK COMMERCIAL TEAM MEAN FOR DEALERS - WILL THEY SEE ANY CHANGES IN THE WAY THEY WORK WITH HANDICARE? It’s very much business as usual and we don’t foresee any changes for dealers. What we do hope to see is increased clarity and transparency which will ultimately ensure that a Handicare stairlift is the number one choice for all our partners. AT THE 2018 DEALER DAY, THE BIG PUSH WAS ON ‘ONE FAMILY’ AND ADDRESSING DEALER CONCERNS REGARDING COMPANION. HOW DO DEALERS FEEL ABOUT COMPANION NOW? The barriers are definitely coming down! There’s no denying there are some dealers who will always see

10 | www.thiis.co.uk

Companion as the competition, but there are definitely more who are open to working closely with us through the commercial training we offer. These dealers have seen increased sales as a result of this. We know that other manufacturers would never be as open to working with dealers as we are. Our “One Family” approach is working well for all of us. WHAT DOES ‘ONE FAMILY’ MEAN TO YOU? When I first joined Handicare, all the different sales channels were focused on their individual goals and in some cases even working against each other. Now we’re very much a team, working for a shared goal. It’s made a huge difference and reminds us all to keep focused on making sure Handicare is the number one choice of stairlift across all our channels. DID YOU SEE MANY DEALERS TAKE UP THE COMPANION OFFER TO SWAP BEST PRACTICE AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING? We’ve been really pleased with interest and continue to work with partners on the commercial training which is achieving some great results. Ultimately, it’s all about helping dealers to be the best they can be.

We had four new ‘recruits’ last year, and we’re also providing ongoing support to the six dealers who signed up two years ago. Feedback continues to be very positive. YOU INTRODUCED THE ‘PRESTIGE’ LEVEL TO THE DEALER PROGRAM LAST YEAR - HOW WELL HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED? Really well. Dealers appreciate our efforts to add value where we can, and the Prestige level has opened up opportunities for closer collaboration on field trials and product innovations. We’re always listening to our dealers and feel this partnership approach has been very well received. It’s given them something over and above the financial incentives. WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO SEE HANDICARE IN 12 MONTHS’ TIME? We’re continuing on our path to be the UK market leader and improving the customer journey across all our sales channels. Ideally, I’d like to see Handicare being the automatic choice, and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to make this happen by the end of 2020. Together we’re making fantastic progress and we remain focused on delivering profitable growth across all our “One Family”.

Proud of what you have to say about our 1100!


We love the innovations Handicare continually brings to our marketplace. Their 1100 stairlift is a great example of a game-changing product which has helped us drive growth and profits. It allows us to respond quickly from stock rather than waiting for deliveries. It puts us in control. Lee Anderson, Mountfields

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

retailer spotlight

With its growing fleet, Dolphin Lifts Midlands is now one of the largest stairlift specialists in the West Midlands


A RISING FORCE IN THE STAIRLIFT MARKET Having recently moved to its modern new premises, multi-awardwinning mobility and access specialist Dolphin Lifts Midlands is leading the charge in the rapid and much-desired professionalisation of the sector. Keen to learn more about the ambitious company, THIIS caught up with Managing Director Lee Farrington and General Manager Steve Wilson to find out about the ups and downs of running one of the Midlands’ largest stairlift companies. 12 | www.thiis.co.uk

EXPANDING TO A NEW HEADQUARTERS Covering a large swathe of the West Midlands, Dolphin Lifts Midlands has been supplying, installing, repairing and maintaining a range of stairlifts, through-floor-lifts, bathlifts and hoists, as well as housing adaptations, to the private and public sector for over three decades. Now in its second generation of Farrington ownership, the family-run company was first purchased by Lee’s father in 2007 at the age of 57, having worked for Handicare prior to that. “When Dad took over Dolphin, we were operating from a tiny facility,” explained Lee. “Gradually, we grew the business and moved to a larger facility and from there, continued getting bigger and moved again to a larger premises that we bought on Oldbury Road, West Bromwich.” Continuing to grow organically as it won more contracts in the region, alongside building its private client base, Dolphin Lift Midlands made the move to its latest facility in late autumn 2019. Featuring new offices, a modern meeting space, a purpose-built showroom and a substantial 9,000 sq ft warehouse, the headquarters are home exclusively to Dolphin Lift Midlands’ stairlift and access business, with its building business remaining in its Oldbury Road facility. “We naturally outgrew the space we were in as the company has grown,” reflected Lee. “Work-wise, the move to the new facility has been great, particularly in terms of space. It means smoother operations and the atmosphere is better as well, which is a big thing.” SPACE FOR SPARES Responsible for a number of local authority contracts, Dolphin Lifts Midlands’ Steve Wilson explained why the larger warehouse and larger facility is essential for the company to successfully continue to deliver its contractual obligations. “When we win service contracts, it is up to us to hold the spares,” he highlighted.

“As we are an independent dealer, we can deal with any lift available, which means we have a portfolio of 80 plus different lifts. It means we hold spares for well over 80 models of stairlifts, spanning 30 years.” For companies specialising in the servicing and maintenance of lifts, the ability to hold and quickly access spares for models that are sometimes no longer in production from manufacturers that no longer exist is essential for keeping vital contracts and keeping vulnerable clients safe and mobile, the pair pointed out. “Some stairlifts can be made of thousands of parts when broken down into their individual components, so it means keeping hold of and cataloguing all those parts can be a challenge but it is vital

customers,” he commented. “We have a nice new big showroom displaying a good selection of different models where we invite private customers, occupational therapists and contract holders in to see our operations and attend educational sessions and workshops.” Offering training and workshops is central to how the company delivers its public sector contracts, with the pair highlighting that as an independent stairlift provider they often receive requests from Social Services OTs asking for training as there are so many stairlifts on the market. “When we win new contracts, the first thing we look to do is try to engage with OTs to go through our extensive portfolio of products,”

“A lot of people fail to understand that stairlifts are less about the stairs and more about the individual who needs to use it.” STEVE WILSON

so having the additional warehouse space is important,” said Lee. “For example, we recently had a fault on a 20-year-old stairlift where the capacitor blew. Getting hold of that part new would be nigh on impossible now; fortunately, we had one available from a different model which we had taken out previously. “It’s important that we have that availability and means we have to be organised when it comes to storing all these parts, so it is a good thing my mother-in-law is in charge of that – nobody can touch any of the parts without first going through her!” A LESSON IN LIFTS In addition to providing the company more space to run its business, a key reason behind the expansion decision was the ability to cater more for private customers and OTs, according to Steve. “It means we have a lot more capability to engage more with

continued Steve. “The problem is, over time, a lot of contracts are won by manufacturers and therefore the OT’s working for that council may only have an indepth knowledge of one make. “There is actually a massive amount of choice available to them so we believe it is essential to invest the time to educate them about the benefits and the features of each one.” According to Steve, this is why Dolphin Lifts Midlands works hard in developing relationships with OTs as soon as possible through its demonstrations and workshops. “OTs can happily come into our environment, look at a range of lifts and options, try them out, really get hands-on with the products and understand the differences in models,” added Lee. “It also means we can get to know the customers’ and OTs’ needs more and how to service them, so we can offer another level to our customer

www.thiis.co.uk | 13

retailer spotlight service.” With OTs often having wide and varied caseloads covering a range of areas, Steve noted that it is all the more important for the company to have a good working relationship with the OTs in the contracts it works with. “OTs have an extremely in-depth amount of clinical knowledge but when it comes to just stairlifts and the differences in the products, that is where we can help bring in our expertise,” he said. “For us, we concentrate on our activities educating OTs, alongside making sure we know what products and solutions are in the market because we are able to choose which products to use, so if something is better and more reliable, we will look at it.” Stressing that the company never dives headfirst in with a new product, Lee underlined that Dolphin Lifts Midlands always field test products for a long time and introduces them slowly, ensuring the reliability of a range. “Our setup allows us to do that whilst a lot of others can’t,” he noted. “It’s definitely one of our USPs. It gives us the freedom to choose what we carry, so if a lift has a reliability problem, we do not have to keep working with it.” THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONALISM Speaking with Steve, he emphasised that the new facility also acts as a showpiece for the company to potential clients, showcasing the West Midlands’ organisation in the right light when customers come to visit. “It has put us on a more professional level and really shows the kind of professional organisation that we are, which is extremely important in this industry as we work with vulnerable people. It is important that people can come in, have a look at us and see who we are as a company,” he commented. “It is something we encourage people to do as there are good and bad companies out there, particularly on the private side of the market. “There are not many companies out

14 | www.thiis.co.uk

General Manager Steve Wilson, Office Manager Bev Turner, MD Lee Farrington and Compliance Manager Teresa Farrington

there at the moment that have the facilities we have to do that and I think that makes a big difference because it helps the customer to trust who we are.” Lamenting the lack of professionalism still seen in the industry, Lee warned that as the market continues to grow, so to do the dangers of products being installed for vulnerable customers by those lacking the knowledge and experience needed to ensure safety. A key area fuelling this is the second-hand market, according to the stairlift specialists. “The industry is growing, unquestionably,” said Lee. “The baby boomers are getting older and it is their children and family members who are looking for solutions for them and this will really only continue. “This is leading to a big secondhand market, particularly online on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace where people are getting hold of the products and either installing lifts themselves or calling companies such as ours to go out and install the products they have brought online.” SECOND-HAND CONCERNS Stating that its engineers will not fit products purchased from online marketplaces by customers, the West Midlands lift company’s general manager says the number of calls

it receives requesting the service is constantly on the rise. “eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are becoming more and more popular for stairlifts but people do not know what they are buying,” cautioned Steve. “A lot of people fail to understand that stairlifts are less about the stairs and more about the individual who needs to use it.” Stating that stairlifts are 75 per cent about the person and 25 per cent about the stairs, Steve highlighted that whilst the device might be able to get up and down a staircase, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be correct for the person’s posture, feet, knees and other important considerations relating to user. “In my opinion, too many people have jumped on the bandwagon of selling to vulnerable people over the years,” claimed Steve. “It is probably a controversial statement but I think there are too many people who are happy to go out there and offer prices that are extremely low because they are buying the products from places like these online marketplaces but have not always had the necessary training to fit them safely.” Worryingly, the stairlift professionals confirmed that the frequency of their engineers being called out to look at stairlifts that they would deem as being incorrectly installed is also on the rise.

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retailer spotlight “It is happening more and more. When we get a repair callout for someone that we do not know, we go out to assess and our engineers can pretty much tell immediately if it is a lift that hasn’t been fitted by a professional and is therefore likely to have been purchased on the secondhand market,” said Steve, concerned. “There are usually telltale signs – it might be that the bend is not in the right place for a curved lift or the

With the concern of user safety in mind, the idea of a registration similar to that of the Gas Safe Registration was raised as a possible solution, where only those qualified to work on the products can install, maintain and service stairlifts. Questioning how realistic such a scheme would be, general manager Steve said: “I would like to think of a registration or licence would come into place but I don’t know if it will

“The Government and local authorities are looking into smart homes and assistive technology more, so it is an area that we are looking into and speaking to councils about it.” LEE FARRINGTON

distance between the feet and carpet is dangerous. We’ve even seen a straight stairlift installed on a curved staircase. It is a problem that does not get enough attention.” Asserting that the industry is in need of some form of control, the two are convinced that the concerns surrounding safety will only get the attention needed in the wake of a tragedy: a troubling prospect. “There are so many ways that these devices can go wrong with awful consequences if not installed correctly,” said Steve. “The industry needs to be properly regulated and I think the second-hand market for these products is an area that needs looking at.” A NEED FOR REGULATION? Stating that something needs to be introduced, Lee added: “The second-hand market will continue to grow because it is lucrative and when it is done properly, it is fine. The issue is people installing them without the required training and knowledge but it is impossible to name an industry where this is not a concern. There certainly needs to be particular attention paid to the stairlift sector however because of who the customers are.”

16 | www.thiis.co.uk

ever happen. Something like gas or electricity is an everyday occurrence but no one gives stairlifts much thought until one is needed.” A SHIFT IN PUBLIC SECTOR THINKING Despite predicting growing safety concerns in the second-hand market, the pair do see positive changes taking place in the sector, particularly in the public sector. “One major way I see the industry

changing is with new builds, where more ‘homes for life’ will be built,” suggested Steve. “These will incorporate lifts, wetrooms and other home adaptation elements at the start and I can see that increasing as the years go on.” According to the company, local authorities are increasingly gaining a better understanding of the relationship between housing, independent living and social care, as well as the significant impact each has on the other in terms of cost. “If you think a lot of the UK’s housing stock was built in the 50s, 60s and 70s. When they were built, disability and accessibility barely registered in terms of requirements and a lot of the equipment we have now was not around then but today, local authorities are more aware,” explained Lee. “The big thing now is futureproofing. When we do work for a council, we have to consider futureproofing and whether the solution will be fit for purpose years down the line.” Lee pointed out that this consideration of future-proofing, along with the current Disabled Facilities Grant system, is also fuelling the increase in demand for through-floorlifts. “Through-floor-lift demand is definitely growing and we are seeing

Why the rise in online marketplaces for stairlifts? Expressing safety concerns over the freedom to buy and install second-hand stairlifts from those lacking the training and knowledge, Dolphin Lifts Midlands’ Steve Wilson highlighted that often it is the more tech-savvy children of end-users turning to online marketplaces. “The situation is often people who are dealing with the bereavement of a parent and are now emptying their home,” he explained. “They will ring a stairlift

company to ask to have it removed and when they hear the quote and realise it will cost them, they will turn to secondhand websites instead. They can advertise on an online marketplace for free, have someone come and take it away and even potentially earn some money from it as well. “The result is another piece of equipment out there, likely being installed somewhere it shouldn’t for someone that it is not suited for.”

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retailer spotlight

The new showroom facility forms an integral part of its strategy for engaging with private customers and OTs

councils changing their attitudes towards them,” he continued. “The way Disabled Facilities Grants work is playing a big role in this because people are provided one grant that is up to £X amount so it requires authorities to consider the long-term needs. So, whereas a stairlift may be suitable for now, if a council has a doubt that in a few years’ time the person will be unable to use it, then they will opt for a through-floor-lift instead.” Steve added: “I think there is an understanding that local authorities do not know what their budgets may be in the future so if they can make sure that what they are providing equipment for people that will last for the future, it helps prevent more spending that could arise down the line when budgets may be tighter.” MOVING WITH THE TIMES Undeterred by the challenges that lay ahead of the industry, the stairlift and

18 | www.thiis.co.uk

access veterans are confident that Dolphin Lift Midlands is well placed to continue its success, with their sights set on expanding the company’s offering further in 2020. “We are currently looking into our product portfolio and putting more products into it,” disclosed Lee. “It will not be a dramatic shift from what we do now to ensure we stick to what we are good at but we will diversify slightly. “The Government and local authorities are looking into smart homes and assistive technology more, so it is an area that we are looking into and speaking to councils about it. I can see our portfolio evolving slightly to cater more towards this area.” An emerging and rapidly expanding market, the shift to embrace the smart home arena is one that Steve is confident will pay off. “The smart-side is something that will grow massively and the mobility market will grow with that,” he said.

“It is something that we will keep an eye on and move with the times.” With decades of experience working with new technologies as they have come to the market, this willingness to move with the market will likely keep Dolphin Lifts Midlands growing into the future. “We have to adapt because if we don’t, someone else will definitely come along and we’ll find ourselves playing catch up,” finished Lee. “I think our adaptability is something that has kept us competitive. The plan for the future is to continue doing what we have been doing, stay grounded and keep moving with the times.” www.dolphinmidlands.co.uk

THIIS TIME LAST YEAR What got the industry talking last February?

Industry remembers an icon THIIS reported that David Edmund Talbot Garman, inventor of the world’s first portable powered bath lift, passed away peacefully at his home in Wales on 4th January 2019, aged 96. The founder of Mangar International, a company he started with his wife Francesca in 1981, the couple ran the Presteigne-based company until he was well into his 90s before selling in 2014.

M&A fever Two major acquisitions were announced to the industry in February, with Harvest Healthcare acquired by its MD Neil Davis in an MBO and Prism Medical UK sold to private equity firm Limerston Capital. At the end of 2019, Prism Medical acquired Harvest Healthcare.

Time to charge for assessments? Former BHTA Director General Ray Hodgkinson stressed the need for assessments to have a monetary value in order to reduce the practice of retailers’ providing assessments and then losing business to lower prices offered elsewhere. “Some consider the idea of qualifications, assessments and prescriptions becoming a barrier for selling when, in my view, it is actually a tool for selling,” he said. Ray argued that if retailers were to put a value on their assessments, they could then use it as a sales tool for incentivising customers to shop with them by taking off the price of the assessment from the final selling price of a product.

20 | www.thiis.co.uk

Bathlift makes a splash February 2019 marked the entrance of the KANJO range to the UK, distributed by bathlift expert Hugh Malone, a year on from his departure from Drive DeVilbiss. Manufactured by Germanbased supplier Eureha, Hugh described how the KANJO range would provide local authorities with a number of economic benefits, including a four-year warranty to help plug the estimated £5m spent annually on spare parts.

events diary February 5, 2020 Llanelli, Wales – OTAC www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402 March 3-5, 2020 Medtrade Spring - Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Las Vegas www.medtrade.com March 4, 2020 Kidz to Adultz Middle – Coventry www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk March 17 - 18, 2020 Naidex – NEC, Birmingham www.naidex.co.uk April 1 – 2, 2020 Med-Tech Innovation Expo 2020 – NEC, Birmingham www.med-techexpo.com April 22, 2020 Leeds – OTAC www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402 May 7, 2020 Kidz to Adultz South – Farnborough International Centre www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk

Visit us at the Spring Fair: Stand 1N22-P23

May 13, 2020 Exeter – OTAC www.otac.org.uk or 02921 900402

or please contact us for our trade catalogue: Tel 01460 75686 www.classiccanes.co.uk

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WALKING AIDS Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider stocking on shelves and offering to customers.

TAiMA SGT rollator from Dietz – exclusive to Able2 At just 5.3kg, the TAiMA SGT rollator from Dietz is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre. The ergonomically handles are designed to be comfortable to hold and boast one of the lowest heights on the market at 76cm minimum, making it ideal for the more petite user. The metallic finish also gives a stylish finish but is also robust, easily managing to cope with day-to-day use. Additionally, underneath a well-sized seat is a generous mesh bag with handles that can be removed and used independently of the rollator, if needed. With a smooth folding mechanism, the rollator locks into place with an audible click when unfolding, confirming to the user that they are ready to go. www.able2.eu

CRUTCHES FROM FLEXYFOOT With so many crutches being supplied through the NHS for short term users, it can be easy to overlook those who depend on them on an ongoing basis and for whom long-term performance is paramount. Manufactured with care to deliver high-quality, Flexyfoot’s stylish, textured, lightweight, black, quiet crutch combines the functionality of the Flexyfoot ferrule for a product that looks good and reliably performs. Available with either an open or closed cuff and with either straight or anatomic soft feel handles, they can be purchased individually or as pairs. Contact the company to learn more about its new 2020 prices or for more information on the entire range of complementary products. www.flexyfoot.com

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buyers’ guide


Tri Walker with Seat from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare A step up from the more traditional walker design, this innovative walking aid is the first three-wheel walker in the Drive DeVilbiss range and features a comfortable seat as standard, enabling users to take a rest when out and about. Boasting an attractive, metallic steel frame, the Tri Walker with Seat is lightweight and portable at only 7kg, offering stability and security to the user. The handles are height adjustable and its loop lock cable brakes can be easily applied. Additionally, the product includes handy side pockets and easily folds for compact storage. With a max user weight of 18 stones, the tri-walker comes available in blue or red. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

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Founded when Ben and Diana Porter discovered their Somerset woodland was naturally growing suitable raw material for wooden walking sticks, Classic Canes has been supplying high-quality canes to the trade since 1982. Over the years, the family-owned firm has grown to include over 700 different styles of walking sticks, folding canes, orthopaedic sticks, fashionable styles and collectors’ canes, always with the emphasis on function and fashion. With the company’s motto of ‘you cannot afford to buy cheap’ underpinning its approach to the market, Classic Canes constantly releases new styles to ensure it remains at the forefront of modern walking stick design, whilst still celebrating traditional models, sustainable production and woodworking skills. Recently, the company released new designs in association with the National Gallery, such as its National Gallery Bosschaert folding cane [pictured]. www.classiccanes.co.uk


Maximum carrying capacity 25 stone, Maximum speed 4mph, Range up to 16 miles*, Pneumatic tyres, Available in blue or red. *Range is dependent upon user weight, terrain, incline, temperature and battery conditions.

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buyers’ guide

Rollz Flex from Rollz A fully certified rollator with the look of a designer shopper, the lightweight Rollz Flex features a large and practical bag capable of carrying up to 20 kg. Weighing only 7.4kg, the rollator manoeuvres easily and supports a stable and comfortable walk. www.rollz.com/en

WALKING STICKS FROM FLEXYFOOT Walking sticks, a fundamental part of any mobility offering, come in all shapes and sizes. The mobility aids can be a vital lifeline to those with mobility needs and the right stick can have a dramatic improvement on a person’s life. The Flexyfoot ferrule helps stick & crutch users by offering increased grip, durability, comfort and safety – all verified by independent ISO testing. The sticks are manufactured using high-quality materials and described as “quiet, comfortable and safer” by the company. Available with three different handle designs, including Flexyfoot’s signature Oval Easy Grip to reduce hand strain and pressure, the company has also confirmed its newly reduced 2020 prices across its walking stick range. www.flexyfoot.com

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The answer is…



visit us online at www.primacare.co.uk or call 01685 845900

buyers’ guide

HurryCane from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare A trade favourite and the most selected product in our Retailers’ Products of the Year 2019 feature, the HurryCane was designed from the ground up to provide a superior walking experience, with support and confidence with every step. Aiming to reinvent the walking

stick, the freestanding design of the HurryCane with three-point contact at the base means that the cane can aid users when moving from a sitting to a standing position. Additionally, its unique pivoting base also simulates walking motion, providing stability at any angle and

enabling the cane to tackle many terrains. Featuring a 360-degree pivoting head and eight height adjustments, the HurryCane also folds easily and comes with a dual-purpose wrist strap and travel bag. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

EZ FOLD-N-GO ROLLATOR FROM STANDER – EXCLUSIVE TO ABLE2 Claimed to be “the world’s most portable rollator” by the manufacturers, the easy fold mechanism makes the EZ Fold-N-Go rollator from Stander ultra-compact when collapsed at a mere 33x25cm. Metallic colour options add a touch of personality whilst the shopping basket and seat make the product a practical choice when out and about. With its enhanced

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manoeuvrability highlighted as one of the product’s key selling points, the EZ Fold-NGo also boasts well-positioned responsive lockable brakes which are easy to engage, enabling the user to keep the rollator in one place when standing or sitting. Height adjustable handles complete the package. www.able2.eu

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Turning a new page


isabled lifestyle magazine Disability Horizons has launched its own online shop, selling what it describes as “a curated range of disability products from trusted suppliers.” The e-commerce site features products that have been selected via a combination of recommendations from its community of readers and through the magazine’s years of

experience in the sector, according to the publication. Disability Horizons says its new retail arm will be a platform for small or new suppliers and designers to showcase their products, with a particular focus on disabled entrepreneurs and companies that have been created to help a disabled friend or relative meet a need. Currently, the magazine is working

with a number of well-known suppliers and disabled entrepreneurs in the industry, including Samantha Renke, Josh Wintersgill’s Easy Travelseat, The Blue Badge Company, Care Designs, Skoe, Trabasack, Buckingham Healthcare and Peta Easy-Grip. www.disabilityhorizons.com/ dhorizons-shop

NRS HEALTHCARE TURNOVER JUMPS BY £19.8M NRS Healthcare has reported a significant increase in turnover in its annual report for the year ended 31st March 2019. One of the major Integrated Community Equipment Service (ICES) providers, Nottingham Rehab (which trades as NRS Healthcare) supplies a wide range of mobility, daily living and disability equipment to the public sector, alongside its

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burgeoning Technology Enabled Care (TEC) and Occupational Therapy services. The company confirmed its turnover grew from £165.1m to £184.9m in the year, a jump of £19.8m, whilst pre-tax profits also increased by £3.3m over the period, from £6m to £9.3m. The growth has been largely attributed to its Product Sales

division following the acquisition of Complete Care Networks (CCN) and its Complete Care Shop brand in August 2018. Alongside the addition of CCN, the report notes that the company successful won and retained a number of public sector contracts across its CES and Product Sales divisions. www.nrshealthcare.co.uk





IN HOT WATER Having been found guilty of a multitude of trading offences by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court for trading offences which saw him fleece vulnerable and elderly customers out of £82,000, Anchor Mobility’s boss David Water was sentenced in December by Judge Emma Peters and the punishment was significant. THE TRIAL David Waters, 71, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, was the sole director of Anchor Mobility, which sold bespoke reclining chairs and adjustable beds in the sector. The prosecution was brought against the Suffolk business and its director by Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards for a total of 31 offences, after investigations between 2016 and 2017 revealed a string of trading offences committed by Waters and Anchor Mobility. According to Trading Standards, it received several calls concerning Anchor Mobility and accumulated 26 witnesses, an indication of the scale of this operation. During the trial, the jury heard that more than 20 customers were purported to have lost around £82,000, however, Trading Standard’s indicated that it is likely many other people have made payments to Anchor Mobility and not received their goods. Alongside refusal to honour refunds and failure to deliver products,

prosecutors accused the company of using pressure selling and priceconditioning tactics on elderly and disabled customers, with it claimed salesmen would stay in customers’ home for an unreasonable amount of time to secure sales. In October, the jury was unanimous in finding Anchor Mobility Ltd and Waters guilty on 30 counts, and by a majority of eleven to one on the remaining count. The offences included fraudulent trading under the Companies Act

and failing to refund consumers under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Alongside the customers that found themselves swindled by Waters and Anchor Mobility, local businesses were also left high and dry, with Waters’ mobility company racking up debts of over £20,000 for lease and rental payments over six months before finally getting locked out of his offices as a result. Furniture suppliers were also found to have lost out, not being paid for

“Any sentence I pass is not of my making – it is of your making, reflecting your culpability, harm and offending.” JUDGE EMMA PETERS

2006, engaging in unfair commercial practices, multiple offences of misleading consumers by taking large deposits with the promise of delivering goods without doing so

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Anchor Mobility boss David Waters. Credit: Archant

products they had supplied. On announcing the verdict at the end of the trial on the 31st October, Judge Peters said: “I am very much considering sending you to prison.

You dealt with elderly, vulnerable and in some cases disabled people and you frankly swindled tens of thousands of pounds from them.” In December, she stayed true to her word. THE SENTENCE On sentencing Waters, Judge Peters said: “This case is about people. The continuing and constant theme in victims’ statements is that these weren’t rich people in large houses who could afford to lose thousands of pounds. These people suffered and can’t afford to buy another chair or bed. They were all left feeling very

a criminal behaviour order, preventing him from selling any products in a person’s home, as well as any involvement in a mobility aid company. His company was also fined a total of £15,000 for 15 counts of unfair commercial practice, with a hearing to consider compensation for victims taking place this year. It is an outcome welcomed by many in the trade who have long lamented unscrupulous mobility companies preying on vulnerable customers and tarnishing the mobility sectors’ reputation. Stuart Hughes, the Senior Trading Standards Officer who led the case,

“I hope this verdict provides them with some satisfaction that justice has been done, and provides Mr Waters with an opportunity to reflect on the serious consequences of his offending.” STUART HUGHES

stupid as a result of being taken in. They shouldn’t feel stupid, they were taken in and they are not alone. “Any sentence I pass is not of my making – it is of your making, reflecting your culpability, harm and offending. I have read much and been moved by all of it. In my view, the only appropriate sentence is immediate custody.” On the 19th December 2019, the sole-director received a 32-month custodial sentence. In addition to serving time behind bars, Waters also received a ban from being a company director for 10 years and been made the subject of



said: “I’m pleased the verdict has adequately recognised the callous attitude Mr Waters exhibited by exploiting elderly, vulnerable and disabled customers. “Having heard directly from his victims throughout the trial, I hope this verdict provides them with some satisfaction that justice has been done, and provides Mr Waters with an opportunity to reflect on the serious consequences of his offending.” THIRD STRIKE For many in the industry, the name David Waters will sound familiar. Over the last 10 years, he has found himself

in front of a jury for similar offences. No stranger to the mobility sector or Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards, Waters had previously been involved in two previous companies in the mobility sector where Trading Standards took action to prosecute. In 2013, Waters, his son Oliver Waters and their company Mobility UK Ltd, were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs in 2013. Waters and his son had admitted to allowing aggressive and misleading commercial practices, with the offences related to a period between July 2010 and November 2011. In 2015, Westminster Recliners Limited pleaded guilty to engaging in an aggressive commercial practice: Waters had been their company secretary but had all offences against him dropped. Denouncing the trading practices of Waters and Anchor Mobility, the British Healthcare Trades Association’s (BHTA) interim Director General Andrew Stevenson told THIIS: “With his history of engaging in aggressive and unethical selling practices, we welcome the sentence and may it act as a warning to others that would seek to exploit and prey on vulnerable and elderly customers. “It highlights why members of the public should seek out BHTA member companies who are all governed by a Code of Practice that is agreed with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). “This means that they must demonstrate that they are committed to the highest levels of customer service, helping to stamp out disreputable traders operating in the mobility sector.”

Call to find out more

01787 888 106

or email trade.sales@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THS20

www.thiis.co.uk | 33




n April 2020, the health and care services commissioning structure is set to change significantly, with the merger and closure of numerous Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across England. Responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area, CCGs assess local needs and buy services on behalf of the population from various providers.

In April 2019, there were approximately 191 CCGs in England, responsible for approximately twothirds of the total NHS England budget, totalling £79.9 billion in 2019/20. That number will reduce to 135 from April 2020 onwards, as 74 CCGs merge to create 18 new groups. The commissioning structure shakeup is a key element of the NHS Long

Term Plan, which aims to create a more integrated approach to health and social care across primary and specialist care, physical and mental health services, and health within social care. See the full list of CCG changes at THIIS online by searching ‘CCG Shake Up’ www.thiis.co.uk

PARKGATE’S PONTEFRACT BRANCH PILLAGED Parkgate Mobility’s new store in Pontefract was broken into on the 14th January 2020, having been open just over a month. The first mobility store to come to the historic West Yorkshire town, the branch launched in midDecember and marked the 18th shop in Parkgate Mobility’s growing portfolio. The store was targeted by thieves who gained entry in the early hours

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of the morning and made off with several large mobility scooters. Following the incident, West Yorkshire Police is asking for any witnesses to come forward with information by calling 101 and using the crime reference number 13200022840. www.parkgatemobility.co.uk



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let’s get it clear…

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CUSHION? Why cushions need to vary from user to user


his article aims to start getting people thinking more about what goes into a cushion that makes it ‘good’ for one person, but not for another. This article sets the scene, whereas the various headings will be teased out in greater detail in future articles. What makes a good cushion depends on the needs of the individual. These days we have many procurement departments which treat cushions as commodities and, under the misconception that all cushions are the same, look for what is the lowest price option – unaware that these are prescription items, with different elements that are relevant to any one individual’s needs. This kind of commodity-oriented generalisation is as useless to the individual as saying all white pills must do the same thing since they are all white. Around reviewing the suitability of a cushion for an individual, the context in which the cushion is to be used needs to be taken into consideration, such as whether it is to be used in a wheelchair, and consequently whether the wheelchair is the right size and conformation. There are various recent publications1,2,3 that cover these aspects in varying levels of detail, the most recent of which is the All Wales Best Practice Guidelines4. When considering which cushion meets the user’s needs, we have three key criteria to consider. The most important for anyone who is sitting still for any length of time, is to look after the user’s tissue integrity. The next is positioning: to what extent do the materials in the cushion assist in maintaining a healthy posture. The third is functionality, over and above the provisions of the first two criteria listed: how well does the cushion enable the user to carry out as normal a daily life as possible. The user needs to be part of the prescription

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process, since if they are not happy with the prescribed solution, they are unlikely to use it, and risk their health as a result. For tissue integrity, over the years we have been concerned about pressure, and we have tended to term much of the skin damage that occurs as pressure ulcers. However, for the health of the skin, there are other ‘extrinsic’ factors that may be as, or more, important. These include the microclimate adjacent to the skin, where temperature and moisture come into play – we all know the effect that having our hands in water for an extended period has on our skin. Even more potentially damaging to the skin are the additional effects of friction and shear forces. This leads us then not so much to the cushion, as to its cover. The majority of pressure ulcers recorded are Stage 1 or 2, and these occur at the epidermis and dermis, the outer layers of the skin (see Fig. 1). What affects these outer layers of the skin is what is closest to the skin i.e. one’s clothing and the cover

Figure 1. Illustrations of Stage 1 and 2 Pressure Ulcers5

on the cushion. If these items can move with the skin as the person moves in their seat, there will be less risk of shear damage (from shear stress and shear strain) to the skin. Likewise, if the clothing and cover materials control the microclimate

What’s in a name? Pressure ulcer? Over the years what we in the UK currently call Pressure Ulcers have previously been known as Pressure Sores or Decubitus Ulcers. In North America and the Pacific regions, these are now referred to as Pressure Injuries, and as a result the likes of the North American Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) has renamed itself the North American Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP). Europe has chosen to stay with ulcers and stay with the EPUAP name as the related body.

from temperature and humidity build up around the skin, there will be less risk of skin damage arising from maceration of the skin. There’s over thirty elements, falling under the tissue integrity, postural management, and functionality headings, that can be taken into account when assessing the properties of a cushion and its suitability for an individual. I will be going into these different elements in more detail in future articles.

1. BHTA (2018) Get wise to pressure ulcer prevention in sitting: A guide to pressure ulcer prevention in sitting 2. BHTA (2018) Get wise to seated posture: A guide on good seating posture practice 3. Stephens, M & Bartley, C (2018) Understanding the association between pressure ulcers and sitting in adults what does it mean for me and my carers? Seating guidelines for people, carers and health & social care professionals J Tissue Viability 27, 59-73 4. AWTVNE, PUPIS. All Wales Best Practice Guidelines: Seating and Pressure Ulcers. London: Wounds UK, 2019 5. From Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Care for Adults in the Home or Homely Setting NHSTaysidecdn.scot. nhs.uk



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Medequip opens first shop in NHS acute setting


ursuing its growth and diversification strategy in 2020, community equipment specialist Medequip has launched its first retail store within the Kings Treatment Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital. Launched in January, the new store will now sell a range of products including bathing and mobility aids, continence products and a specialist range for dementia support. Whilst not the first physical retail presence for the company, with Medequip already operating retail areas at its depot centres and two Independent Living Centres, the Royal Derby Hospital store does mark the

first retail space for the company embedded within an acute NHS environment. According to the company, the new unit will have a focus on safety, with free walking aid checks being carried out trained assessor, complete with free replacement ferrules where required. The space will also be used as an

informal assessment unit by OTs, who have been consulted to give feedback on the potential product requirements of individuals going home after hospital visits.

TOP 100 FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS Karen Sheppard, Owner of Skegness-based People First Mobility, has featured in f:Entrepreneur’s annual #ialso top 100 list 2020. The initiative is dedicated to celebrating the UK’s top inspirational and multi-achieving female business leaders in small businesses. The #ialso campaign aims to highlight how entrepreneurs are often involved in more than one single designated role and required to wear many different hats. “The ‘I also…’ campaign really spoke to me because as an owner, I often find that it is almost impossible to list everything that I am responsible for,” explained Karen. “In 2019, I was nominated for an

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award as Store Manager of the Year. When I saw the nomination, I said ‘I am not the store manager, I’m the owner.’ It was when I was talking to someone that they told me ‘but you are the manager, and the cleaner, and the accounts dept, the HR and many other things.’ That is when I realised just how much we really do say ‘I also’!” Karen’s latest achievement joins a long list of personal and professional accomplishments, including battling and overcoming cancer, attending events at 10 Downing Street, completing her digital business skills programme and winning a plethora of business awards. www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk


retailer spotlight


FROM A FAST CAR TO A FAST GROWING BUSINESS At the turn of the millennium, with celebrations taking place to usher in the next thousand years, Kevin O’Leary made the bold and difficult decision to sell his pride and joy – a Porsche 911 SC Targa for £11,000. The money would be used to fund his new business, TVM Cheltenham. Two decades on and now one of the South West’s leading independent mobility providers, the experienced managing director spoke with THIIS about the journey of establishing and developing the company into what it is today.


he decision to launch a company is never an easy one, however, for Kevin, the time was right. Having recently relocated and with money in the bank, he decided to take the plunge and become self-employed. His new mobility business grew quickly, providing a steady income to support Kevin and his family whilst growing into a sustainable local business to aid people to remain independent in their own homes for longer. That was the birth of TVM Cheltenham in January 2000. 20 years on and the company has developed into a solid business covering Gloucestershire, Bristol and surrounding areas, supplying a wide range of mobility and access solutions, from lifts to assistive technologies, alongside a range of services. THE JOURNEY The company’s early success and rapid business growth happened as a result of Kevin identifying a gap and providing a solution in the marketplace. The astute mobility boss noticed that

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there were very few mobility companies specialising in hoisting equipment in the South West, with most of the work being completed by larger national companies. Having worked for many years with two of the national companies, Wessex Medical (now Wessex Lifts) and Test Valley Mobility, Kevin offered his services as an agent to look after

their client base in the local area. The move proved fruitful, solving the problem many new businesses face of getting customers in those difficult early years. By working with the national suppliers, it allowed Kevin to maintain existing business relationships while developing good working relationships for his clients in the local area.

Catherine and Kevin O’Leary have successfully developed the company over the past two decades

retailer spotlight “In 2000, I was a self-funded sole trader, working from my home office and sub-contracting my services to Wessex Medical and Test Valley Mobility, covering the South West and up to Birmingham, installing and servicing hoisting systems and various other pieces of equipment, while gradually winning more local business,” explained Kevin. “In 2004, Catherine and I incorporated the company and we became TVM Cheltenham Ltd. By then, we had secured the servicing contract in South Gloucestershire and were responsible for the maintenance of ceiling track hoists in Bristol, on behalf of NRS, who held the Bristol contract at the time. “That same year we employed our first full-time engineer to concentrate on the servicing and repairs. This enabled me to invest my time on the installation side and to introduce complementary product lines for business growth.” As TVM Cheltenham built a solid reputation with professionals in the locality, the company managed to secure new business whilst staying true to its relationships with the companies who had helped them at the start. Speaking with Kevin, he highlighted that two decades on, TVM

the South Gloucestershire Framework Tender for Hoists, Through floor lifts and Stairlifts.” After bidding, the company was successful in securing the contract for the hoists which guaranteed it work for the next three years. “We employed an electrician, who enabled us to register for NICEIC Electrical certification, and moved to larger premises in Yate,” Kevin added. “In 2019 we successfully regained the South Gloucestershire framework contract for a further five years and we now employ a team of 11, including Catherine and myself.” CHALLENGES Flourishing in those formative years, the company has managed to thrive in the mobility and access market, driven by Kevin’s vision, dedication, belief, effort, consistency and resilience. When asked what was the secret to TVM’s success, Kevin told THIIS: “One of the keys to our success stems from listening to the needs of our clients and delivering a personalised service in a professional and reliable manner, at a reasonable price. We treat our service users in the same way we would expect members of our own families to be treated: politely and with dignity & respect.” As any business owner will attest,

“One of the most positive changes over the last 20 years has been the development of hoist tracking systems.” KEVIN O’LEARY

Cheltenham continues to enjoy an excellent working relationship with Wessex Lifts and Test Valley Mobility (acquired by Prism in 2009). “The company continued to grow, and in a short few years we increased the team to four, including myself and Catherine,” he continued. “At this stage, we were installing complementary equipment to hoisting systems and we secured a workshop in Kingswood to operate from. Our next growth step came as a result of

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however, running a company in any industry is rarely ever plain sailing, with bosses having to be able to manage challenges and changes, as well as importantly developing into good leaders. “One of the biggest challenges Catherine and I faced was ensuring we had the right people to carry out the growing workload,” remarked Kevin. “Personally, at the time, it was a complete leap of faith to let go of some of the responsibilities I

TVM’s Kevin O’Leary with South Gloucestershire Commissioning Manager Andy Hichens

had, especially as I had started the business as a one-man band. As we grew, we began to implement a training regime to facilitate effectiveness and efficiency. “In the early years, in my role as a developing leader, I made time to leave whatever I was working on at the time, in order to focus on, nurture and build confidence within the engineering team. This meant that I would spend time working in the evenings at home to complete additional management responsibilities, such as administration and financial reports.” According to the experienced mobility veteran, despite the long and sometimes unforgiving hours demanded to get TVM Cheltenham to where it is today, the thought of leaving it all behind never entered his mind. “In terms of building resilience, Catherine and I never felt like giving up, even though at times all we seemed to do was work,” he continued. “We were, and still are, building a team that can share the workload, and we are proud to say that the company is now supporting the whole team and their families.” CHANGE With decades of industry experience under his belt and 20 years’ operating




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retailer spotlight in the industry, the mobility firm MD considered how the business and how the industry has changed and evolved over the years. “There is always change to make equipment safer in use, more reliable and more affordable. One of the most positive changes over the last 20 years has been the development of hoist tracking systems,” said Kevin. “The devices allow a single hoist to transfer a client anywhere within that room, or if the structure of the property allows it, anywhere on the same floor using room covering and gated systems. This is enabling greater choice for people to continue living at home.”

18000, NICEIC and Which? Trusted Trader status regaining the Framework contract for South Gloucestershire Council to continue supplying their hoisting requirements from 2019 to 2024; and the business now supporting its increasing workforce. “Our company ethos is to provide a service that we expect for ourselves and our families. We respond to need, with courtesy and good manners, at a reasonable price. Nothing short of this is acceptable,” continued the passionate business leader. “We only use selected products with a proven track record for reliability and performance, and our engineers are fully trained in the installation and

“A key highlight we’re proud of is being able to start, develop and sustain a successful small business without any financial help from an external source.” KEVIN O’LEARY

With achieving the impressive milestone of 20 years in business, Kevin reflected on how it feels to have enjoyed such longevity within a sector growing increasingly competitive. “We are thrilled to be celebrating TVM Cheltenham at 20, although we’re not quite sure where those years went,” he admitted. “An amazing achievement, not only by me and Catherine but also by the team. We’re grateful for the dedication of those who have joined us along the way, and together, we pride ourselves in the high standard of service we deliver. “As we reflect on our 20 years in business, we can recall countless winning moments. A key highlight we’re proud of is being able to start, develop and sustain a successful small business without any financial help from an external source.” Amongst his proudest achievements for the company include developing and gaining professional certified Quality and Safety systems, ISO 9001, OHSAS

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maintenance of equipment. We allow people to develop within their roles, who in turn, contribute to the growth of the company.” NO TIME TO CELEBRATE Asked what TVM Cheltenham will do to mark the significant moment in the company’s journey, Kevin emphasised that he was keen to show his appreciation to the team that has helped make it possible.

The company installs, maintains and services a wide range of equipment within the public and private sector

“Catherine and I appreciate it has been a team effort to reach the 20-year milestone. To say thank you, each member of the team was given a Christmas bonus and a little something from Catherine and myself,” he explained. “For us? I would like to say that we will be opening a bottle of bubbly. But anyone who knows me and Catherine will say we will most likely enjoy a cup of tea with biscuits and discuss what needs doing next.” Never stopping to look at ways to drive the business forward, Kevin finished: “Looking ahead, Catherine and I will continue to take each year as it comes. We will ensure the team is engaged and happy, as they develop and build their experience through continual training. Staying true to our values and standards, we will continue making loyal working relationships stronger and seeking out fresh ideas to overcome obstacles.” www.tvmcltd.co.uk

Winning tips Having recently been re-awarded its second consecutive public sector contract with South Gloucestershire local authority, TVM’s MD Kevin highlights that the old adage of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” certainly applies when it comes to winning valuable public sector contracts. “Winning a contract takes a lot of preparation,” he explained. “Preparing the tender is time-consuming and labour intensive. It is the second time we have been successful in a tender process; however, we first did so 13 years ago. South Gloucestershire was the first local authority contract win that TVM Cheltenham gained in 2003.” He added: “With two tender processes under our belt, and following much hard graft by us all, we are hugely proud of our team.”



IS SOCIAL MEDIA AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING CHANNEL FOR MOBILITY RETAILERS? Despite its wild popularity, with millions of users regularly engaged on social media platforms globally, its effectiveness as a means of advertising remains a point of contention among mobility retailers. Five mobility retail marketers discuss whether social media is the place to invest marketing spend or whether there are more effective channels out there… 46 | www.thiis.co.uk

Alexandra Lomas Customer Engagement Manager for NRS Healthcare

When it comes to reaching out to customers, there are two main target groups mobility retailers need to speak to – those who are older and those who are living with a disability. “Interestingly, two of the world’s largest social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – are a great resource for engaging with these two groups to build awareness of your brand. “Advocates from the disability community are abundant on Twitter and many of them are happy to share their experiences with you if you open a dialogue. Sharing their stories on your website will likely lead to them tweeting a link to the article and if they have a few thousand followers, this can be great exposure for your brand whilst gaining you valuable clickthroughs. “Facebook, meanwhile, is fantastic for connecting with an older audience. Latest figures confirm that over 7.8 million users are aged 55+, 3.4 million of which are over 65 years old. Experiment with the content on your Facebook page and “boost” your posts to target an older audience to see what gets the highest rates of engagement; it will help you understand what customers want from your brand and give your marketing strategy better direction.

Annie Holland-Oakes Marketing and Motability Specialist for Recare

Social media is an avenue Recare has broadened in the last year. Previously it was just an element of the business whereas now it is an active marketing tool. “Although time-consuming, it is a great brand ambassador when used effectively with the right means and compelling posts: generic posts that are uninspired will not grow engagement. “With seven active social media channels, I have found our additional focus in this area has been noticed by both professionals and clients alike. “Its popularity is growing and it is often where a significant amount of people engage in conversation about various products and companies, making it a powerful discussion tool and ultimately one that, if used well, has vast potential. “Too often, it is relied upon that clients will come across retailers through promotion by manufacturers. Social media is a way of getting your brand and business in front of a wider audience and interacting with your clients on a more personal level. “I would certainly make the case for a more significant amount of investment into social media advertising than I would for print marketing.

Daniel Griffiths Managing Director of Easy Living Mobility

Social media is a way of the world today and one that is definitely not going away. It is also one that will really influence all of us in some way or another – at the very least allow us to stay informed more quickly – even instantly – than has ever been possible. “Will it drive sales that we can clearly measure? The answer, in short, is yes it can. With all the data analytics available across these platforms, we as an industry would be foolish to ignore it. “But it’s like anything we do - it has got to be engaging and it has to have real thoughtful meaning to the viewer! “We engage daily with our customers through various social media channels. I wouldn’t say we are anywhere near where I aim for us to be in this area but we are aware and fully appreciate that social media is here to stay: it is what we do with these channels as businesses that will, in turn, make all the difference to whether they are effective or not!

Ceri Dixon Senior Marketing Manager for Ableworld

Love it or hate it, social media is a massive part of many people’s lives now. It’s a convenience many of us never had and allows people to stay in touch easier, follow images and check on what friends and family are up to. “We value our social media pages and invest time and effort to ensure the convenience of social media is available to our customers. We find it a great way of updating customers of our offers, news and interesting articles and stories. “Compared to other marketing strategies, you have to put the hours in but we believe it’s worth it and our customers seem to agree. “We get a great deal of engagement on our posts from some regular Facebook ‘Top Fans’, as well as lots of new customer comments on many different posts and platforms. “I think people still believe social media is for the younger generations but statistics show that this is no longer the case and there is a wide audience out there using it so why not put yourselves in front of them.


Mandy Burns Brand Manager for Mobility Solutions

Is social media an effective marketing channel for mobility retailers? In short, hell yes! And why do I say that? Here’s a list of reasons Mobility Solutions believes in the power of social and thinks it’s awesome! 1. Presence – social is often an important step in a customer’s research journey 2. Reviews – a suite of great reviews can be the final thing that persuades a customer to convert 3. Tone of voice/brand personality – social is the perfect place to humanise the brand, tell stories and demonstrate brand values 4. Word of mouth – your content won’t gain the traction it does on social anywhere else 5. Customer service – it’s important to answer customer queries where they originate and it can cut time and admin 6. Conversions – making use of a content calendar, social scheduling and Google UTM’s will allow strategic social activity and measurement of ROI in Google Analytics, as well as the opportunity to better understand customer behaviour 7. Traffic – social delivers content, create engaging content with a clear commercial CTA and you should see your site visit numbers grow and grow! 8. Insight - Social media insights from both organic and paid social are getting smarter by the day and are full of wonderful opportunities to learn about your audience.

pick of the month

WHAT PRODUCTS ARE RETAILERS IN THE INDUSTRY RAVING ABOUT? Wondering which products are grabbing retailers’ attention? Each month, retailers in the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out for them and why… 48 | www.thiis.co.uk

Lauren Bromfield Director of Classic Mobility

Pick of the month: Ergo Lite 2 from Karma Mobility

I have chosen the Ergo lite 2 from Karma Mobility as our product of the month for February. It continues to be a popular product with our clients, many who are looking for a very lightweight chair that is stylish and compact. “The option of attendant or selfpropelling, with the addition of swing away footplates to ease transfers, makes it a great choice. “The s-ergo seat helps to reduces sliding, and completes the stylish look, which is an added bonus. “Importantly the aftercare is second to none with Karma, with any replacement parts proving to be very reasonable.

Delivery is usually next day which helps us to manage our showroom stock effectively.


Elaine Ferguson, Mobility Services Manager of Fortuna Mobility

Pick of the month: Fortuna Quad Ferrule Walking Stick

At Fortuna, we sell lots of walking sticks. So last year we added a new one to our range – with a few added benefits! “The Fortuna Quad Ferrule Walking Stick is made from light but strong aluminium – it’s been strength tested to 120kg to ensure quality and safety. It is foldable, height adjustable from 84cm to 94cm, and includes a wrist strap. “Probably the biggest benefit of this stick is its four point or quad rubber ferrule that provides greater stability and grip compared to traditional walking stick ferrules. The Fortuna quad ferrule gives an increased area of contact for improved surface grip, whilst the rubber design provides flexibility on uneven surfaces improving security for the user. And, because the ferrule allows the walking stick to self-stand on flat surfaces without falling over, it’s harder to lose under a table. Retailing at just £20 excluding VAT, it’s great value too! “Fortuna Quad Ferrules are also available for sale individually, so it’s possible to use with any walking stick with a 19mm diameter. Many of our customers are either upgrading their walking sticks or even just the ferrule on their existing walking sticks to benefit from a more comfortable and stable walking experience.

www.fortunamobility.com www.thiis.co.uk | 49

pick of the month

Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility

Pick of the month: Leg rest from Aidapt

With the dark nights still upon us for a short while, sales of the leg rest have been popular. Allowing the legs to be elevated and rested comfortably whilst watching television or reading. “This model is from Aidapt but a few of the suppliers sell ranges of foot rests. This model sells well as the top of the leg rest has a flat surface and the vinyl top has heat sealed seams for improved hygiene. “The frame is finished in a tough epoxy polymer finish and the padded leg rests are manufactured using a fire retardant, easy to clean fabric. Available with or without wheeled castors, each castor has a brake and the legs are adjustable in height.


Darren Macey, Business Development Manager for Lifestyle & Mobility

Pick of the month: Alber e-Motion M25 from Invacare

At Lifestyle & Mobility, we are always looking for the most cutting-edge designed and innovative products that can benefit people’s lives. Our arms and shoulders aren’t designed for the repetitive motion that comes by being a wheelchair user and the e-motion M25 takes away a lot of the repetitive motion that comes from propelling a wheelchair. “In fact, its proven it reduces repetitive strain injuries. The e-motion M25 power drive offers extra power and a lighter weight in comparison to the previous model. “Each wheel weighs only 7.8kg, a 33 per cent reduction from the M15 and is now available in three wheel sizes, 22-inches, 24-inches and 25-inches. “Ideal for any active individuals looking for a powerful and versatile mobility solution to suit a busy lifestyle – whether it’s longer distances, slopes or a few kilos more in your luggage – the e-motion supports users in every situation, even when braking downhill. This is ensured by its highly efficient and silent electric motors. “The product can expand users’ range of action, keeping them moving and training their vital functions. At the same time, customers permanently protect their muscles and joints from overwork. “There is a handy app that syncs with a smartphone as well, allowing our customers to adjust the speed of it, track your journeys and keep a push count. It can even drive the chair using a phone which is a great function if a wheelchair user needs to move the chair while not in it. “It is a truly fantastic product to any active user which is why it’s our Pick of the Month.

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NEW RANGE OF CHILDREN’S CUTLERY Introducing our new range of cutlery for children and young adults. The knives have a reflex handle making them suitable for use in either hand, whilst the handle of the fork and spoon is curved to assist with grip and control. Available in 3 colours Black, Blue and Red.

HA-4375 Fork Left Hand

HA-4360 Rocker Knife

HA-4361 Spoon Right Hand


HA-4371 Spoon Left Hand

HA-4365 Fork Right Hand

SHINE INTERNATIONAL 9 Holkham Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6TE Tel: 01733 391900 • Fax: 01733 391551 • mail@shineinternational.co.uk

pick of the month

Ceri Dixon, Marketing Manager of Ableworld

Pick of the month: Cutlery Set from Shine International

Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids

Pick of the month: Oxford Up from Joerns

For this month, I would like to highlight the Joerns Oxford Up. It is a manual stand aid and seated transfer device that neatly bridges the gap between no assistance and a powered stand aid. “Typically, most clients do not go from being fully ambulant to totally immobile in one step. It is far more often a progressive loss of ability that does not require intervention with a fully powered hoist to assist their transfers from chair to chair, bed to chair or chair to W.C. But at the same time, it is important to recognise that loss of ability and use an appropriate transfer aid that minimises any risk of the client falling due to lack of support. “The Up has a robust 31 stone capacity and encourages client participation in transfers which in turn acts as a great rehabilitation tool and promotes independence.

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Sometimes the simplest of mobility aids can be the most effective in helping people on a daily basis with a task many take for granted. If you struggle with grip, hand and wrist strength or dexterity, holding cutlery can be a difficult task. “This handy cutlery set is adapted to help, with soft cushioned grip for comfort and a wrist strap on each utensil to help secure it to the user’s hand. “Each piece of cutlery is bendable, allowing it to be set at a suitable angle for the user and encouraging them to remain independent while eating. “The set features a fork, spoon and rocker knife which allows the user to cut food using a rocking motion rather than trying to slice food. This cutlery set is ideal for people living with Dementia, MS and Arthritis.



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OT perspective

HOW TO HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS CHOOSE THE RIGHT WALKING AIDS When an end-user has limited mobility, choosing the correct walking aid is one of the most important things you as a retailer can help them do. With the right equipment, your customers can stay on the move safely and open up new horizons with real confidence.


or the most part, there are four categories of walking and movement aids: 1. Equipment that helps to stabilise the gait by providing additional contact with the floor, i.e. a walking stick 2. Equipment that allows some weight bearing i.e. an offset cane 3. Equipment that allows substantial weight bearing i.e. a Four-leg (quad cane), crutches or Zimmer frame 4. Equipment that aids movement for people who can’t bear any weight i.e. a wheelchair or scooter But which equipment is right for your customer and how do you decide? START BY BEING HONEST ABOUT THEIR LEVEL OF MOBILITY Imagine your customer was moving

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from one side of a room to another, holding hands with a friend or customer service assistant. Or better still, try it for real. If the end-user is able to walk with very little support, they would want something from category 1, to stabilise their gait. If the customer needed to apply a bit of pressure to the person’s hand as they moved, they would be better off with an offset cane or another aid from category 2. If the end-user needed help to cross the room with another person with two hands or an arm around their waist, you should consider a quad cane, crutches or Zimmer frame. And if the customer is unable to stand safely for ten seconds, a walking aid won’t help and they’ll need something from category 4, along with potential physiotherapy or rehabilitation, if deemed appropriate.

NEXT, CONSIDER THEIR ENVIRONMENT Where are they most often? Do they spend most of their time at home? In school? At college? At work? Look at the common environments and consider the tasks, activities and hobbies that your customer completes most days. Think about how they travel too. Write down the answers and then consider how each type of walking aid would fit in with each one. You’ll soon have a good idea of how appropriate each solution would be. As you’re doing this exercise, focus on the size of the different types of aids. Remember that larger aids might be more stable than the smaller options but they’re also heavier to use. Would they still be able to visit the smallest areas in their home with each of the aids you’re considering? For example, if the aid you’ve got in mind

could make a closet toilet or a larder too difficult to use, something smaller might be more suitable. THEN DECIDE WHETHER IT’LL REALLY BE ENOUGH It’s really important that you make sure that the aid(s) you suggest are going be suffice throughout your customer’s day, every day. Think about the level of physical endurance that they can manage and consider whether that level changes at any point during their day. For example, some people’s conditions mean that a walking stick will be enough in the morning but come the afternoon, they’ll need more support. Likewise, the individual might not be able to weight-bear prior to taking medication but could be on the move with an offset cane two hours after. Either way, there’s no harm in using different aids for different situations or times of day. So, make sure you’re taking your customer’s entire day into

account, focusing on every potential activity. FINETUNING THE CHOICE… By now, you’ve probably got a decent idea of the sort of aids that would suit your customer’s needs. Just make sure that the front runners will stand up to the customer’s current level of coordination and their upper body and grip strength too. If you opt for a walking cane, ensure that the length is roughly the distance from the ground to your client’s wrist crease. And if they are getting just one walking aid, remember to use it on the opposite side of the weak or painful leg. Always do a test first and ensure the end-user’s capability. If they are likely to use the stairs then a stairs practice with assistance is a must. When helping customer’s make their decision, it also be worth knowing that VAT relief is available for many disabled people, as well as those with diagnosed long-term conditions.

I hope these tips can help you at your next exhibition and remember, if you’d like to talk to me about exhibiting at OTAC, just give us a call on 02921 900402 or email stuart@ promoting-independence.co.uk. Also, there is an exciting new event we are aware of that is specifically for the trade coming soon. More will be revealed in next month’s edition.

WE DELIVER YOUR PROMISES We are a nationwide delivery company based in the heart of Yorkshire. We specialise in the delivery, installation, demonstration, handover and testing of all types of healthcare products.

Our services include: • • • • • • • •

Delivery and Installation of ALL Healthcare Products Engineering Call Outs Removal and Disposal of Old Products Honour Manufacturers Warranties Customer Service Management Full Annual Services Inbound Receipt and Warehousing LOLER / PUWER Testing


Visit us at www.hdd-ltd.com @HDDltd


new to the market

WHAT’S NEW ON THE MARKET Spring in the step for dealers Designed for those with extra wide or swollen feet, Sandpiper has launched a new shoe ready for spring 2020. The Eden ladies extra wide laceup shoe features seam-free linings and is capable of accommodating customised orthotic insoles. With a three-in-one fitting system and made from super soft leather, the shoes are both lightweight and supportive. Ideal for those with diabetes, the Eden is available in two spring colours and includes an innovative elastic gusset to ensure a great fit. To accompany the new Eden shoe, the company’s FeatherTop extra wide socks range has proven popular amongst customers since it’s launch last year.

Eden ladies extra wide lace-up shoe

Specifically designed to be totally non-binding with an easy fit top and a smooth toe seam, the FeatherTop meet the requirements of diabetics and those with sensitive or swollen feet and ankles. have four colours to According to choose from: black, Sandpiper, the FeatherTop extra wide socks navy, grey and oatmeal. sock range is the To find out more perfect add-on about stocking the new product to increase Sandpiper range, call dealers’ overall order 01295 277377 or email values. sales@sandpipershoes.co.uk Available in either cotton, wool, cushioned and knee high in small, medium and large, customers of the FeatherTop range

RAISING THE LEVEL OF SINGLE-HANDED CARE Yorkshire Care Equipment has secured the distribution rights to the latest Raizer lifting chair across the Isle of Man, Scotland and Northern England. Manufactured by Danish-company LiftUp, the Raizer enables a single individual to lift a fallen person, raising the individual to either a seated or standing position without physical strain and potential injury to the carer. Not dramatically changing the overall design, the new Raizer II includes a number of updates and

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subtle changes to improve ease of use. The original colour-coded back rest and leg pieces have been replaced with universal parts that fit onto either side of the seat unit, along with new sound indicators that informs the operator when the device has been correctly assembled. Additionally, the seat belt is no longer attached to the seat unit and can be positioned at any point along the backrest to give the user support where they need it. The new Raizer

also allows for three seatbelts to be added to provide extra torso stability. www.yorkshirecareequipment.com

NEW CUTLERY RANGE SHINES Shine International, the worldwide supplier of aid for daily living (ADL) products, has released a new range of stylish, ergonomic cutlery designed for children. Available in either red, blue or black, the unique knives have a reflex handle and can be used in either hand whilst the spoons & forks are curved and come in a left-handed or right-handed version. All pieces of cutlery can be cleaned in household dishwashers up to 70 degrees. Established in 1992, Shine International produces a range of ADL products, including aids to be used in the home, dressing aids, reading and writing aids, bathing aids and more. The company also sells a range of shop fittings for retailers, including wall column systems, centre floor stands and mannequins. www.shineinternational.co.uk

Retailer brings Softwheel range to life in the UK GRX Life has secured the exclusive distribution rights to the Softwheel in the UK and is establishing a trade network with select dealers. The Softwheel technology features a patented in-wheel suspension system that improves a vehicle’s performance, according to the Tel Aviv-based manufacturer, with the wheel’s suspension arms set equidistant around a central hub to provide shock absorption. Pairing well with power add-on bikes, a rapidly growing segment of the wheelchair market, Dan Sutton, Commercial Manager for GRX Life, told THIIS: “Having thoroughly tested

the wheels, we think that they are an ideal product for protecting the wheelchair itself from excess shocks/ vibrations and extra maintenance, as well as a far more comfortable ride for the user. The suspension also offers greater stability and safety when operating the bikes.” The company says it welcomes enquiries from appropriate dealers and “particularly ones specialising in power add-on bike sales.” To find out more about the range or potential dealer opportunities, contact info@grxlife.com www.grxlife.com

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Changing hospitals with Changing Places


he Department of Health & Social Care has confirmed which 10 NHS trust hospitals will receive the first share of a £2 million pot to install Changing Places facilities. Over £500,000 has been given to start work on installing 16 facilities in a bid to increase the number of vital Changing Places across the NHS England estate, which currently sits at just over 50. A further £1.5 million will be available for NHS trusts to apply for as the government aims to increase the number of Changing Places across NHS England sites to over 100 by 2024. The Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage, is now calling for more trusts to bid for the funding and also for all new hospital facilities to include a Changing Places facility in their plans. THE SUCCESSFUL HOSPITAL BIDS AND THE AMOUNT OF FUNDING: Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust..........................................£105,000 University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust ..........................£51,000 Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust........................................£34,000 Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust...........................£35,000 Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust......................................£40,000 Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust...............................................................£35,000 United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust...................................................£97,000 West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust..........................................................£60,000 Lancashire Teaching Hospitals..................................................................£50,000 Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust..................................£17,000

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Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed logged mobility scooter accidents in Great Britain increased in 2018 by 5.5 per cent. The number of recorded mobility scooter accidents in 2018 totalled 249, up against the 236 in 2017. Of the 249, 180 occurred on roads whilst 69 arose on pavements and footpaths. The figures also reveal that male mobility scooter drivers were involved in more incidents than female drivers, with 139 accidents involving men and 99 including women – 11 were recorded as unknown. 92 involved drivers over the age of 75, with 19 drivers being aged 90 and over. 52 accidents involved drivers between the age of 66 and 75, whilst 32 accidents concerned mobility scooter users between 56 and 65. Those between age 21 to 45 accounted for less than 10 percent (23 accidents). The DfT’s data shows a limited snapshot of the total number of accidents involving scooters, with the figures only accounting for incidents where the police were called to the scene and logged a report.

recruitment Business Development Manager

Regional Product Specialist

London & South East Territory

Midlands & North West England Based on experience with £40,000 OTE

We are currently recruiting for a passionate and dynamic Business Development Manager for the London and South East Territory. Ideally you will be living inside or very close to the M25 and will have a background in Postural and Pressure Management. This role will consist of: • Helping to develop the business of our recommended Partners • Completing complex assessments for Specialist Seating • Providing a white glove service which includes setting up seating for our clients and providing aftercare (this includes servicing and technical support) • Proactively and through your own initiative finding and developing new business opportunities • Working in tandem with the Internal Business Development team to nurture opportunities Our ideal candidate would: • Have experience in Postural and Pressure Management • Be computer literate and be familiar with quoting and CRM systems • Live within or near the M25 • Be passionate, diligent and tenacious • Be able to work remotely and use your initiative to create business opportunities

The Company For almost 40 years RMS has been a supplier and manufacturer of mobility products to both the NHS and private sector. Due to our continued expansion and growth, we now have an exciting opportunity for a suitable candidate to represent RMS at CDC’s (Child Development Centres) and specialised Schools covering the Midlands & North West England areas of the UK.

• Have a track record of over achieving targets We will offer a competitive salary and bonus package, along with 26 days annual leave, pension, company vehicle, mobile phone, laptop, tablet and other benefits. More about CareFlex: Since 1995 CareFlex has been manufacturing Specialist Seating; we understand the importance of balancing comfort, pressure relief, posture management and independence. We are an ambitious company that have faith in our life changing products and are part of the CliniMed Group.

Requirements We require enthusiastic, hard working individuals with previous sales experience. Full product training will be provided. A technical background with a confident, positive and empathetic personality would also be an advantage. The role will require the applicant to complete a DBS check which the company will source. Benefits • 20 days holiday plus Bank Holidays, increasing with length of service • Mobile phone • Laptop • Company Vehicle

The Role Reporting to the National Sales Manager, the role will entail supporting existing clients and developing new opportunities through assessments, exhibitions and attending clinics. You will be working with fellow professionals in the health sector serving children and adults with a wide range of health conditions and disabilities and prescribing a range of paediatric products. The role requires visiting customer and healthcare establishments throughout the allocated area.

How to apply: Please send your CV and covering letter to Craig Downton (Head of Sales & Marketing) at craig.downton@careflex.co.uk or to discuss this opportunity further please call Craig on 07889 227371.

Interested parties should send a CV marked “Regional Product Specialist” by email to hr@rms-kent.co.uk Closing date Monday 17th February 2020

Mobility Showroom Manager – Camberley

Full-time Showroom Advisors – Camberley

OTE £27k-£30k pa

OTE £21k-£25k pa

Position Type: Permanent

Required: An experienced Mobility Showroom Manager for our New CareCo Showroom opening in Camberley.

Planning day to day operations and reviewing results.

Obtaining, interpreting and acting upon sales information.

We are looking for someone with a strong managerial retail background, and ideally experience in the mobility industry, to make our new showroom in Camberley a success, and build upon the CareCo (UK) Ltd name. You will be responsible for, and be part of, a customer focused team, ensuring delivery of sales targets and KPI’s whilst ensuring our exceptional company service standards are maintained. Job Description: •

Managing and motivating the team to achieve sales targets.

Maintaining and improving operations by initiating, coordinating and ensuring compliance to policies and procedures.

Managing showroom stocks, layouts, pricing, and promotions.

Ensuring staff have the product knowledge to sell effectively and enhancing this knowledge as required through effective communication and training.

Training, coaching and appraising staff.

Promoting the business by liaising and engaging with relevant local bodies

Skills: • • • • • • • • • • •

Leadership Sales driven Commercial awareness Confidence, drive and enthusiasm Good numeracy and IT Initiative Eye for detail Good verbal and written communication skills Customer focused Staff Training People handling

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

CareCo provide top quality mobility products at the UK’s lowest prices. Our showrooms are designed so that out our customers not only have an amazing shopping experience but also by getting the right advice from our fully trained sales advisors on mobility products suitable for their needs, enables them to promote their independence and quality of life both around the home and outside.

Assist customers in selecting the best products to suit their needs.

Answering Showroom calls.

Keeping the showroom to the correct standards, including general housekeeping.

As a leading independent distributor with over 13 years’ experience within the mobility industry as a group, we, at CareCo, pride ourselves on our growing reputation for supplying quality products, value for money and excellent service.

• •

Due to our rapid expansion, we are looking to recruit a full-time Mobility Advisor in our new Camberley showroom, and we provide extensive training to enable you to develop a rewarding career in the mobility industry.

• • • • • • •

Hours of work are 9am to 5pm, five days a week including weekends. Core Functions: •

Promote, sell and secure orders from existing and prospective customers through a relationship-based approach.

Demonstrate products and services to existing and potential customers

Requirements: •

Ideally have a sales background, but not essential as training is provided Good Customer Service Skills Good interpersonal skills – Day to day interaction with customers from all ages and all walks of life Ability to organise own time and multitask Good telephone manner Computer literate Polite Flexible Be driven to succeed Strong team player Excellent verbal and written skills

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk


www.thiis.co.uk | 59



Area Sales Manager – Care South of England – M40/M1 corridor North of England – North Wales, Cumbria The globally operating Geberit Group is a European leader in the field of sanitary products, with a long tradition of quality, reliability and innovation. Since its beginnings in 1874, the company has helped to shape industry developments with the company’s underlying philosophy: you can always rely on Geberit solutions. Geberit Sales Ltd are looking for an Area Sales Manager to join their Care team. As an Area Sales Manager, you will be required to support all Geberit’s sales and training activity within the GAC Care customer network, including End Users, Local Authorities, Housing Associations, distributors, dealers and contractors.

Established in 1995 Freerider Corporation has grown to become one of the largest Mobility Scooter manufacturers. We are looking to recruit a Regional Account Manager to join our sales team. We welcome applicants from all parts of Great Britain. Applicants are particularly welcome from those who are from a service background or are looking to make their first move into a B2B sales environment. Main duties & responsibilities are: Making appointments to meet new potential customers. Maintaining and developing existing customers. Identifying new markets and business opportunities. Increase market share in existing market. Achieving sales targets for revenue, profitability and sales growth Skills & experience required: Proven communication and interpersonal skills. The ability to establish and develop new and existing business. Passion for quality and commitment to delivering a first-class service. Structured approach to developing your sales area. Highly organised and able to plan and prioritise workload. Success in achieving targets and producing results Driving licence essential

within 24 hours, with a focus on same day replies • Training of specifiers, influencers, dealers and installers in line with company objectives • Attendance at trade, end user exhibitions and open day events in line with the company objectives Skills Required: • Previous field sales experience within the Care sector • Proven communication and interpersonal skills. • The ability to establish and develop new and existing business. • Passion for quality and commitment to delivering a first-class service. • Structured approach to developing your sales area. • Highly organised and able to plan and prioritise workload. • Success in achieving targets and producing results

Main Duties: • Manage own sales territory in relation to sales development, journey planning and decision making in line with company targets and requirements • Maintain and develop a portfolio of dealer and DLC networks displaying, promoting and selling Geberit AquaClean Care within the individual territory to achieve maximum sales • Jointly work with distribution partner area sales managers to discuss lead sharing and business development opportunities • Control of all administration in relation to the activity on the territory in line with company requirements, including Responding to all communications

In return we offer: Basic salary + commission, expenses, company van, mobile phone. To apply for this position please send your CV along with a covering letter to paul.fisher@freerideruk.co.uk

In return we offer: Basic Salary, Bonus, company car, mobile phone, laptop To apply for this position please send your CV to hr.gb@geberit.com Closing date – 21st February

Mobility Showroom Manager – Newcastle

Full-time Showroom Advisors – Newcastle

OTE £27k-£30k pa

OTE £21k-£25k pa

Position Type: Permanent

Required: An experienced Mobility Showroom Manager for our New CareCo Showroom opening in Newcastle.

Planning day to day operations and reviewing results.

Obtaining, interpreting and acting upon sales information.

We are looking for someone with a strong managerial retail background, and ideally experience in the mobility industry, to make our new showroom in Newcastle a success, and build upon the CareCo (UK) Ltd name. You will be responsible for, and be part of, a customer focused team, ensuring delivery of sales targets and KPI’s whilst ensuring our exceptional company service standards are maintained. Job Description: •

Managing and motivating the team to achieve sales targets.

Maintaining and improving operations by initiating, coordinating and ensuring compliance to policies and procedures.

Managing showroom stocks, layouts, pricing, and promotions.

Ensuring staff have the product knowledge to sell effectively and enhancing this knowledge as required through effective communication and training.


60 | www.thiis.co.uk

Training, coaching and appraising staff.

Promoting the business by liaising and engaging with relevant local bodies

Skills: • • • • • • • • • • •

Leadership Sales driven Commercial awareness Confidence, drive and enthusiasm Good numeracy and IT Initiative Eye for detail Good verbal and written communication skills Customer focused Staff Training People handling

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

CareCo provide top quality mobility products at the UK’s lowest prices. Our showrooms are designed so that out our customers not only have an amazing shopping experience but also by getting the right advice from our fully trained sales advisors on mobility products suitable for their needs, enables them to promote their independence and quality of life both around the home and outside.

Assist customers in selecting the best products to suit their needs.

Answering Showroom calls.

Keeping the showroom to the correct standards, including general housekeeping.

As a leading independent distributor with over 13 years’ experience within the mobility industry as a group, we, at CareCo, pride ourselves on our growing reputation for supplying quality products, value for money and excellent service.

• •

Due to our rapid expansion, we are looking to recruit a full-time Mobility Advisor in our new Newcastle showroom, and we provide extensive training to enable you to develop a rewarding career in the mobility industry.

• • • • • • •

Hours of work are 9am to 5pm, five days a week including weekends. Core Functions: •

Promote, sell and secure orders from existing and prospective customers through a relationship-based approach.

Demonstrate products and services to existing and potential customers

Requirements: •

Ideally have a sales background, but not essential as training is provided Good Customer Service Skills Good interpersonal skills – Day to day interaction with customers from all ages and all walks of life Ability to organise own time and multitask Good telephone manner Computer literate Polite Flexible Be driven to succeed Strong team player Excellent verbal and written skills

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at hr@careco.co.uk

RBF Healthcare Ltd, based in Essex, is a brand trusted by healthcare professionals nationwide Established for over 40 years and leaders in our field, as a company we pride ourselves on providing the best quality solutions with cutting edge innovation. We have been developing and marketing a range of client centred products for sale direct to end users or via the NHS, social services, private hospital, care homes and the distributor markets. We are now seeking to expand, and require Field Sales Agents as part of our continued drive for growth and improvement.

Care or NHS/Hospital sector or have sales experience within a similar healthcare environment. RBF Healthcare will supply you with business generated leads from time to time however you will also be expected to generate your own leads. In addition, you will be an excellent communicator, methodical, target orientated, and self-motivated, with the determination to succeed in a competitive market sector.

You will be selling state of art healthcare products into the private, professional and B2B market sectors and successful candidates will take responsibility for their local geographical territory. Opportunities exist to represent this exciting range of products in areas all across the United Kingdom.

Full product and demonstration training will be provided.

As part of the role you will provide product training and advise healthcare professionals on product suitability for their clients.

Available products to sell are...

Visiting customers within an allocated territory, the successful candidate will be familiar with the healthcare market sector, have experience within the Social

As this role is for a ‘Sales Agent’, this is an commission only role, effectively you will be self-employed. OTE £60,000-£80,000 dependent on selfgenerated appointments booked.

Burnett Vacuum Support Posture Range Seating, Bathing, Sleeping, Lumbar, Head, Therapy, T-Cushions

Product Specialist W Munro (Rehab) Ltd are one of the leading suppliers of moving and handling products, specialist seating, shower equipment and paediatric equipment in Scotland. We are currently looking to recruit a dynamic individual to the role of product specialist covering Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders, Fife, Aberdeenshire, and the Highlands. You will provide demonstrations and assessments for clients in hospitals, care homes and domestic settings. Key skills will include... Excellent communication skills Previous experience in a healthcare role or similar sales job Proven track record in sales Ability to work on own initiative. The successful candidate must have a full driving licence and ideally live in close proximity to the area to be covered. We offer a competitive salary, pension, company van, laptop, mobile phone and 33 days annual leave (including public holidays). To apply e-mail your CV to douglas.hazlie@wmunro.com

Bath Buddy Inflatable Bath Lift Interested parties should contact Rachael Bacon at rachael.bacon@rbfhealthcare.co.uk

01268 983842 RBF Healthcare Ltd, Unit C1A The Nore, Hovefields Avenue, Basildon, Essex, SS13 1EB

OTAC Events 2020 OTAC Midlands

Wednesday 22nd January

Who else wants their product in front of HUNDREDS of occupational therapists? OTAC is the UK’s only FREE occupational therapy and adaptations conference, giving retailers valuable opportunities to showcase their products, and OTs crucial knowledge of products that can make their clients’ lives better?

OTAC Reading Wednesday 8th July


OTAC Llanelli

Wednesday 5th February

OTAC Southampton Wednesday 9th September


OTAC Leeds

OTAC Newcastle

OTAC Exeter


OTAC Cambridge

OTAC Chester

Wednesday 22nd April

Wednesday 13th May

Wednesday 17th June

Wednesday 21st October

Wednesday 4th November

Wednesday 9th December

All Events Proudly Sponsored by:

To talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, call us now on: 02921 900 401 or email karen@promoting-independence.co.uk


To book your FREE tickets visit our website or email sally@promoting-independence.co.uk For more information on exhibiting please contact karen@promoting-independence.co.uk


“Thiis20” to receive


Show guide inserts


Business Development Manager

Clinical Product Advisor

Base salary £35k with £50k OTE – North of England

£25k - £32k + Commission - London, South and occasionally West of England

Having been established for over 25 years, the client is a market leader in patient handling equipment, having achieved consistent growth with local authorities and the community. This is a new role that will focus on generating new business and growing existing business with loan stores, local authorities and dealers across the north of England, including the Midlands, Lincolnshire, North Wales, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Manchester, Lancashire, Yorkshire up to Northumberland. Your main focus will be on slings but includes hoists and bathing aids. Ideally, you will have experience in offering patient handling equipment to loan stores, authorities and dealers. However, those with experience of selling other products to this market will be considered. Must have B2B experience. Base salary of £35k plus commission, £50k OTE. Benefits include a company vehicle, phone, laptop and 22 days holiday, increasing with service.

Area Sales Manager £30k plus commission - North of England, Yorkshire, East Midlands and Lincolnshire Having been established for over 25 years, the client is a leader in patient handling equipment, achieving consistent growth with local authorities and the community. As an area sales manager, your main responsibility will be to carry out demonstrations and assessments of a range of patient handling equipment such as slings, hoists and bathing equipment, working alongside clinical nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. 80% of the existing business involves focusing on managing the territory with an already strong reputation. We would like to hear from candidates who have a background in patient handling or have experience working with slings, hoists, bathing equipment or stairlifts. The candidate should be used to working with therapists or will have worked as a therapist with this type of equipment. Base salary of £30k plus commission, £40k OTE with potential to earn more. Other benefits of the role include a company van, phone, laptop and 22 days holiday, increasing with service.

Territory Manager £28k-£34k + yearly bonus - South West England, West Midlands and Wales The client, a manufacturer and supplier of postural aids for both adults and children, is recently new to the UK market with an international offering. Rapid growth in the UK has led to a new opportunity for someone to be part of a growing business with high potential financially and with progression opportunities. You will be responsible for both business development and product demonstrations across the South West, West Midlands and Wales. You will be working directly with end-users alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists and neuro physiotherapists, offering a range of postural products such as standing aids for children and adults. This is a great opportunity to join a really good, rapidly growing company with good values, a strong bonus structure and progression opportunities. Candidates who have experience in selling postural aids are of interest. People who have worked as a therapist or in a therapy setting will also be considered.

Our client has been established for over 40 years and provides exceptional quality equipment within the healthcare sector. Our client prides themselves on providing first-class customer service in all healthcare facilities and also in clients homes. The equipment our client specialises in is pressure care, patient handling and hygiene. The professional team within this business strive to find solutions to ensure the comfort and independence of all of their clients. You will be demonstrating and carrying out assessments within the patient turning/positioning and lifting/transfer sector and will also be involved in training and trials involving installations. Technical sales will also be part of this role. You will manage your own diary on a daily basis attending existing appointments and also seek new opportunities. You will be working in professional care environments as well as independent living. You will have strong organisational skills and possess a positive and professional attitude with all clients and your team. High energy levels and the drive to succeed in providing exceptional customer service is key. Being a team player and having excellent communication skills is vital in this role. You ideally will have a strong understanding and knowledge of the products. It will also be advantageous if you come from a background of either an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. A full clean valid UK driving licence is required. Basic £25000-£32000 (depending on experience), quarterly commission structure is currently being finalised. Company van, technology devices as required. 20 days holiday (BH on top)

Head of UK Sales £55k – Hertfordshire, Worcester, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Shropshire, Gloucestershire Our client is the UK’s leading supplier of AAC technology and has been established for over 15 years. Our client creates the highest quality technology within the healthcare and private sector to support individuals with disabilities to live more independently and to be able to communicate to loved ones and those around them through assistive technology devices and software. You will lead and manage a team of 7 assistive technology specialists in the UK and Ireland. You will be responsible for delivering your sales targets, which are set out annually for you and your team, by promoting and selling high-quality software technology within the healthcare and private sector. You will also be responsible for developing sales in the UK by being hands-on and leading your team to success. Communication is vital in this new exciting role as you will be building relationships with customers and leading a highly talented and motivated team. You will have previous experience of managing a team and also leading them to success. You will be seen as a role model by your colleagues and possess a positive and professional attitude. It is essential you have good knowledge of the AAC industry and market and also come from a background of sales with a proven track record of success and achievements within your team. This role will involve extensive travel and you must hold a full clean valid UK Driving licence. Salary up to £55000 (depending on experience). Company car, Or allowance, 25 days holiday on top of bank holidays, pension scheme, laptop, phone

Base salary of between £28k-£34k, depending on experience, plus a bonus of up to 20 percent of yearly salary, company van, phone and laptop.

To apply for any role, confidentially send a copy of your CV to antony@trustedrecruiter.co.uk to discuss further

0333 0144 014 www.trustedrecruiter.co.uk 62 | www.thiis.co.uk







All the benefits of an automatically folding scooter with superb stability and pneumatic tyres. Stylish and compact, the Minimo Autofold scooter is ideal for taking in the car or on a plane and features all the build quality you would expect from TGA.

To enquire about adding the Minimo Autofold to your range

Call 01787 888 106

or email trade.sales@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THSA20

The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985

Profile for THIIS

THIIS February 2020  

In the February issue for 2020, THIIS catches up with one of the Midlands' growing mobility and access specialists Dolphin Lift Midlands fol...

THIIS February 2020  

In the February issue for 2020, THIIS catches up with one of the Midlands' growing mobility and access specialists Dolphin Lift Midlands fol...

Profile for thiis