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THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 232 • January 2018



Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Issue 232 January 2018

10 out of 10 Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

How one retailer’s journey led her from the East Coast to 10 Downing Street MORE ABOUT...


AHM Installations

People First Mobility


Partner Programmes 3 options designed for your business

The Stiltz 10-point Referral Partner Guarantee Our entry-level partner programme option will deliver: 1. Minimum £1000 commission – guaranteed! 2. An opportunity to refer a unique and exciting product range 3. Same day customer call back to make appointment to visit 4. Maximum visit lead time is 48 hours from receiving your lead* 5. Market leading expertise in Homelifts 6. Specialist sales consultants guarantee unrivalled conversion 7. We will keep you in the loop every step of the way 8. Referrals treated with same respect as you treat your customers 9. Prompt and efficient commission payments 10. Sell just 5 Stiltz Homelifts, and receive a Generous Loyalty Bonus *Unless delay is requested by customer

Other partnership levels ... Affiliate Partners promote and market Stiltz products, undertake customer home visits and complete the sale. Stiltz will manage technical surveys and installation of the Homelift. You will receive flexible head office marketing support.

Top tier Premium Partners promote and market Stiltz Homelifts to new and existing customers and also carry out installations. Comprehensive marcoms support will be provided as well as full technical and product training.

To discuss how the programme can work for you, email or call Gino on 07940 437835


…from the editor Now that the festive fun is over and the mince pies have all been devoured, it is time to get back into the swing of things and for our first issue of 2018, THIIS examines an industry issue that was prominent in the news throughout 2017; mobility scooter accidents.


fter statistics revealed that the number of incidents involving mobility scooters has continued to rise over the years, various organisations, businesses, MPs, newspapers and more shared their thoughts and solutions on the matter. We take an in-depth look at why the numbers have continued to rise and review some of the solutions put forward. This month’s Retailer Spotlight features People First Mobility’s Karen Sheppard, who shares her experiences, awards, aspirations and opinions about the industry, as well as discussing her recent tour around the home of the Prime Minister. Bathing and toileting products are the focus of January’s Product Showcase and THIIS spoke to AHM Installations to discover why the company moved away from selling mobility products and dedicated itself to home adaptations. THIIS is always on the look out for interesting thoughts, news and views relating to the industry. If you have anything you would like to share, feel free to get in contact with myself at any time. I wish all our readers all the success for the year to come.

Calvin Barnett

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

Editor Calvin Barnett 01933 278086

Advertising Enquiries Greg Askew 01933 272437


You can find THIIS on Twitter at: wwwthiiscouk

THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, 2-4 Meadow Close, Ise Valley Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4BH • 01933 278 086 • 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.



24 Are accidents bound to happen?

Features 6 Ableworld discusses 2018 ambitions 34 People First by name putting people first by nature 52 Product Showcase – Bathing and toileting

56 British Healthcare Trades Awards 2017 Winners

Regulars 10

Deal On!


More about‌


Round Up


Retailer spotlight




Training Diary

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48 45-years & counting

22 Time for change?

44 Meet Julian Cobbledick

Ring in the New Year in style, Happy New Year from all at KYMCO UK! We’re looking forward to another great year with you, in 2018. Many thanks to you, for all of your continued support! Please contact your Area Manager for a bumper start to the year!

K-Lite Comfort & Mini Comfort lightweight & convenient, for your customers

CALL YOUR AREA SALES MANAGER NOW! Central – Patrick Bevan 07803 000017

South West – Martin Garrett 07850 501634

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North – Brian McCarry 07714 739763

Ableworld Southport opens its doors

AN ABLEWORLD HERE, AN ABLEWORLD THERE… Ableworld opened its latest store in Southport in December 2017 and has confirmed to THIIS that there are more stores to follow in the coming years.


he new Southport store was opened by local businessman Barry Pearson, who secured a joint venture deal with Ableworld back in 2014. Barry has since expanded his retail operation across the North West and, according to the company, seen great success in offering quality mobility products in the St Helens, Wigan, Wavertree and Salford areas. He has now set his sights on Southport, planning to provide the same support and help to the area. With a number of established mobility retailers already operating in Southport, THIIS asked Paul Boniface, Director for Ableworld, how the company plans to stay ahead of its competitors. “Whenever we open anywhere new there is competition, however, we have a very good customer proposition. Our customers can shop in our well-appointed, well-stocked

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stores for competitively priced products and be helped by very welltrained staff,” explained Paul. “The need for Ableworld’s products and services, including stairlifts, is growing. The number of additional people requiring mobility aids increases every year. It is a growing business and like all businesses the customer will decide which ones succeed. We believe we have the necessary ingredients for customers to want to shop at Ableworld and for

us to meet their high expectations for products and services that make their lives more comfortable and active.” The company has enjoyed continued success over the years, expanding across the UK with both its own stores and it franchises. Paul gave us some insight as to what 2018 has instore for the ambitious mobility retailer. “We see several areas of growth in the next couple of years and we will continue to expand ourselves by

“We see several areas of growth in the next couple of years and we will continue to expand ourselves by opening new stores, especially in the North West” PAUL BONIFACE


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The new store stocks an extensive range

opening new stores, especially in the North West. We will also continue to expand and upgrade existing stores, as we have done recently at Newport, with two more major store upgrades planned for early 2018,” he confirmed. An area of the business that has seen particular growth is the company’s franchises, which achieved a 16.5 percent increase in like-for-like sales in 2017 from the previous years, with Ableworld keen to develop on this momentum. Paul told THIIS: “We would also like to see new franchisees join our network. The underlying business is as good as it has ever been and as the market leader we are in a strong position to help others who want to go into business for themselves but not by themselves. “We also expect some of our stronger franchises to take advantage of a recent franchise incentive to open second stores either within their current territory or close by.” Driving this growth, Paul explained

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that there is no magic bullet to success, but rather, it is the result of hard graft by their franchisees backed up with the right support. “The simple answer is hard work. No success comes without the franchisees putting their heart and soul into the business,” he commented. “Of course, we as franchisors provide the platform insofar as we

have a large range of well-priced products and excellent back-up for the franchisees in marketing, retail, operations, engineering and accounting expertise but it is the franchisees who have to put it all into practice – and that requires skill and effort.”

More about the store... From its spacious premises, the Southport store stocks a very wide range of products including larger items such as mobility scooters, wheelchairs, adjustable beds and rise and recline chairs but also many smaller items to help with day to day tasks. Ableworld also hold a wide range of products to help with bathing, toileting, dressing and a range of continence care products, as well as installing stairlifts and servicing scooters. Ableworld Southport is located at the Shakespeare Centre, Shakespeare Street, Southport, PR8 5AB with convenient, ample free parking. Open 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday.

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trade deals

DealON! Looking for a deal? Then this is the place to come. Deal On features the best trade deals you will find this month. Just pick up the phone to take advantage... All offers are valid until January 31st 2018 unless otherwise stated.


Single unit orders available with no minimum order quantity! John Preston Healthcare is supplying five new products to the trade which can bring new customers to businesses: ATTO / Airwheel H3 / Foldachair D09 / Firefly / Nino Call Aidan McCormack on 028 92 633 798 or email to find out more

Two Free Home Delivery Smartphone Apps (worth £750)* UNIQUS® iRetailer. Stock & barcode management software specially designed for the VAT complexities of mobility retailers. Affordable subscription. No big initial outlay. Fully integrate your quotation, sales, purchasing and stock process on one platform. Cloud based and paperless, iRetailer CRM will help you gain efficiency, save time and increase sales opportunities. See our advertisement in this issue or visit *Requires Windows Smartphone. Order before end of January 2018 to qualify.

Free Haze smart charger... ...with your first order of four or more batteries (18Ah and bigger) Please call Easystart on 01536 203030 or email for more information

Installer Partner Programme Stiltz Home Lifts are looking to develop their new, exciting Installer Partner Programme. Signing up for both sales and installation will make the Stiltz business far more profitable that a straightforward sale. Full training will be provided. For more information, call/email Trade Sales Director, Gino Farruggio on 07940 437 835 /


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FISH INSURANCE ANNOUNCES THREE MONTHS’ FREE INSURANCE OFFER Fish Insurance has unveiled a new Appointed Representative (AR) Scheme, designed to give more benefits to the mobility retailers they collaborate with.


he suite of benefits includes three months’ free insurance for customers that purchase a mobility scooter, as well as the opportunity for dealers to become part of an Approved Repairer Network. THREE MONTHS’ FREE Customers purchasing mobility scooters from retailers that are ARs of Fish Insurance will receive three months’ free mobility scooter insurance. Andy Mellor, Head of Business Partnerships & Operations at Fish Insurance, said: “We understand how important your customers’ mobility is, so that’s why we want to ensure they can travel in confidence, knowing that their mobility scooter is protected. As part of our new AR Scheme, we want to give you the chance to protect your customers against mobility scooter loss or damage by giving them three

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months of free insurance.” After this three-month period, customers will then be given the chance to extend their cover. THE APPROVED REPAIRER NETWORK Fish has also launched their Approved Repairer Network, providing a selection of their carefully-chosen partners the chance to receive repair referrals from Fish’s contact centre. Should a Fish Insurance policyholder need a repair to their mobility scooter, the insurer will source a dealer from their Approved Repairer

Network and arrange for them to complete the work. Andy commented: “We want to send customers to a reliable company if they have been involved in an accident and need a repair. Our Approved Repairer Network gives our partners a chance to become one of these trusted repairers, helping customers in their time of need and earning extra income along the way.” To find out more about the Appointed Representative scheme, contact 0333 331 3954.

“We want to send customers to a reliable company if they have been involved in an accident and need a repair” ANDY MELLOR

OT perspective


MOBILITY SCOOTERS: THE 16 QUESTIONS TO ASK TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOUR CLIENTS As an OT, I’ve done a lot of home visits in my time, and often, it’s been to look at scooter access or to dispense advice about how to choose the right scooter

I Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence

n order to help you navigate these tricky waters, I’ve put together a quick guide on what to consider when it comes to scooters for your customers and the questions you need to ask in order to ensure

and will need to be tested to ensure it actually fits in the car! When it comes to holidays, check out Calvert Trust – they provide holidays for the disabled and will have the necessary facilities to accommodate a scooter. What does the clients’ typical day consist of? Does the client pop to the shops or do longer journeys?

the best outcome: How easy is it to get on and off? It’s vital to ensure that your client can transfer on and off a scooter, and my advice here is that you test it out in a couple of environments (like outside and down the road) and not just in the showroom! Is it comfortable enough for longer trips? My suggestion is that your client sits on the chosen scooter for at least 10 minutes to bed in and ensure it is comfortable enough. Does it fit in the car and can it go on holidays? If the scooter needs to be transported in a car regularly, then it needs to fold

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How will it be charged? There are lots of mobility scooter charging points around the UK but it’s wise to ensure your client knows where their closest is and that they ensure that it is fully charged before you set off on your journey. Where will it be stored? This is vital, as communal flats no longer allow storage within hallways, so there must be space to store the scooter in the client’s home. Depending on their circumstances, your client may be eligible to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to fund a scooter store externally to your property. What is the height and weight?

Clearly any scooter needs to be lightweight whilst still being sturdy. What is the budget? This is an important consideration – care should be taken to make certain that clients do not overstretch financially. If either their medical condition or benefits change, they may no longer be able to afford the scooter or manage it. Is the client looking to travel on public roads? Ensure the scooter is designed for road or pavement – this is usually based on speed limit of the scooter. Is the client looking to take the scooter onto public transport? The key here is that the scooter folds up and is small enough to take on a bus or train. Are there any kerbs or obstructions on usual journeys? Larger scooters are best in this scenario, as well as purpose-built scooters that are designed to overcome kerbs and obstructions. What surface will they usually be travelling on?


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OT perspective If the client is based in the country, a different tyre will be needed to an urban environment. Are there steep hills or slopes nearby? Scooter guidance states 1:12 is the maximum slope that should be considered by a scooter, and to be safe 1:15. Effectively, this means for every one metre of slope depth there should be a 12-metre ramp as a minimum. Will the client need to carry shopping or a pet on the scooter? Specific accessories can be purchased to aid the client with both of these things. Will the scooter be used around the home? If so, the client may be eligible to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to

adapt the home for ramped access and widened doorways. Does your client have a medical condition that means a modification of the scooter is required? (bold) Modifications can be made and specialist assessment centres across the UK can assist with this. If a medical condition like epilepsy or a neurological disorder causes deficit in capability it may mean that you should not have a scooter on a road, but can continue to use the scooter on the pavement.

a scooter, often the first point of call is the Motability Scheme, enabling disabled people to lease a new scooter, powered wheelchair or car by exchanging their mobility allowance.

Next steps If you are seeking to purchase or rent

Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence is a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and a recognised expert in the field of home adaptations. His experience is sought by manufacturers and service providers looking for an expert opinion. Stuart also runs the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference (OTAC).


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Before AHM Installation adaptation


AHM INSTALLATIONS What happens in your business when you get an enquiry for a bathroom adaptation, maybe one that requires a good deal of work and technical knowledge? Are you able to meet your customer’s needs or do you find yourself passing on the opportunity to do the work?


f it’s the latter, then you may well be interested in talking to AHM Installations. From starting life as a normal retailer, selling a range of mobility products, the company now specialises solely in the adaptation marketplace and is comfortable taking on any job of any size. What’s more, the company is looking to pay attractive commissions to retailers that pass on enquiries to them. How it all started Simon Symcox opened the mobility business in Lincoln in 2001 and almost stumbled across the

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opportunity for bathing installation as he told us: “We started the bathing installation side as an off-shoot of the mobility business we were running. Before that we were selling the usual products such as stairlifts and scooters. It paid the bills and it was very much a lifestyle business for us.” It was a chance meeting with a

Building Control Officer that put the seeds of an idea into Simon’s head. “I was on-site quoting for a stairlift and he explained that he was having trouble getting someone to quote for the bathing installation work. At that time, I knew very little about that work, although I did understand about pumps and pipes as I had studied

“It’s very technical and it can be extremely complex. It can be like juggling 25 balls at once!” SIMON SYMCOX

After AHM Installation adaptation

engineering. My ears pricked up and we put in a quote for the work using products from companies such as AKW and Eurocare and we put a price in more on a wing and a prayer than anything else.” That was the start as Simon explained: “I told the Building Control Officer that we were quoting because we thought we could do the job properly and the only thing that I could guarantee was that we would get it done, but I couldn’t give him a timescale. We got the job and it ended up taking us something like three weeks to complete, whereas now we would install a wetroom within four or five days.” Nowadays, Simon says that the bathing business accounts for ‘virtually all the turnover’. “We stopped selling other mobility products in July of this year simply because the mobility operation became sidelined as the bathing side dominated everything that we were doing and when you fit as many bathrooms as we do, you just don’t have time for much else. We now fit between 15 and 22 bathrooms a week, most of those are our own sales but we are fitting more and more for trade partners too these days.”

Reaching out to retailers About a year ago, Simon started to trial generating referrals from mobility retailers that didn’t want to get involved in installations themselves. “We started working with a few retailers in our area to start with. Not all are in a position to get involved as they have space restriction in their

Navy as a helicopter pilot and is now a director of the business based in the Taunton outlet. “He had always taken an interest in the business and he now runs the South-West area.” Retailers that take advantage of the referral scheme receive 10% commissions on any sales, which can range from an average £4,700-

“We stopped selling other mobility products in July of this year simply because the mobility operation became side-lined as the bathing side dominated everything” SIMON SYMCOX

showrooms and cannot allocate space for a display, but we are getting enquiries from some retailers at the moment and we are keen to develop that.” The company has branches in Taunton and Maidstone as well as the main showroom in Newark and so can cover quite a lot of the country. Both the Taunton and Maidstone outlets are located in garden centres. Simon’s son, Charlie, joined the business three years ago after a career in the Royal

£5,000 up to £12,000 or more. “We tend to do some fairly sophisticated installations that include taking out walls and so we are going beyond just the bathing these days.” A complex job One of the reasons that Simon is keen to offer the referral scheme is that he understands that the type of projects he and his team get involved in isn’t for everyone. “It’s very technical” he says, “and it can be extremely | 19

complex. It can be like juggling 25 balls at once! You have so many different variables on a job, from a number of major components that have to be ordered, a whole host of consumables such as pipework and drainage items, skips to be on site, making sure that the customer will have facilities while the installation takes place and a lot more things that have to be factored into the equation. If just one of them goes wrong, then the whole thing starts to fall apart.” “We like to think of all our installations as a customer journey and with each job, a member of the team oversees it from start to finish and so they have responsibility to make sure it all happens correctly, right through until the job gets signed off by the customer. It can be a very involved process and I guess that’s why quite a few mobility retailers don’t look at doing it for themselves.” “The reality” Simon suggests, “is that most mobility retailers would prefer to sell a bathlift rather than look at a much bigger option and when someone doesn’t have a high level of mobility issues, then a bathlift will work for many people. However, when they get to the next stage, where a bathlift just won’t do the job, then they tend to find it difficult to offer the solutions as they don’t have all the right people in place. What they really need is someone to come in, take both them and their customer under their wing and nurse them through the process and that’s what we can offer.” “This isn’t new” he adds, “other companies do this, but we believe that we are different. There are lots of national shower companies out there and lots of local plumbers and we sit in between the two. The difference

Charlie, Julie and Simon Symcox

between using a local plumber and using ourselves, is that we have a much broader knowledge of what can be achieved in terms of the products and design. We do much more than just fit a standard accessible shower, we can really tailor the installation to the customer. The same is true of the national shower companies too, they also have a very narrow offering and the salespeople are tied to certain products. We go in with a more technical approach and offer

think all powerchairs are the same? think again....

customers alternatives. Not everyone wants a standard wetroom and so we find the solutions that maybe other companies wouldn’t offer.” For more information on the referral scheme, call 0800 731 6495. 01656 776222


#redefiningmobility Linx email signature 4.indd 1

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touchscreen n

21/11/2017 16:39:47

REGISTER YOUR LEADS AND WIN. IT’S EASY! January’s Prize With every lead that you register this gives you one entry into our prize draw so the more leads you register the bigger your chance of winning.



There are many benefits to registering as a Companion Accredited Partner As a Companion Accredited Partner your benefits include:


• Healthy rates of commission


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HAPPY NEW YEAR – THE PERFECT TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE OR TWO According to an article I read recently, only eight percent of New Year’s resolutions are actually kept By David Russell and so if you have already had a secret cigarette, succumbed to that glass of wine on a weekday evening or missed the first few spin classes at that new gym you’ve just joined, then don’t feel too bad about it – you’re not alone!


ommitting to do something at 11.55pm on New Year’s Eve, after a few drinks is one thing, but how about a making a resolution for your business? How do you approach the New Year from a business perspective? Do you just open up after the Christmas break and keep doing what you have always done or do you treat the turn of the year as an opportunity to do something different? A clean slate; a blank page. January is a great time to change something in the business. It’s a natural starting point and just as you probably spent some time clearing out all the stuff you don’t need any more at the end of last year, now is the perfect time to take stock and take action. But, what to do? Here are couple of very simple suggestions. The first is to plan to do something that you have never done before. You may already have a ‘wish list’ of things you would like to try in the business and, if so, why not choose one and make a commitment to implement a plan. If you haven’t already got a list of things you would like to do, then just ask yourself this question – what is the one thing that would make a

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real difference to our business right now? If you can come up with that, then you’ll have something really worthwhile to focus on. The second suggestion is to think about something you have done in the business in the past and that has worked really well, but that you are not doing right now. In any business you’ll find initiatives and campaigns that were run successfully, but that have simply faded away. You may have got bored with ‘doing the same thing’ or believe that your customers are getting bored with it. Actually, it’s more likely that you will get bored a good deal quicker than your customers.

So, what have you done in the past that has worked, but that you have stopped doing? Bring back an old favourite and you may well be surprised at just how well it works again. Finally, if I haven’t yet convinced you to take the plunge and make a change, then don’t listen to me – listen to a genius. It was Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. It’s difficult to argue with that!

MORE ABOUT DAVID... David has over 35 years’ experience in the industry and has worked with manufacturers and retailers, running a network of retailers with 40+ outlets. He launched THIIS magazine in 1999 and edited over 200 issues and now offers advice and practical help for both retailers and suppliers looking to develop in the marketplace. You can find out more about the services on offer at

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Boost your business profits through bathroom adaptation referrals? Selling a bath lifter can temporarily solve mobility bathing issues. Why not double or triple your profits through referral commission, by offering your clients a bespoke bathroom adaptation?

What you get: • Referral commission on every bathroom sold • Trained AHM Surveyor in your area to assist you • Nationwide installation service established for 18 years • Refined ‘customer journey’ experience based on family values • Access to a full range of wetrooms, walk in baths and low level showers.

How to sign up: • Call us 0800 7316495 • You will receive FREE posters, banners and leaflets • FREE visit from a Surveyor to advise your staff on products.

How it works: • Call us with a new customer’s details • Our trained Surveyor will visit your customer and quote FREE of charge • After ordering the installation completes in approx. 3-4 weeks • You are paid referral commission on completion.

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ARE ACCIDENTS BOUND TO HAPPEN? After statistics released by the Department for Transport revealed a rise in the number of accidents involving mobility scooters, questions regarding safety are being asked inside and outside the industry. Is enough being done to safeguard users and the public and whose responsibility is it to ensure users are operating the vehicles safely?


ccording to figures released by the Department of Transport, there were 260 reported accidents involving mobility scooters in 2016, equating to a 17% increase on the previous year and standing in stark contrast to the 84 reported in 2012. Worryingly, the number of fatalities in 2016 also saw a sharp increase, rising by 75% on the eight fatalities reported the previous year. The figures reveal a concerning rising number of accidents annually

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involving mobility vehicles, leading to the media, charities, police forces, universities, the industry and even MPs to question what can be done to keep scooter users and the public safe. Do more scooters equal more accidents? The UK has been dubbed the mobility scooter capital of Europe, with more and more mobility scooters taking to roads and pavements each year. In

2017, it was estimated that there were between 300,000 to 350,000 people using mobility scooters, with the number expected to rise 10 percent per year. The amount of people aged 65 and over in the UK is predicted to grow 23 percent by 2033 and as the age of the population in the United Kingdom continues to grow, so too will the number of residents turning to mobility scooters to maintain their independence and mobility.


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Some argue that the increase in accidents is a natural consequence of more users and scooters being on the road, however, others are questioning the amount of training and assessment being provided. A lack of legislation One of the key issues surrounding accidents and mobility vehicles relates to the lack of legislation surrounding the sector. Class 3 mobility scooters do have to be registered with the DVLA, however, users do not need to undergo any form of mandatory training or assessment before sharing the roads with other motor vehicles. Users of the mobility devices are also expected to adhere to the Highway Code, yet are able to purchase and ride the scooters without having to show any form of proof that they understand the rules under which they are to operate the vehicles. Paula Massey, Director of United Mobility Training has been campaigning for many years to introduce mandatory training for all users of mobility scooters.

the means of purchasing a mobility scooter are becoming ever easier. The legislation surrounding the use of class 3 mobility scooters on public roads has been criticised by other organisations, including charities, police forces and by some in the Government as being out-of-date, particularly as the users of such devices are often some of the most vulnerable in society. In 2012, Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Devonport, called on the Government to implement some form of for compulsory training to be given to people who use mobility scooters and for stricter safety checks, whilst in 2016, Conservative MP Kevin Foster suggested that mobility scooters should carry number plates – suggestions rejected by the Government. Relying on ethical retailers With mobility scooter users not being required to undergo any form of formal assessment or training, often the responsibility to ensure that a person is suitable for a vehicle lies with a retailer at the point of sale. This means that the safety of an individual

“Training is the simplest way to minimise the risk of incidents” SARAH LEPAK

She told THIIS: “There are currently over 350,000 mobility scooter users in Britain, driving on public roads and pavements with no legal requirement to undertake any form of training before use. This puts the user, other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk.” Offering training, in association with TJ Services Wales Ltd, Paula aims to reduce the risk to the general public and to ensure that drivers of mobility scooters have the necessary skills and confidence to drive independently and safely. Currently, there are is also no legal eyesight requirement to drive a mobility scooter and no legal requirement for insurance, whilst

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looking for a device is often left to the scruples of the individual selling it. Crawley-based Wings Mobility noted the need for retailers to prioritise safety, stating: “We, at Wings Mobility, do not take our responsibilities of selling mobility equipment lightly and implore other bigger retailers to adopt the same attitude. Whilst we cannot influence every factor in the trend of increasing incidents we can, very surely, ensure that we sell these medical devices with the level of professionalism that is required.” This is a view shared by Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids, commenting: “As responsible retailers and as a BHTA member, we must make sure our

United Mobility Training’s Paula Massey would like to run her programme nationwide

customers are protected. I think we have a moral obligation to do the right thing.” There are numerous retailers in the industry that have voluntarily opted to administer assessments and training to ensure the safety of customers. Retail members of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) for example developed a standard assessment form that all members are required to administer when selling a mobility vehicle, as well as ensuring all members record the training provided to customers. The need for training Across the industry, it is widely accepted that training is key for reducing the number of accidents involving mobility scooters. Sarah Lepak, Director of Governance & Policy at the BHTA, stated: “Training is the simplest way to minimise the risk of incidents.” Wings Mobility highlight however, that simply having a customer briefly drive around a store may not give them the necessary training needed to traverse the real world. The company asked if anyone would ‘grant someone a driving licence on the strength of a driving test carried out on a test track within a warehouse? The reality is that pavements and roads in the UK present hazards and unexpected challenges that cannot be simulated in an artificial environment.’ | 27

This is a view supported by United Mobility Training’s Paula Massey, who told us: “Just riding around a store for a short while is not sufficient enough for users to gain an understanding of the power of the scooter or to learn the skills required to drive in public spaces with the associated hazards of pedestrians, obstacles and traffic. “Additionally, market research has identified that many users complained of a lack of training and little knowledge of what to expect when using the scooters in public, with only a handful actually admitting they didn’t need training.” Wings Mobility detailed the training provided to their customers, which includes taking customers through the day-to-day situations they will find themselves in, including traversing slopes, drop kerbs to cross a road, rough ground and even occasionally taking customers in and out of supermarket aisles.

scooter safety, with Nottingham Trent University presently creating an innovative mobility scooter training video which will be sent to Shopmobilities to help educate users. Despite this, the number of accidents has still increased annually, questioning whether these ad-hoc activities have the necessary impact to curb the national trend of rising accidents and fatalities. Can voluntary only go so far Although various initiatives are being undertaken to help increase awareness regarding mobility scooters safety, the ability for customers to easily acquire vehicles unsuitable for them without being assessed or trained is easier than ever and is a key challenge for retailers determined to act ethically in the industry. Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility, explained a situation where despite acting in the

“Just riding around a store for a short while is not sufficient enough for users to gain an understanding of the power of the scooter or to learn the skills required to drive in public spaces” PAULA MASSEY

United Mobility Training also offer in-depth training relating to mobility vehicles, delivering a course over a three-hour session which takes users through the Highway Code, safety aspects, the importance of insurance and how to navigate real world obstacles. Retailers such as Ableworld, Lifestyle & Mobility and more have gone one step further, offering free mobility scooter proficiency lessons in partnership with care homes, police forces, charities and local communities to help ensure mobility scooter users have the skills and knowledge needed to keep themselves and others they share the roads and pavements with safe. Additionally, charities and institutions including universities have also turned their attention to mobility

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best interests of a customer, she was unable to change the outcome. “At our shop, we assess all their needs, asking what conditions they may have, how do they intend to use it, how far do they intend to travel and more. Then we advise based off that information and make sure we sit them down and try out the products with them. We give advice how the product should be used and make sure they are comfortable using it. “We had a customer come in who was adamant that she wanted a particular lightweight car boot scooter which had an 18-stone weight limit. She was heavier than that so we had to tell her she was unsuitable for that mobility scooter and refused to sell it to her.” “A week later, we saw her ride past on the scooter. It may have been that

she had gone online to purchase it or may have gone to a competitor but the concern is the scooter is not suitable for her and more importantly, is dangerous.” With the rise of internet and with no legislation relating to the user requirements of mobility scooters, there are more sellers for customers to turn to who do not operate with the same stringent assessment and safety processes as other retailers in the industry. Moreover, these companies that do not have the costs of training and assessment are often able to offer the vehicles at lower prices to that of retailers that do provide these services. Ian Gray, Director of Torbay Mobility, commented: “All mobility scooter purchasers should be given training. The biggest culprits for not training customers and therefore certainly contributing significantly to the increase in accidents are internet/ online sellers.” Whilst sellers providing training and assessment is vital, Darren Macey, Business Development Manager at Lifestyle & Mobility and the man behind the company’s proficiency training scheme with local councils, also explained that even though training may be available, users may not voluntarily participate. “The problem is that although councils and us as retailers can offer it, it can’t be enforced,” he said. “We are there if the council wants

Some retailers such as Ableworld are working with local communities to offer training and raise awareness

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us to put on a council proficiency test day then we are happy to do that free of charge, however, we can’t force the users to take part.” Is legislation needed? A controversial topic is that of regulations and legislation concerning the requirements for individuals to ride mobility vehicles and the conditions under which they are sold. A key argument in favour of regulation is its ability to level the playing field, with retailers that voluntarily undertake assessments and training being at a disadvantage to those that offer very little or none. “Some form of regulation will need to be brought in I think because something is needed across the board that every seller is included under,” commented People First Mobility’s Karen Sheppard. “We won’t sell a product to somebody if it is not right for them and it is something we all feel very strongly about because I don’t want that on my conscious. If people are looking for something that is cheap and unsuitable, then I don’t want to be a part of that, but the concern is how easy it is for customers to find that.” Torbay Mobility’s Ian Gray suggested: “All mobility scooters should have an ‘MOT’ - type of test annually at a physical mobility retail store.” Discussions surrounding driving licenses for mobility scooter users, compulsory testing and re-testing, mandatory training & assessment and more have all been raised, yet the magnitude of introducing and enforcing such wide sweeping regulations has raised doubts as to how realistic it would be to implement on a national scale. Wings Mobility noted that whilst legislation is always an option, it is important to ‘remember that for any new laws to be effective they must be enforced. Who will meet the responsibility, or costs, for that?’ With such high potential costs for implementing and enforcing such legislation, there seems to be little appetite in the Government to

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introduce such laws, with previous calls from MPs gaining little traction in the House of Parliament. One possible solution proposed was the introduction of compulsory insurance. At present, users do not need insurance for a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, although it is recommended by the Government. As a response to the rise in mobility scooter accidents, retailer TPG DisableAids made the decision to include insurance with every mobility vehicle the company sold, however Alastair Gibbs suggested that compulsory insurance may not be the answer. “The compulsory insurance route is so full of pitfalls and unfair to some of the customers that can’t afford it and yet have no choice but to be in a

regulations will remain a hot topic inside and outside the industry. There are a large proportion of retailers operating ethically in the industry and providing the necessary assessment and training required when selling mobility vehicles, however, consumers are becoming ever more price-sensitive and can easily go to internet-sellers who are able to offer cheaper prices without the overheads associated with training and assessment costs. If this trend continues, there is a worrying chance that the trend of accidents may not see a decline, especially with the number of mobility scooter users expected to continue to increase significantly over the coming years. This intensifies the need to raise

“The compulsory insurance route is so full of pitfalls and unfair to some of the customers that can’t afford it and yet have no choice but to be in a mobility device” ALASTAIR GIBBS

mobility device,” he explained. With some insurance companies such as Fish Insurance offering customers of the retailers they work free insurance for a limited period, a concern is that compulsory insurance would push up prices for consumers, pricing out those who rely on these products to maintain their mobility and independence. Can the trend fall? Although legislation may be a way off, conversations over safety and

awareness nationally about the importance of training, the dangers of operating a mobility vehicle without it and encouraging consumers to purchase from responsible retailers, as well as continuing to build on the activities currently done by various organisations, charities and business in the industry. What are your thoughts concerning the rise of mobility scooter accidents? Contact to share your thoughts.

CLASS IS IN SESSION Mobility Scooters (referred to as invalid carriages in law) come in two classes. Class 2 invalid carriages – With a maximum speed of 4mph, these vehicles cannot be used on the road (except where there isn’t a pavement) and do not need to be registered with the DVLA. Class 3 invalid carriages – With a maximum speed limit of 8mph, these vehicles can be used on the road and can also be used on pavements, where the speed needs to be restricted to 4mph. These vehicles do need to be registered with the DVLA.


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Corien accepting her prize from GU Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Vice President, Jon Cooper

Young CEO wins Entrepreneur of the Year


orien Staels, CEO of Staels Design and MSc Graduate from the Glasgow University, has won Entrepreneur of the Year at Glasgow University’s Knowledge Exchange and Engagement Conference for her wheelAIR innovation. In 2016, she founded Staels Design and released her cooling innovation to the market in 2017. The wheelAIR is a cooling backrest cushion designed by Corien during her masters at Glasgow University when she discovered that wheelchair users experienced problems of overheating. Using inbuilt fan technology, the cushion not only cools the back but reduces users’ core temperature as well, taking away excess heat and moisture and allowing for instant comfort & better temperature control. The cushion also offers extra support through a unique blend of carefully selected foams. The prize recognises the wheelAIR’s entrepreneurial success, with the wheelAIR having won a variety of innovation competitions since its launch, winning £100k in Scottish Edge in June 2017 and £31k in the Converge Challenge in October 2017.

Following the success of its 2017 retailer support initiative, Repose Furniture plans to build on this momentum by offering retailers another 12-months of promotions. In January, the company is offering free arm caps and head cover on riser recliner chairs – a saving of £25 plus VAT. Protecting high wear areas and areas prone to soiling from substances such as hair products and dirty hands, the head and arm covers aim to optimise the life of their chair. Lisa Wardley, Managing Director for Repose, commented: “We have been delighted by the response we received to our retailer special offers in 2017 and this is why we have decided to continue the initiative in 2018.” Retailers wishing to take advantage of the offer should quote JANUARY2018 when placing an order.

EXTRA £42M FOR DFG IN BUDGET In the Autumn 2017 Budget, it was announced that an additional £42 million is to be provided for Disabled Facilities Grants in 2017-18, increasing the total budget to £473 million. Home adaptations play a key role in enabling older and disabled people live independently and can also save an overstretched NHS and social care system money by helping prevent accidents such as falls and reducing the risk of injury to carers. The majority of Disabled Facilities Grants are £5,000 or under, with adaptations that enable people to use their bathroom the most commonly grant-aided works, followed by stairlifts.

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retailer spotlight


LIVING UP TO THE NAME After taking over the reins of Skegness-based People First Mobility, Karen Sheppard’s inspirational journey has seen her shake hands with industry titans, win multiple awards, overcome incredible challenges and even seen her walk the halls of 10 Downing Street! The inspirational businesswoman shares her story and views on the industry with THIIS.

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What was it that inspired you to get involved in the mobility industry? I have been in the mobility industry for around 16-years, working in pretty much all areas of the business, from the shop floor to managing accounts and all the administration side of things. My motivation to work in the industry stems from my mother. She suffered from bad asthma and sadly, she suddenly passed away in January 1999. A couple of months before that, in 1998, she rang me to tell me about a really important experience she had at her local supermarket. She said that the shop had something in there which she could pay a fee to use which helped her to get around the shop - she was talking about a mobility scooter and whilst I am not sure how long they had been around, this was the first time my mum had seen one. She rang me so excited because she could get around the shops easier with a basket and said to me she was going to do it again. Her asthma progressively got worse to the point where she couldn’t walk very far at all and couldn’t get even get to her local shops which were down the road. She rang and told me, ‘I’ve looked in the local paper Karen and I really want one of these scooters’, however at the time they were very expensive. It became really bad towards the end for her and she couldn’t even manage to cross the road to go to the post box to send me a birthday card, so anything that gave her more mobility was a godsend. I remember hearing the happiness and joy in her voice when she was talking about being able to move

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around freely and get her mobility back with a scooter and it really inspired me to want to give that to other people. Now, when I see the smiles on the faces of my customers, it really reminds me of my mum. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the business? I left school at 15 to go abroad with my parents who moved to Nigeria and started a business over there. There was no schooling so I didn’t come away with qualifications such as O-levels, but I was always keen to develop myself. I and my ex-partner set up People First Mobility about 15 years ago and when it was first set up, I did an accountancy course for three-years and became qualified, as well as doing courses on computer software such as Word, Excel and Access

Karen Sheppard outside 10 Downing Street

else so I grasped the chance! After the split, I wanted to continue helping people and making them happy and I still had the drive to make People First Mobility successful. For me, it’s more than just a business; it is a passion. Now that I have sole control over the business, it has given me the opportunity to really turn it into something special and to push ahead with a lot of the ideas that I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue before.

“Now, when I see the smiles on the faces of my customers, it really reminds me of my mum” KAREN SHEPPARD

when they first began to be used throughout business. In 2015, after suffering severe depression and the breakdown of my marriage, I purchased my expartner’s share of the business and most recently, I just finished a Retail Management Course, including Maths and English functional skills. What inspired you to become the sole owner of the store? I had no second thoughts when it came to taking over the business; I couldn’t see myself doing anything

What products do you sell? We sell everything, from scooters and wheelchairs to rise recliners and an entire range of accessories. Tables, commodes, weather wear… you name it. We try to stock as much as we can so that we are always able to provide a solution for a customer. Are there any particular products that seem to be doing particularly well at the moment? We don’t really have products that sell all the time but instead, we will have a run on something. There is a seasonal

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retailer spotlight element to it but mostly it is pretty unpredictable I find. It really is the case of trying to have as much in as you can so you can find the perfect product for any customer. You recently won the Customer Care award at the Skegness Business Awards in 2017, as well as reaching the finals for Retailer of the Year. How important are these awards for People First Mobility and what are you doing to achieve such award success? Winning and being shortlisted as finalists for competitive awards really helps to prove to our customers, and ourselves, that we are getting something right with our customer service. There is so much bad customer service out there; I come across it daily. For our industry, customers really don’t want that. People come to our shop because they are looking for a solution for themselves or for another person and they can be under a lot of pressure, so they want to deal with someone

Karen awarded Business Person of the Year 2016

determination to offer the best service possible. That’s what we aim for, so when we are up for awards and someone who is independently judging our business sees that, it really is a great feeling. Importantly, it is good for the customers because the awards confirm to them that we really do put people first and that we work hard at what we do. The awards are difficult

“There is so much bad customer service out there; I come across it daily. For our industry, customers really don’t want that” KAREN SHEPPARD

who is friendly, knowledgeable and approachable. I ensure all my staff are well trained, both in terms of customer service as well as the products, so that customers see smiling, happy staff that they can trust. For us, it is about working hard, having passion and having

to get and with more and more people entering each year, organisers really do not just give them away. We are always trying to do things better all the time and always trying to go the extra mile and the awards are just one way of showing that all the hard work brings results.

Can you tell me one of your proudest moments working in mobility? That’s a hard one because I’ve got so many. A huge moment for me was achieving Business Person of the Year in 2016 whilst battling cancer with depression. It showed me that I am a fighter and that I can do this! My recent visit to 10 Downing Street, however, is definitely my proudest moment. I’m part of Small Business Saturday which is an annual campaign to encourage small businesses to promote themselves and to trade with other small businesses and encourage customers to support their local businesses. They choose 100 businesses each year to be part of the #smallbiz100 and this year on the 2nd of December, we were invited to 10 Downing Street for a reception. We were asked to keep it a secret until the day which is hard when you want to tell everyone where you are going! I travelled down to London and when I asked the taxi driver to take us







Queen of Twitter by @AquaDesignGroup – Winner

#purplebiz Twitter Award – Winner

#twittersisters Twitter Award – Winner

Winner of Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday competition

Skegness Business Awards – Retailer of the Year – Finalist

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to 10 Downing Street from our hotel, I don’t think he believed me. The experience was amazing. We queued up outside the gates and after security checks, we entered through the famous door and had a chance to walk around the prestigious building and up the renowned staircase with all the past prime ministers adorning the wall. We had a talk from both Michelle Ovens MBE and from MP Stephen Barclay, with Baroness Fairhead also in attendance. It was an amazing opportunity to be invited to go inside Downing Street and a memory that I will treasure forever. You mention winning Business Person of the Year in 2016 whilst going through a scary time personally. What is it that motivated you to keep on driving the business forward during this time? It only feels scary if you sit and think about it, so I didn’t. I just pushed ahead and tried not to dwell on anything. You want to get on that train and just ride it, without looking at all the stops. Being on the coast of a popular seaside town, there are a lot of competitors in your area. How do you try and stay ahead of them? We use the awards we enter to raise awareness of our business and we find that word of mouth brings the customers through the doors, however, it is the experience customers receive when they come into the store that separates us from our competitors. We make sure we are competitively priced and we greet each and

every customer with a smile. Most importantly, we really try to listen to them and provide them with a service that they can’t get anywhere else. We get a lot of repeat customers and have a lot of regulars which is always a good indicator that customers are pleased with us. How important is word of mouth for your business? Word of mouth is a big thing for us because people talk. You only have to do one bad thing to override 10 good things, which is why we are so keen to make sure our customer service is always exceptional. It requires a lot of work to maintain a high standard of customer care but trying to change a customer’s bad opinion takes a lot more work. This is something that all our staff understand so the commitment to customer service is ingrained into everyone. What do you see as being the biggest challenges facing the industry and your business in the coming years? Internet sales is certainly the big one. Cheap prices, no assessment, lack of advice & training and customers’ buying the wrong products for their needs means that people are at risk and the strain on retailers is growing. We find that this is something we are coming up against all the time. In the past, suppliers would only sell to

brick and mortar shops but today it seems that they will sell to anybody, regardless of a showroom, training and the other factors needed to safely sell their products. The internet sellers will just drop a scooter to somebody’s front door and the customer will not know anything about it. It’s dangerous and certainly a challenge that will need to be addressed. I’m also finding that there is lack of products out there for heavier weight people. Peoples weight are increasing due to medical conditions and medications, so more bariatric options for products are needed. There are still a lot of products out there that are still 18-stone max user weight and people are now 25 to 30-stone and there is a need for more products to reflect that. Bariatric products that are available are usually expensive and I understand that they have to be but the range and options available are usually very limited for our customers. A personal challenge I find is being a female boss and owner of a business. Even in today’s modern world, this can still be quite a challenge and it seems that in the world of mobility, a lot of businesses still seem to be ran by men or by partnerships. I notice it when I go to business network meetings and events particularly. What I find is often someone will enter the shop or call on the

Based in Lumley Square in Skegness, the retailer opened in 2003 to help people with mobility and disability needs throughout Lincolnshire with a focus on offering quality customer service before, during and after a sale. The company sells a comprehensive range of mobility aids, offers servicing and maintenance for product supplied throughout Lincolnshire and offer and provides a hire service for mobility Scooters, wheelchairs and walkers.






Skegness Business Awards – Customer Care Award – Finalist

Skegness Business Awards –Retailer of the Year – Finalist

Skegness Business Awards – Business Person of the Year – Winner

Community Lincs Age Friendly Award – Winner

Jacqueline Gold CBE #WOW Award – Winner | 37

retailer spotlight telephone and naturally will assume the male member of staff is the owner or that I am the owner’s wife. It can be annoying some days when I am working 24/7 to make the business a success and give everything and people still make that assumption.

On occasion, I have found that even dealing with suppliers who may have not entered the store before but want to sell something will walk straight past me and go directly to a male member of staff. It is something that I think will need to continue to change in the industry.

Do you find that this holds you back at all? If anything, it gives me more determination to show that women can be just as successful.

What does the future hold for People First Mobility? We are always looking at ways to drive it forward and improve because it is essential to be that one step

ahead all the time. Continuously increasing our product range is something we are always looking at and personally, I would love to expand and open more shops throughout Lincolnshire as well. Most importantly, ensuring that we continue to keep making our customers happy is the main goal for the future.








Smart Social Twitter Award

East Lindsey TED Age Friendly Award

East Lindsey Business Awards – Independent Retailer of the Year – Finalist

Skegness Business Awards - Retailer of the Year – Finalist

Skegness Business Awards – Customer Care Award – Winner

Small Business Saturday #smallbiz100 – Winner

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trusted recruiter

NEW YEAR, NEW CV! 2017 is done and dusted and as we look ahead to a busy 2018, we all know that the start of a new year is the busiest time for recruitment. Antony Elkington, Managing Director of Trusted Recruiter, gives his ten 10 key pointers for candidates and companies preparing to start the recruitment process this year.


e had a very busy year at Trusted Recruiter in 2017, placing a good number of people from both outside and within the industry into new roles in the sector. With no signs of the market slowing down as we move into January 2018, I have a feeling it will be as busy as ever. Having just had the Christmas break, it is around this time of the year that candidates will now start to think about new opportunities. Some may have just received their yearly bonuses, whilst managers will start looking at adding or making changes to their existing teams. In that spirit, here are some simple but crucial tips for both candidates and hiring managers when finding that perfect role or employee. TOP 5 TIPS FOR CANDIDATES A stand out CV! CV styles change more than we realise and it is important to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd. With a busy period for job hunters, you are likely to be facing stiff competition and employers are likely to be inundated with CVs for roles. Your CV is often your means of securing a foot in the door, so having a clean, clear and concise CV could is essential for convincing a company to take you through to the interview stage. In the September 2017 issue of THIIS, I discussed in detail how to

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make your CV stand out and grab an employer’s attention. Go onto www. to read the article. Be proactive In the world of recruitment, the adage ‘good things come to those who wait’ doesn’t apply. You can’t just sit and wait for jobs to reach you. Even though you may be receiving calls from recruiters, it is important to keep a regular search going on job boards, the Trusted Recruiter website and industry related sites such as THIIS for relevant vacancies. Why not ask us if we can make confidential approaches on your behalf to companies; keeping busy with your search is crucial for landing your dream role. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket Keep all options open. I don’t mean apply for any old job, but do apply for any roles that are suitable and of interest to you. Try to attend several interviews before making your final decision. This way you will have explored the market and will hopefully be in a position to make a well-rounded and educated decision, as well as potentially avoiding disappointment and having other suitable options to choose from. Failure to prepare… With January comes more

Antony Elkington, MD of Trusted Recruiter

competition for vacancies and chances are you are likely to be up against candidates of a similar level or from a similar background as you. This is why it is vitally important to stay ahead of your competition by preparing well for interviews. The expression ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ certainly rings true when it comes to job interviews. Thinking you will get the job based on experience alone could be the difference between you and a candidate that has thoroughly researched and prepared. Make sure you brush up on interview preparation, thinking what kind of questions will they ask, what type of skills and experience are the looking for and importantly, do your research on the company. Avoid delays when offered a new role There can be a tendency for some candidates to feel they can hold off making the decision to accept a new role in the hope of another opportunity or to secure a counter offer by their current employer. This can result however in a withdrawal of the offer or the role being offered to someone else, when really it would have been the perfect role for you. Make sure you are genuinely in a position to accept an offer and try to make the right decision as quickly as possible.


trusted recruiter TOP 5 TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS Use a specialist recruiter OK, so being that we specialise in recruitment within the assistive technology, mobility and healthcare sector - and are good at it - it would only make sense to mention this. However, there are a number of benefits that your company can enjoy that come with working with a specialist recruiter. Whether you are looking for someone with industry experience or someone from outside the industry, being able to contact a specialist recruiter who knows the industry will give you access to candidates who are not necessarily proactively job hunting but are perhaps open to discussion. Specialist recruiters also have the reach to fill niche roles requiring very specific skills quickly, often drawing from a pool of suitable candidates. Considering a busy start to the year, it can be difficult to find the best talent, especially whilst your competitors will be searching to, so gaining access to a number of candidates that your competition may not have access too can give you a recruitment edge. Of course, there is also the time saving aspect during a busy month. Start the recruitment process early You will notice that some businesses in our industry have already started the recruitment process. Starting earlier will help to generate the strongest interest‌ if you have got a new opening in the team, don’t delay your search. Whether it’s a call to your recruiter or trying to recruit in-house, the earlier you start the search, the sooner you will recruit! Shortlist and interview quickly A very common mistake we see from managers is they wait too long to interview candidates. If you have shortlisted a candidate and like the look or sound of them, make sure you interview them or at least engage with them quickly. Leaving it over a week to engage could be a big mistake and could

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result in a good candidate being snapped up by someone else. Arrange a telephone interview if you are unable to meet the candidate face-to-face as this will engage the candidate and keep them interested. Be sure to ask your recruiter to keep up to date on other vacancies they are looking at as well. Be flexible with interviews Give the candidate options on dates, locations and times. We see a lot of clients lose out on their preferred candidate because they are too rigid in their interview availability. I appreciate it can be a very busy time of year for any business, but by offering out of hours interviews or using the power of technology by initiating a telephone or skype interview shows that as a company, you are willing to be flexible whilst at the same time increasing the chance of finding that star employee.

Make sensible and competitive offers The majority of registered candidates with Trusted Recruiter have come to us because they are looking for a promotion, career progression or a pay rise. If you are recruiting for a sales position, what sort of commission structure do you have in place? How does your salary banding compare to other companies and what progression can you offer candidates? When searching to bring in the best talent, these are important factors which should be carefully considered in order to ensure you do not lose out to other companies. Trusted Recruiter would like to wish you all a happy and successful New Year!

Trusted Recruiter is a specialist recruiter within Assistive Technology and Healthcare. Please get in touch with one of our consultants to discuss your vacancy on 03330144014 or email The agency has industry candidates with experience in Lifting and Handling, Seating and Positioning, Bathing and Toileting, Pressure Care, Medical Devices, Digital Technology and many other disability/assistive aids and services.

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JULIAN COBBLEDICK, DIRECTOR OF ASSISTIVE PARTNER What is Assistive Partner? We are a software company. Because we focus exclusively in the healthcare market, it involves understanding what software is needed in healthcare & healthcare retailing. We determine what it is people need to do using our operations experience, then make sure our development team of skilled software developers and engineers deliver software that really works. What do you enjoy most about your job and working in the industry? Believe it or not, I have been involved in the industry for 32-years and the most enjoyable thing is really watching everything evolve. When you attend a show like Trade Days, you get to some really interesting point-ofsale merchandising, which in turn feeds into barcoding which feeds into our software. So, bit by bit, we are watching the industry grow and mature. Also, making full use of technology to save time and improve customer and stock records. What is the biggest change to the industry you have seen within those 32-years? I think it has got to be the products. For the entire period of my career, this industry has been very much product-driven. Early on, they were really rickety things, often invented in someone’s garage or shed because of a daughter, father or neighbour had a need, but now, in the present day, we are moving into high tech electronics, telehealthcare and more. You and I, in the future, will inevitably become part bionic, because there will be implants and all sorts of things that we haven’t even imagined yet. It really is product,

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product, product and I think it will remain that for the coming decades as well. If you could bring any new innovation to the market, what would it be? It would have to be something to do with the way people understand what devices are available to them because there is still a lot of ignorance as to what equipment is available. It is not so much an invention, but it is some way or another getting better information to people. That being said, we are getting better and better as a sector at informing people what we

do, but there is still a lot of ignorance about what they can get. What are interests outside of the industry? I love music and the theatre, as well as relaxing and walking. Pretty much anything that gets me away from thinking. If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be? (subheading: bold and change colour) Goodness, I would be a helicopter pilot and look down on the world!


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diary dates January 29 - 1 Feb 2018 Arab Health, Dubai www. January 31st – February 1st 2018 Moving & Handling People, Watford February 7 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) – The Queen Hotel, Chester or call Sally on 02921 900402 February 27-28 2017 Medtrade Spring - Las Vegas www. March 15 2018 Kidz to Adultz Middle – Coventry www. April 25-26 2018 Naidex – NEC April 26 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Weetwood Hall Conference Centre, Leeds or call Sally on 02921 900402 May 17 2018 Kidz to Adultz South – Farnborough International Centre June 11- 13 2018 COT Annual Conference - Belfast Waterfront June 12-13 2018 NAEP Annual Conference – Kenilworth June 13 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hallmark Hotel, Cambridge or call Sally on 02921 900402 June 27-28 2018 Health+Care – Excel London www. 5th July 2018 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West – Bristol www. July 11 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli or call Sally on 02921 900402

Three ways to become a Stiltz Lifts’ partner Stiltz Lifts has introduced a new three-tier programme for dealers who are interested in partnering with the company. The entry-level option is to become a Stiltz Homelift Referral Partner, where dealers promote and market the company’s range to their customers and pass on enquiries to the Stiltz sales team. Referral partners can earn a commission of up to £1,000, paid on completion of a successful sale and installation. By becoming an Affiliate Partner, dealers can move up to the second level of the programme where they complete the sale with their customer, earning a higher level of commission whilst staying in control of the sales process. The third-tier allows dealers to become a Stiltz Homelift Premium Partner, enabling them to take control of the sales, marketing and installation process. Premium Partner dealers are required to complete two days’ training at the Stiltz Homelift Training Academy at the company’s headquarters in Kingswinford, West Midlands and successfully undertake three customer installations overseen by a member of the Stiltz technical team - to gain accreditation. According to the company, this third tier makes the Stiltz business considerably more profitable for dealers than being an Affilliate or Referral Partner.

July 23-25 Posture & Mobility Group Conference Manchester Central September 12 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - La Mon Hotel, Belfast www.otac. or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Imperial Hotel, Torquay www.otac. or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 26-29 2018 Rehacare – Dusseldorf www. October 7-8 2018 Trade Days – NEC October 15-17, 2018 Medtrade – Atlanta www.medtrade. com October 17-18 2018 The Care & Dementia Show – NEC November 7 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - The Spa Hotel, Kent or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 28 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Newcastle www. or call Sally on 02921 900402 December 5 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) - Hilton Hotel, Southampton or call Sally on 02921 900402

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UK Trade Sales Director Gino Farruggio says the domestic lift market is growing quickly and is a great time to partner with Stiltz Lifts


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George, Tristan, John, Tom and Gordon Hulbert

STANDING THE TEST OF TIME Harrogate-based Yorkshire Care Equipment celebrated an impressive 45 years in business in December 2017, with the family-run company growing substantially in that time.


tarting life in shop in Headingley, Leeds in 1972, Yorkshire Care Equipment has been providing mobility and care products to people across the North of England ever since. After the original owner fell ill and had to sell the business, the Hulbert family took over Yorkshire Care Equipment in 1995. Led by Duncan Hulbert and his two sons, Gordon and John, the company grew until eventually it was forced to move to its

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bigger Harrogate. Now retired from the business, Duncan said: “I thoroughly enjoyed running Yorkshire Care Equipment and working in the healthcare industry. Besides the satisfaction of being in a growing company with a growing market, there was the additional pleasure of being able to improve the quality of life of our customers and earn their appreciation.” Today, Yorkshire Care has over 25 members of staff and is managed

by six of Duncan’s grandsons and is continuing to search for new ways to enhance the quality of life for its clients. Tom Hulbert, current CEO of Yorkshire Care, said: “I took over as CEO five years ago. It was such an exciting time for the business as me, my brothers and cousins could see the potential in the company and it had been a huge part of our lives for as long as we could remember. “We’ve got big plans in the pipeline,

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Tom & George Hulbert with the Lento

and we want to see the business treble in size by 2020. Our family shares the same passion to see Yorkshire Care grow, so I’m confident that we can achieve this and continue to enhance quality of life for all our clients.” A key part of the company’s big plans to reach its ambitious growth goals is the launch of its own range of products to tackle issues in the healthcare sector. Earlier in 2017, the company launched their own Care Chair called the Lento. Tom spoke to THIIS about what inspired the company to branch into creating products. “We have many years of experience in specialist seating and have seen a need for a product that is very adjustable so that products don’t have to be specially manufactured for each individual,” he explained. “Along with this, there is a real need for a value for money chair that is available from stock and this has been another factor for us in this project.” Tom now believes that Yorkshire Care have a versatile product that is designed to be adjusted to suit 80% of the population from a chair that the company is able to keep in stock. Having worked with healthcare professionals including OTs and physios over numerous years, Yorkshire Care Equipment’ seating assessors wanted to create a chair

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that could fill a market gap after gaining insights into the shortcomings of typical care chair. “We have been able to control the design of the features that we feel are needed on the product, as well as create a chair to suit the budget of our customers,” Tom told THIIS. “We have been able to get our complete wish list for a care chair combined into one chair!”

some of the challenges faced when manufacturing a product. “One factor has been the time needed to come up with a product that we are 100% happy with. The process has been time consuming but we are now very pleased with the end result. Making sure we keep the final result and big picture in mind throughout the project has been important.”

“We’ve got big plans in the pipeline, and we want to see the business treble in size by 2020” TOM HULBERT

With a strong existing customer base for this type of specialist seating and with a team of eight assessors on the road providing assessments for specialist seating, as well as two assessors in its Harrogate store, Yorkshire Care Equipment is no stranger to specialist seating. According to the company, it was this experience in the field, working with healthcare professionals over numerous years, that ensured the company could create a chair that could better meet the needs of customers and the market. Although the company had the knowledge of what would make the ideal product, Tom explained

Tom continued: “Trials have been excellent and initial sales have far exceeded our forecasts. Customers are loving the way we have a great chair available immediately.” With 45-years of success already behind Yorkshire Care and impressive growth ambitions for the future, the company looks set to continue to see success into the next 45-year. Tom is playing his cards close to his chest about new products in the pipeline. “It’s a secret! We do have other ideas and products in the pipeline but these are currently under wraps – watch this space!”

Hurrycane stockists required in your area! Don’t miss out on the USA’s Best Selling Walking Stick! We are now planning our exciting TV Ad campaign to support sales - this will hit screens in the New Year. The TV Ads will create maximum exposure and attention for the Hurrycane, with stockists benefiting from maximised sales... The Stockist Package Includes: » 24 x Hurrycanes (mixed colours) » Supported by national television advertising campaign » 1 x Retail Display Stand - FOC » Inclusion on stockist page

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product showcase


BATHING AND TOILETING Shower commode creates safe and comfortable showering & toileting


he versatile Aston Shower Commode from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare is the ideal solution for all showering and toileting needs, according to the company. Ensuring safe and comfortable showering and toileting in both domestic and commercial environments, the product assists users from and to the toilet and to and in the shower, as well as increasing independence with a self-propelling wheel option. The Aston features a standard weight capacity of 25st or a heavy-duty version of 40st and a lightweight, rustproof aluminium height adjustable frame. The product also has a comfortable Polyurethane seat and back, combined with flip up armrests and height & angle adjustable footplates, which swing in and out to create easy transfers. The easy to clean seat, with a five-litre potty, lid and optional lap belt has a front cut away and rear access to facilitate personal hygiene or a full Comfort Seat option.

GEMINI PLATFORM BATH FOR SAFER BATHING Abacus’ range of popular baths with height adjustment functionality and bather transfer seats combine quality, performance and practicality, and none more so than the Gemini. The Gemini is a height adjustable bath with integrated changing, drying and bathing platform. Through a unique ‘double lift action’, the bath sides, bath, bather and water are raised in a smooth and controlled manner so carers can operate at safe working heights. Removing the need for carers to bend or stoop helps minimise potential back injuries and allows for full engagement with bathers. Users benefit from a more pleasant and relaxing experience, with less transfers and a greater feeling of security. The Gemini has a safe working load of 150kg and optional Chromatherapy Lighting and Air Spa are available.

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WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON THE TH TH 7 AND 8 OCTOBER! Join us at Europe’s sole TRADE ONLY business to business event for the mobility, living aids and assistive technology industry



product showcase


A new chapter in intimate hygiene


losomat’s latest offering, the Asana, has been specifically designed and engineered to access a new market sector – those who need the functionality of a wash & dry toilet but have a degree of manual dexterity. The new device still delivers the latest version of Closomat’s innovative hygiene system, using the company’s unique vertical jet spray to deliver exceptional performance. The Asana offers a range of douche options for personalised, effective cleansing when the toilet is flushed, followed by warm air drying. Focussing on fashion as well as function, the Asana also brings a new dimension in contemporary styling, being wall-hung with a bespoke, concealed cistern system, triggered via a choice of flush mechanisms. Asana is the first wash & dry toilet on the market to be developed and manufactured in the UK and the only one to be fully supported by a dedicated, nationwide sales and service team.

The Lift Seat Powered Toilet Lift fits over any toilet, including Geberit and Clos-o-Mat , and can also be used as a bedside powered commode. The company’s range of toilets lifts also do not require fitting and are suitable for all patient sizes, including bariatric. With both sit-to-stand and vertical movements options, Lift Seat delivers safe, reliable and comfortable assistance to people who battle conditions that compromise their strength and need assistance getting on and off the toilet.

DELIVERING A CLEANER CLEAN Known for bringing Scandinavian style and ergonomic design to assistive equipment, Etac aims to deliver performance and long-term value to various sectors with its Clean shower commode chair. According to the company, the Clean’s award-winning design provides one of the most hygienic solutions for assisted toileting and showering, with a range of clever features to help ensure moving & handling is safe and minimising musculoskeletal stress for carers. Personal care can be administered more effectively through an open seat configuration and with its upright handle, the Clean can be positioned over all styles of toilet - even wall mounted. Additionally, a sculpted seat configuration and a rounded foot support which can slide away under the chair for easier transfers helps deliver support and comfort for semi-ambulant users. The Etac Clean also comes available in height adjustable, comfort and selfpropelling versions - either in lagoon green or white and is supplied by Etac R82 in the UK.

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g n i t e l i o t l u f Help solutions

“The Closomat is the most wonderful thing of all the living aids we have had added to our home, it’s beautiful! I now don’t have to get my wife to help me.” Karl van Gool, Halesowen

Coming 2018

Quality • Service • Heritage Tel: 0800 374 076 Email:

The night’s winners


WINNERS On the 30th November 2017, the industry came together at the prestigious Park Plaza Hotel in London to recognise the achievements of companies and individuals, big and small, as well as to celebrate the British Healthcare Trades Association’s 100th year anniversary. 56 |

Special Recognition Award presented to former THIIS editor David Russell

NHS DAC Patient Services Award – Winner was Fittleworth Medical

Best Service Award – Awarded to Karen Finch and her team at The Hearing Care Centre

Best Contribution to the Community Award – Winner was Respond Healthcare

Tom Hillier Award – Shopmobility Braehead Shopmobility (highly commended certificates presented Littlehampton, High Wycombe and Perth)

Outstanding Contribution to the National Federation of Shopmobility – Alan Gammon and Littlehampton Shopmobility

Team of the Year – Winner was Island Mobility

Individual of the Year – Winner was Karen Gilbert of Care & Mobility in Bath | 57

Lifetime Achievement Award – Winner was Kenneth Munroe

Retailer of the Year – Winner was TPG DisableAids

Independent Living Design Award Winner was Ottobock for their C-Leg prosthetic leg

Most Effective Marketing Award – Winner was Mangar Health for the Elk & Airflow 24 Compressor (highly commended certificate be presented to Simple Stuff Works for their Myth Busting animated campaign)

58 |

Best Product Award – Winner was Guldman for their GHZ ceiling hoist solution (highly commended certificate presented to TGA for the WHILL Powerchair)

THIIS trade magazine – delivering news and views to the retail trade for the past 18 years

THIIS Magazine subcribers 3150

THIIS digital page turner 656 viewers & 4768 links


Monthly Touchpoints

THIIS email 2100 3000 page views

THIIS Twitter followers 1802

For more information on how you can get your products in front of the trade, call Greg on 01933 272 437

HOW DO OLDER PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT HOME ADAPTATIONS? With numerous retailers in the industry becoming involved in home adaptations for elderly customers – either by completing the work themselves or referring the work to specialists for commissions – the market seems to be one that is both lucrative and growing. But is the trend going to continue and how do customers’ feel about home adaptations?


new study undertaken by Care & Repair England and BMG Research in July 2017 asked 481 UK residents aged 55 about their views regarding home adaptations. Staying put or moving on? The findings from the study revealed that just under eight in ten (78%) of the over 55s surveyed found that they wanted to remain in their current home as they got older, with 23% saying that they expected to carry out adaptations on their home at some stage. 22% wanted to move to a home that suited them better as they grew older and interestingly, it was the younger age bracket of 55-64year olds that made up the highest percentage of this segment. 31% of 55-64-year olds stated that they wanted to move to a different home more suited to their needs, whilst this number fell to 21% for those aged 65-74 and just 12% of those 75 and over. The results could suggest that whilst home adaptations appeal widely to older customers, there could a trend for younger generations to be more willing to downsize or move on to a different home. The trend for likelihood of having an adaptation also increased with age, with 17% of those aged 55 to 64 having an adaption contrasting with the 24% of people surveyed aged 65 to 74 and 32% of those aged 75 and over. Whilst the positive correlation

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between age and the likeliness of having an adaption fitted is not surprising, it does reveal that there is scope for manufacturers and retailers to raise awareness amongst younger generations regarding future proofing their property. Public awareness (sub-heading: bold and change colour) In THIIS’ December issue, the need for raising awareness of home adaptations was highlighted by Stiltz Lifts, with Trade Sales Director Gino Farruggio noting that educating the public about the options available to them was still one of the company’s biggest challenges. According to Care & Repair England’s study, this need to raise

awareness in the industry is also evident. When asked where would respondents go to find out about home adaptations, only 12% of the total number would turn to an advertised home adaptations company, instead turning to independent agencies such as Age UK or their local council. Notably, 23% of 55-64-year olds said their first port of call would be to do an internet search, whilst only 8% of those aged 75 and over would go online, instead turning to local councils (24%) and friends and family (14%), whilst only 4% of those aged 55-64 would ask friends and family. These findings reveal the generational gap between those engaged digitally and those preferring


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to rely on more traditional channels of information, reinforcing the need for companies in the market to ensure they have strong online presence in the future to acquire customers who will be looking online for information about home adaptations. Sue Adams OBE, Chief Executive of Care & Repair England, commented: “On the whole people are realistic about having to make adaptations, or sometimes move, but there is clearly a gap when it comes to knowing where to get information and advice about what is best for them.” Barriers to buying As well as evaluating older individuals views of home adaptations and their awareness of information and advice, the study also examined what potential barriers are preventing people from adapting their homes. Cost remained a fundamental issue, with 43% of the total 481 respondents stating that they could not afford the

cost of adaptations and 14% believing home adaptations to be too expensive. “The finding that cost is a major barrier to adaptations reinforces the case for financial help, making the news in the Autumn budget of an increase in funding for disabled facilities grants even more welcome,” added Sue. Importantly, a key barrier identified by respondents was the concern that they would be overcharged by a home adaptations company or that poor quality building work would be carried out, with 14% confirming this put them off home adaptations. For those carrying out home adaptations, this reveals that more work needs to be done in creating trust amongst customers that prices are fair and transparent and that the work will be carried out to a high standard. Testimonials and case studies would be effective tools for showcasing quality, building trust and changing some of the negative views

held by customers, whilst clear pricing on quotations will reduce the worry of being overcharged. Linking back to the issue of awareness, 23% of all respondents said that a leading barrier to having home adaptations carried out was a lack of awareness of what adaptations might be possible or best. For the industry… From the findings, the outlook for companies offering home adaptations looks positive, with an increasing desire from older people to remain in their homes, coupled with an ever growing, ageing population. There is a need for the industry to raise awareness amongst customers, particularly those who may not be seeking home adaptations presently but will likely require them in the coming years, about the options available and importantly, to shake off some of the negative connotations associated with some companies.

The essential learning event for moving and handling in healthcare Moving & Handling People brings its CPD-certified mix of practical workshops, best-practice seminars and peer-to-peer problem-solving to new audiences  Separate exhibition hall  Open Forum focus on homecare  All-new workshops and seminars for 2018  Tickets from £245 (+VAT) for groups of 3+

Moving & Handling People South Wednesday 31st January & Thursday 1st February 2018 Watford Hilton

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DOING BUSINESS AROUND THE WORLD JUST GOT EASIER... Global Healthcare Trader (GHT) is designed for companies looking to find distributors around the world. A simple search facility enables companies looking to import new products the ability to find businesses looking to sell into their own country in just a couple of clicks. If your company is looking to build business around the world, then it could well be the easiest, quickest and simplest way to do it.



Go to GHT and select the ‘Start your search here’ button


Select a country from the list and click on ‘Search’


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m o c r. e d a tr re a c h lt a e lh a b lo .g w ww JOIN THESE COMPANIES USING GHT TO BUILD EXPORT SALES... Accora Aktiv Wheelchairs Alerta Medical American Ventures Apex Medical Better Living Care Bibbeta CR Manufacturing Capatex Careflex

Cefndy Healthcare Crest Medical Daily Care Dan Medica South Deutscher Healthcare Flexel Europe Go Mobility Handsteady Hospital Aids Hospital Direct

Mangar International MEDesign Moretti MSD Europe Neater Solutions NRS Healthcare OM Interactive Osprey Healthcare Performance Health International Promove

RIMEC Srl Scooterpac Simple Stuff Works Spectrum Healthcare Stiltz Lifts TGA Mobility Urathon Van Os Medical W Ball & Son Wallace Cameron

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Symmetrikit Postural Care Area Sales Consultant North, West, South London and Surrey Symmetrikit Postural Care is a Division of The Helping Hand Company - the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of Aids to Daily Living and the Market Leading Innovator in providing Specialist Solutions to Children and Adults with Complex Physical Disabilities. We sell to the NHS, Social Services, Charities and also to Private individuals. Through further expansion, we are seeking a self-motivated, dynamic individual to become part of a successful team. The successful candidate should be a highly motivated professional with a proven track record of success in a number of key areas within a sales environment. Should be a team player, flexible and should possess the ability to develop relationships. Whilst not essential, experience of working with NHS professionals or the Education sector would be an advantage. The role involves all aspects of selling but also includes the successful applicant being involved

in physical assessments with End Users, setting up/commissioning of products, presenting courses, training Customers, Carers and End Users and supplying market leading, British Manufactured, specialist products to vulnerable and physically disabled people of all ages. A comprehensive, full training package is offered to the successful applicant. A small number of evenings away from home each month will be essential for this role. Specific Healthcare sales experience is not essential but the following skills are: • • • • • • •

Motivation Consultative selling skills Presentation skills Time Management Journey Planning Learning ability Excellent Communication skills

Check the ‘Jobs On Offer’ section of the website for more opportunities Take a look at the recently added positions Regional Product Specialist Contracts/Bid Writer Manager Operations Manager Area Sales Manager Product Specialists

An above industry average Competitive Salary with Uncapped Bonus Scheme.

Please apply by sending CV to the National Sales Manager:

Seen in all the best places! The BHTA logo has always been something important to look out for if you want to be sure that the company you are dealing with is setting and maintaining the right standards. Every BHTA member agrees to abide by a Code of Practice, part of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, which is run by The Trading Standards Institute. The BHTA code is the only one in this industry. Only BHTA member companies can display the two logos together and it means that you can be confident of enjoying high levels of care, courtesy and professionalism. To find out which companies can offer you that guaranteed level of confidence, go to the website and use the member search facility.

trusted recruiter

Business Development Manager South of England - £35k plus commission Our client has been established for over 50 years. They specialise in the supply of a range of mobility and medical products across the UK and Ireland. Due to growth they are now seeking a Business Development Manager to cover the South. You will be responsible for growing their range of products in the South of the Country anywhere from Bristol across to South of the Thames. This will be both B2B/B2C and End Users. The product range includes Wheelchairs both powered and manual, mobility scooters and a range of wheelchair accessories.

You must have at least 2 years’ experience of having sold wheelchairs and good technical understanding of wheelchairs. Must have field based sales experience and be willing to cover the southern part of UK including London. (expenses paid for by company) Base salary of £35k plus commission to be negotiated. Van, phone, tablet, pension, healthcare, 20 days holiday plus bank holidays. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@ including job reference 460 in order to discuss further.

Head of Mobility London-based – £40k Negotiable plus bonus Our client is a London-based specialist mobility supplier. They offer a range of powerchairs and mobility scooters throughout the South East of England. Having been established for 10 years and become a market leader in the industry, an excellent and unique opportunity has arisen for the right person. They are now looking to grow their mobility offering by taking on a Head of Mobility to oversee the mobility division, including four field-based assessors, and take the lead for all prescriptive enquiries. You will take ownership of specialist mobility enquiries that are passed on from the customer service team and offer your expert knowledge to understand the customer’s needs, in turn allocating this to an assessor or OT for assessment. Following the assessment, you will guide the customer through the prescription process, including offering quotations from the office, finally liaising with the manufacturers to produce the equipment. You will also provide after-sales technical support as necessary, assisting the workshop with diagnostics and technical problem-solving.

While the role is primarily office-based, there will be the requirement to visit clients when assessments require more technical knowledge, for example, when special controls are needed for a powerchair. You will also work closely with the MD to launch new products and services in the mobility field as the company continues to expand. This is a big role for our client and you will be a key player in the business and the face of the mobility division. The ideal candidate will have specialist technical experience of working with powerchairs, for example, from a technical role within Wheelchair Services or from a dealer or manufacturer. You must have excellent communication and customer service skills, as well as a full UK driving licence. A base salary of £30k-£40k plus bonuses, pension, 20-days holiday plus bank holidays, rising 1 day for each additional year’s service. For more information, please send your CV to Antony@ including reference: Thiis453

Technical Specialist London-based – £23k plus profit sharing bonus Our client is a leading supplier of innovative postural and seating products for both children and adults. Employing over 100 people across the UK and Ireland with over 20 years in existence. They are seeking a Technical Specialist or Service Engineer to carry out quite basic repairs and audits of their products in customers’ homes, schools and hospitals etc. As well as helping to build relationships with existing customers and clients along the way. This product mainly includes walking and standing aids. This is an excellent opportunity for someone looking to start a role within the private mobility/disability sector or wanting to work for a wellestablished company offering career progression along the way.

The previous Technical Specialist was internally promoted. As the product range is not too technical the candidate does not have to be too mechanical minded but more so have an understanding or have worked with therapy products. Perhaps been a therapy assistant or technical instructor. Must be willing to travel as will be covering the whole of London including central London where required. Base Salary of £23k plus profit sharing bonus, company van, life insurance, pension, 20 days holiday plus bank holidays. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to Antony@trustedrecruiter. Including job reference 461 to discuss further. | 65


Training Diary If you are providing training for the trade, then simply send us the details of the course, the date, any costs, the venue and the contact for booking places and we’ll include it in the Diary. Email with any details you have. January 2018 Benmor Medical - Management of the Plus Size (Bariatric) Patient CPD Certified Course – Wednesday 10th – Thursday 11th January 2018 - Benmor Medical, Market Harborough Benmor Medical -  Management of the Plus Size (Bariatric) Patient CPD Certified Course – Wednesday 17th – Thursday 18th January 2018 - Benmor Medical, Houghton-leSpring, Tyne and Wear

Certified Course – Tuesday 30th – Wednesday 31st January 2018 Benmor Medical, Liss, Hampshire

February 2018 Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – February 6th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – February 7th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - January 29 2018 - Belfry Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfields

Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – February 7th 2018 - Ilminster. FOC including Lunch

Benmor Medical - Management of the Plus Size (Bariatric) Patient CPD

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - February 7th 2018

-Hallmark The Queen Hotel, Chester Pride Mobility - Service Training February 21st & 22nd – Bicester

April 2018 Electric Mobility – Servicing / Maintenance & Fault finding for Rascal Mobility Products – April 11th 2018 - Ilminster. FOC including Lunch. Pride Mobility - Service Training – April 25th & 26th – Bicester Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - April 26th Weetwood Hall Hotel, Leeds

Contacts for bookings Benmor Medical – Contact Sophie Allen – 0333 800 9000 – sophie.

Electric Mobility – Call 01460 258158 or email marketing@

Invacare – Call Joan James on 01656 776283 or email jjames@

JCM – Contact Rachel Davis on

Pride Mobility – or contact: 01869 324600


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Careflex – Call Julieanne Fewings on 01626 831 843 or email julieanne.fewings@


For More Info... BED PADS

Phone Email Web

01254 619000









S T Y L E I N N O VAT I O N C H O I C E LEON POWERCHAIR The Leon is designed to exploit the advantages of a rear wheel drive chair for outdoor use. It is geared for speed without compromising on stability or control. The exceptionally narrow wheelbase allows for agile manoeuvrability. It is available in a range of colours that make the chair a real eye catcher. The Leon is a superior powerchair for even the most active users.

a Full suspension a 8 mph maximum speed a 450W 4 pole motors a Optional 75Ah batteries a 62cm overall width a Crash tested For further details please call 0845 630 3436

Karma Mobility Ltd Unit 6 Target Park, Redditch, Worcestershire B98 8YN T: 0845 630 3436 E:

The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985


01787 882244

THIIS January 2018  

In the first issue of 2018, THIIS talks with People First Mobility's Karen Sheppard to find out how her journey led her from her retail shop...

THIIS January 2018  

In the first issue of 2018, THIIS talks with People First Mobility's Karen Sheppard to find out how her journey led her from her retail shop...