THIIS TRADE MAGAZINE • ISSUE 270 • MARCH 2021
Also inside... Partner Programme progression ISSUE 270 MARCH 2021
Top powerchair picks
Providing news and views in the trade since 1999
Diving into DFGs What retailers and suppliers in the industry need to know about the important home adaptations funding
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From the editor
Meet the THIIS team...
The end is in sight… With the announcement of a fourstep roadmap in front of us, it looks like things are finally looking up for the mobility sector. The news towards the end of last year that mobility, access and assistive technology businesses were classed as an ‘essential’ business had a mixed response from the industry. While the classification recognised that our industry had a vital role to play, for many it meant the headache of introducing measures to make their premises and work practices more COVID-secure; navigating staffing issues, with some on furlough and others shielding; alongside coping with a much-reduced customer base. The average customer for many is, of course, classed as ‘vulnerable’ and therefore unable to leave their home due to shielding and other issues. The promise of non-essential shops opening no earlier than 12 April, however, is certainly good news for retailers looking forward to the increased footfall heading to the high street. With the arrival of spring and its promise of staycations and better weather, there will no doubt be plenty of customers looking forward to getting out and about. Needless to say, many will be on the hunt for the equipment to help them do it. Now, with most adults above the age of 65 vaccinated, along with healthcare workers, the future looks promising and the planning for retailers and suppliers can now start. For retailers and suppliers looking to help customers adapt their homes in order to provide access to parts of their home that a non-disabled person already has access to read our feature about the Disability Facilities Grant on page 44. It is worth noting that a business can manage a customer’s entire adaptation project and charge a fee for doing it that is payable by the DFG. Of course, even with everything
looking like it will open up again, there is no doubt that the past 12 months could well have changed some people’s shopping habits for good. For many, the ‘stay at home’ message has meant that they have become accustomed to looking online for making those all-important purchases. Could it mean that physical shops may no longer be the final destination for the purchase journey, and what does that mean for an industry where assessment is so important? Over recent years, retailers have increasingly seen, and been frustrated by, customers that visit a brick-and-mortar store for advice and to test products, only to make their final purchase online. It is unclear whether the pandemic will fuel this trend further, but certainly, it has forced many businesses to start improving their online offering. One company who made the leap into ecommerce last year was Andrew Morgan, founder of HWB Mobility. In this month’s Retailer Spotlight, Andrew discusses the company’s digital strategy, and its push to be the most price competitive online. Read more about his story on page p22. On a final note, I am really excited to be taking over the helm at THIIS Magazine. I look forward to hearing from you, our readers, with any feedback and any ideas that you may have for our magazine going forward. Perhaps you are a retailer doing some interesting things at the moment? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. With the latest industry news, expert-written features and comprehensive product reviews, I hope that you find the latest issue of THIIS an inspirational and informative read.
Liane McIvor Editor
Editor Liane McIvor 07917 784929 email@example.com
Advertising Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 firstname.lastname@example.org
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THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, Office 404, Tower Bridge Business centre, 46-48 E Smithfield, Whitechapel, London E1W 1AW firstname.lastname@example.org BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.
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Retailer Spotlight: HWB Mobility Trade Talk: Supplier Spotlight: Rehasense
News, deals and people Retailers Choice: Powerchairs Let’s Get It Clear The OT’s Perspective Retailers’ Buyers Guide
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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE
News, deals & people
Millbrook Healthcare acquires Ross Care Integrated community equipment service provider Millbrook Healthcare has confirmed its acquisition of Ross Care, substantially increasing its medical services portfolio and mobility retail proposition. Established in 1949, Ross Care is a major provider of wheelchair services and mobility equipment on behalf of the NHS and local authorities. In addition to its community equipment service, Ross Care is the largest provider of wheelchair repair contracts in the UK. Headquartered in Wallasey, Ross Care has 18 service centres including four wheelchair clinical assessment centres across the north and north-west of England. It also boasts a growing retail offering, with five stores located across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. The partnership marks a significant geographical extension to each business and increases the range of services offered to commissioners and service users.
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A round-up of the key trade stories for business leaders to digest
Industry players in the fast lane Direct Healthcare Group ranked fourth in the annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, making it the highest ranked company in the mobility and access sector to feature in the list. Compiled by Fast Track, the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 ranks Britain’s mid-market (£25m-£200m) private companies with the fastestgrowing international sales, measured over the last two years. The recognition is highly prestigious, with previous top ranked companies including some of the UK’s most popular retailers, as well as leading business consulting firms, energy providers, and TV production companies. Also making the list was Stiltz Homelifts, which made its debut on the league table. Ranking 43rd, the manufacturer has seen an average annual international sales growth of 75 per cent, international sales of £16.1 million, with total sales equalling £27.5 million.
SMEs benefit from £8m government funding to go digital The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced a new £8 million government fund for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them modernise, go digital and create new jobs. This funding is available for up to 1,000 SMEs and could help mobility manufacturers to adopt new digital technology. Part of the UK Government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, the funding will support up to 1,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers across the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands regions to go digital.
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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE
Ki Mobility appoints new UK Marketing Coordinator
Electric Mobility increases visibility with the help of THIIS Electric Mobility has reported enjoying runaway success with its latest marketing campaign, which saw the mobility specialist share consumer-facing posters with dealers via THIIS Magazine. Maximising its full-page high-quality advert and dedicating the space to consumer messaging allowed Electric Mobility’s network to simply cut out and display the poster to entice local shoppers. The print campaign was also supported by a complementing digital strategy. The initiative garnered significant exposure across both print and digital. Its digital advertising banners enjoyed over 40,000 impressions across THIIS’ website and twice-weekly newsletter, gaining more than 100 direct downloads from dealers. The consumer print posters were shared to more than 3,000 print subscribers, consisting of dealers across the UK and Ireland. The supplier says that its social media channels also generated significant interest.
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Ki Mobility, a US manufacturer of lightweight manual wheelchairs, has appointed Samantha Heathcock as its new UK Marketing Coordinator. Samantha joins the alreadyexperienced UK team which comprises of Sean Taylor and Ashley Griffiths as UK Territory Managers and Declan McCormick as the UK Customer Service Manager. Samantha has extensive prior experience of the mobility market, having previously worked in the marketing team at Sunrise Medical. She said: “I am looking forward to driving more awareness of the brand to end users to generate leads to pass onto those loyal dealers. “I’ve already spoken with some familiar faces across the industry and I’m looking forward to supporting the Ki dealer network in terms of marketing as well as delivering some exciting marketing campaigns.”
Lockdown exit plan Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled the UK Government’s four-step roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England, with similar plans to be put implemented in the devolved nations. Beginning on 8 March, the roadmap details four different stages for the country to ease out of the lockdown restrictions. These include the opening of non-essential retailers, starting no earlier than 12 April; larger indoor and outdoor venues, reopening at a half-full capacity no earlier than 17 May; and the removal of all legal limits on social contact, no earlier than 21 June. In good news for retailers, at the time of going to press, two thirds of 65 to 69 year old had received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the country moves out of the lockdown, the PM has promised to increase support for businesses, self-employed people and those self-isolating, stating that more information would be provided in the upcoming budget.
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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE
Fortuna Mobility distributes new eating and drink aids Retailer and distributor Fortuna Mobility has two new product lines to share with retailers and healthcare professionials. The firm has partnered up with eating and drinking specialist Ornamin to offer a range of crockery for people with limited motor skills in their hands, necks or arms, or anyone needing care. Ornamin, which supplies more than 2,000 care institutions around the world, collaborated with occupational therapists and nurses to devize its range, which includes
lightweight mugs, break-resistant plates and bowls and non-slip grip cutlery. Fortuna is also the main UK distributor for Drinkup21, a handsfree drinking system designed to enable anyone who cannot lift a cup to drink without assistance. The innovative device can be attached to beds, tables and wheelchairs with its multi-positional clamp, helping to make drinking easier, improving fluid intake and reducing the dangerous risk of dehydration.
Sarah Pugh announced as new Whizz-Kidz CEO Whizz-Kidz, the charity which provides equipment and support to young wheelchair users, has appointed Sarah Pugh as its next chief executive. She will be only the third chief executive in the disabled charity’s 30-year history. Pugh, who spent almost six years as chief executive of Heart of Kent Hospice, will succeed Ruth Owen OBE, who departed to join Leonard Cheshire after 17 years. Before Owen, Mike Dixon led the charity for the first 13 years. Whizz-Kidz Chairman, Sir Crispin Davis, said Pugh would bring a “wealth of experience and a track record of delivering transformative change”. He said: “Sarah clearly has a compassionate and empathetic nature, is a real team player and will, I believe, fit in very well with the Whizz-Kidz family culture.”
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Retailer launches its own branded face masks Mobility retailer Snowdrop Independent Living has launched its own branded face masks to make its customers feel safe and confident. Since the introduction of face covering rules by the government, the retailer found that staff were expressing that wearing a face covering was making it difficult to provide its usual customer service because unbranded masks look clinical and unfriendly. The shop, which has seven stores in South Wales and the Midlands, has had positive feedback to the face masks so far. A spokesperson said: “Staff have commented that they are well-made and comfortable, and they are wearing the masks with pride. Customers have said they love the colour green and the masks offers reassurance that we have taken our safety measures seriously.”
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Powerchairs 12 / www.thiis.co.uk
Wondering which powerchairs are grabbing mobility companies’ attention? Each month, retailers in the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out for them and why…
Retailer’s Choice: iChair MC2 RS from Meyra “The iChair MC2 RS is manufactured by Meyra and distributed by Electric Mobility in the UK. The sports version of the MC2, the MC2 RS is RWD only, and, in addition to having high performance capabilities, has good outdoor capabilities. “The fastest specification available includes a top speed of 13 kmh powered by 2 x 350W motors, 120amp power module, 73Ah batteries with 10inch castors and 15inch rear wheels. “Meyra use P&G controls so the usual P&G options are available. With custom programming, the chair can be taken to extreme levels of performance. The actuator options include tilt-in-space, recline and elevating leg rests. “Available seat widths are 380mm-530mm using either the standard seating or Recaro system. You could also build third party seating onto the chair using their third party back tube option. “There isn’t an exhaustive list of options and configurations available for the chair, but for users who are looking for a chair which can offer good outdoor performance in conjunction with the ability to thrill, Matt Mohr then the iChair MC2 RS could be the Managing ticket.” Director of www.kentmobility.org.uk Kent Mobility
Retailer’s Choice: Quickie Q100 R from Sunrise Medical “Our product of the month is the Quickie Q100 R from Sunrise Medical. “It is a great chair for indoor use, with a small footprint and excellent turning circle, but also manages well outside. It looks modern and stylish, with a good selection of coloured trims. “Its foldable back and removable arms make it easy to store at home, and as its weight is under 100kg, it works well with a standard car lifter. Sunrise provide great dealer support, which helps us to back up any customer requirements.” www.classicmobility.org.uk
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Retailer’s Choice: Go Chair from Pride Mobility “There is so much to like about this powerchair. It is an existing model that Pride re-engineered and made to look more modern. I have sold this style to young and old alike. You can get it in six different colours! I really love the pink colour - I do think they should bring out some different patterned panels, for the younger generation, instead of being plain. “It has under-seat storage with two swing out trays, a really comfy padded seat, which is a five-point swivel seat and height and width adjustable arms. The weight limit is higher than the standard industry of 18 stone at 21 stone and 6lbs. “Stability is really good. It has 18ah batteries, giving a range of 15km. You can break the chair down into five manageable sections, all easy to lift into the boot of your car.” www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk
Lauren Bromfield Director of Classic Mobility
Karen Sheppard Managing Director of People First Mobility
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Retailer’s Choice: Falcon from Karma Mobility
Ceri Dixon Marketing Manager of Ableworld
Retailer’s Choice: Jazzy Air 2 from Pride Mobility “We have chosen the Jazzy Air 2 Powerchair from Pride Mobility for our Retailer’s Choice. “The Jazzy Air 2 Powerchair has been a fantastic addition to our range. Packed full of features and benefits, it has proven to be a popular choice for customers, offering them another great option for remaining independent, both inside and outside the home. “The elevating powerchair offers great stability and allows users to enjoy face to face engagement, boosting independence and social confidence. Driving up to 4mph, with a range of approximately 19 miles, this powerchair can be used in all situations: shopping, socialising with friends and family as well as around the home. “With Mid-Wheel 6 Drive and Active-Trac Suspension, a 12inch elevation and a 53cm turning radius, this powerchair is comfortable, height adjustable and easy to manoeuvre, offering customers more possibilities. “Available in a range of colours, the Jazzy Air 2 is popular with customers of all ages, who are looking for a mobility solution to match their personality.” www.ableworld.co.uk
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“You would go a long way to find a more value-adding and cost-effective, yet extremely capable, powerchair than the Karma Mobility compact, medium-size Falcon. “This product has been a long-standing favourite of Mobility Scotland and we currently deploy them with absolute confidence within some of the Shopmobility services we assist with. “The Falcon gives us many options, especially within restricted indoor spaces, with its ability to manoeuvre through tight spaces, its nimbleness and ease of use in and out of lifts, as well as its ability to negotiate through shops, doorways and corners safely. “These attributes, coupled with many other design features, make it so user friendly for the customer. In our eyes, this compact but capable piece of kit a real winner. “Some of its distinguishing features, such as flip up arms, make it easy and safe if a customer needs to make a side transfer. Also, its ability to quickly adapt to an attendant control makes the Falcon versatile and safe for many users who will use these within the Shopmobility Services. The height adjustable armrests are another boon, which again allows the chair to be tailored to suit many different users. “All in all, the Falcon represents great value for the dealer and offers the user / customer so many different options within an indoor environment, and outdoors for that matter, as its powerful motors and robust build ensures, stability, versatility and reliability.” www.mobilityscotlandltd.co.uk
Billy Finnie Operations Manager of Mobility Scotland
Back seat pocket for extra storage
NEW FOR 2021 USB Charger
A lightweight and portable solution Simple one touch folding system
Flight safe batteries
Foldable footrest Under seat storage bag
Sleek, practical and ultra-lightweight. The all new iGo lite weighs only 19.8 kg making it our lightest powerchair yet! With a built in USB charger, you’ll be able to travel and stay connected with the world around you. Its flight safe batteries mean the sky is your limit - simply unfold and go, for an adventure of a lifetime. www.pride-mobility.co.uk
Retailer’s Choice: D09 from KwK “Over many years of trading as TPG DisableAids, we have seen the powerchair market evolve from some very crude, heavy and unreliable powered wheelchairs to some very sophisticated high performance, but heavy, modes of personal transport. “Market demands also evolve and trends emerge that require differing solutions for some. “One of those more recent demands is for a competent, powerful, agile and lightweight powerchair that can fold for storage and transport, but still be grown up enough to perform for a full day of mobility over various terrains. “We had looked at a few that promised much, but failed to deliver on several of the key points. Then we found the KWK D09 that
seems to have addressed many of the shortcomings that let down its competitors. “It has dual, easily removable batteries, but will still work on one with lowered performance. It can be folded with just one hand and pulled along like a shopping cart to store. “The unfolding is incredibly simple and has a reassuring solid feel. It boasts a user weight 180kg and total weight of 26.5kg, including batteries. Two 250w brushless motors give it around 15 miles of range on a full charge. “A few useful options are available to further tailor it to the individual user. An altogether big improvement on some of the folding chairs we have seen before.” www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk
Alastair Gibbs Managing Director of TPG DisableAids
Retailer’s Choice: M3 Corpus from Permobil “Lifestyle & Mobility is continually looking to provide the latest, cutting-edge products on the market. Permobil has just released the new M3 Corpus Powerchair. “On first impressions, it could look like they’ve just updated the aesthetics with new shrouds, however, it’s really so much more than that! Yes – it now comes in 12 beautiful colour options! Yes – it comes with the fantastic Corpus Seating System. Yes – it now comes with new dynamic indicators and hazard lights, as well as front lights that are twice as bright than other chairs on the market. “The New Permobil M3 offers more than just these features that I’ve already mentioned. The company has built this chair with the customer’s independence in mind. The development of new features, such as active reach, which
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can tilt the chair forward by 20 degrees, and raises the chair at the same time. This allows the user to carry out so many daily tasks with ease like never before – functions that able-bodied people take for granted – such as cleaning our teeth and leaning over the basin or getting something out the kitchen cupboard. “Permobil has also introduced advanced power technology, which gives faster charging of just two to three hours and give an increased driving range up to 25 per cent. “Customers can also now download a free MyPermobil App. With this, users can check how
far they have gone, map their ride, and even see powerful seating insights with real-time angle and adjustment tracking. “So, it’s no surprise this is our Retailer’s Choice of the Month.”
Darren Macey Business Development Manager of Lifestyle and Mobility
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HWB Mobility: Not taking it lying down! Andrew Morgan and his partner Julie Campbell are the founders of HWB Mobility; a nationwide supplier of British made mobility furniture. The business was formed back in 2010. “Its hard to believe that was 11 years ago now,” laughs Andrew. “It’s a cliché but it really has flown by!” It is safe to say the mobility industry is a world apart from Andrew’s formative years working in banking and for the HMRC, but a chance encounter led to him working in the mobility furniture industry. Andrew explains that he was between jobs when he took up a temporary employment opportunity from a ‘friend of a friend’ to work as a tele-appointer for an adjustable bed business. It was only supposed to be for a couple of weeks but he ended up staying on permanently.
Andrew Morgan and Julie Campbell, directors of HWB Mobility
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“As soon as I got a taste for the job satisfaction that comes from making such a difference to people’s quality of life, there was no going back,” he recalls. Andrew’s job involved calling potential customers to arrange home visits by appointment with the sales team. Within six months he had been promoted to Office Manager, managing a team of 12 teleappointers. His role entailed much more involvement with his colleagues in field sales and inspired by them, he asked his boss if he could work in this area – even though he couldn’t drive yet. GOING DOOR-TO-DOOR The step-up to door-to-door sales was a useful learning curve for Andrew in learning about the bedding and seating sector in more depth, he says. “We’d have training days where we’d learn all about the mechanics of the adjustable beds and riser recliners, the features like builtin massage foam mattresses, the varying degrees of firmness and the vital importance of pressure care... “For the chairs, it was all about posture and ensuring the chair fits the customer and not the other way round. We learnt about the different back cushions and the reasons someone might choose a lateral
Although new to the online world, HWB Mobility has been trading since 2010 but like so many businesses in the midst of a pandemic, it is had to adapt the way it works. As a result, the firm, which is based in Barry, South Wales, opted to set up a bespoke ecommerce website. Partnering with the likes of Repose, Camelot, Furmanac, Bodyease, Vogue Beds and Opera, HWB Mobility has been bringing adjustable beds, rise & recline chairs, profiling beds and specialist seating solutions to individuals, charities and the healthcare sector right across the UK. THIIS caught up with its director Andrew Morgan following the launch of the new website…
support over a button-back for instance.” Andrew was eventually trained up as a Field Sales Representative and he passed his driving test too. “From my very first appointment, I was hooked,” he comments. “No two days were the same and I met some wonderful people with amazing stories to tell. I’d found my niche and there was no going back.” Sales reps in the adjustable bed world have been portrayed in a bad light on occasions, he says, and sometimes deservedly so, with some using high pressure tactics and outstaying welcomes. “I just saw it as a numbers game,” says Andrew. “I’d be as professional and as polite with a lead resulting in a sale as I would be if it was a, “sorry, I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to see you.” “You learn to take rejection with a pinch of salt, brush it off and move
“Understanding our clients’ needs puts us in a great position to transfer our business model online” ANDREW MORGAN
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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT on to the next one. More often than not though, I would be lucky enough to be offered in for a cup of tea!” In 2010, once Andrew had a reached a point in his career where he was confident in his skills and experience, he felt ready to set up his own business alongside his partner Julie. There were no hard feelings with the company he left behind, he explains. “I had always made clear my aspirations and ambitions and so the transition was smooth and seamless with no hard feelings.” Andrew couldn’t wait to put all the invaluable knowledge and experience he had gained over the previous five years to good use. DOING IT ALONE HWB Mobility didn’t start out as a national supplier. Up until the
pandemic struck, Andrew and Julie were focused on making direct sales. Andrew explains: “We covered South Wales and the West of England and visited clients in their own homes to discuss their requirements for our products. “I would not only make the initial home visit but, along with Julie, we would deliver, install, demonstrate and carry out any aftercare where necessary.” But then along came the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020... The business was hit hard and the couple’s income dropped off a cliff overnight. Lockdown restrictions meant that the couple were unable to visit any new clients, and even if they were allowed to, morally it didn’t seem right, given that the vast majority of its clients were classed as ‘vulnerable’.
Let the Powerpack do the pushing Incredibly easy to fit and simple to remove Designed and made in the UK Range of up to 10 miles
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Says Andrew: “Our clients are mainly people over 60, living in their own homes but are struggling with arthritis and general aches and pains. “They might have trouble sleeping and getting out of their chair. If my years as a door-to-door salesperson have taught me anything, it’s to listen and to understand. “Our understanding of our prospective clients’ needs puts us in a great position to transfer our business model from an in-person one, to online.” THE MOVE TO ONLINE Andrew and Julie had had the idea of developing a website for a long time. “Coronavirus simply caused us to run out of any more feasible excuses and forced our hand to a certain degree,” explains Andrew.
Looking back he says that working on the website was a good thing because it kept them busy and gave them a purpose. “There’s hardly been a working day that has gone by without there being something to do,” he adds. The couple invested heavily in a purpose-built e-commerce website. The site took six months to create and they couldn’t be happier with the results. Andrew says that Julie has been his rock throughout the entire process. He remarks: “Julie was the driving force behind the creation of the website and we wouldn’t be in the position we are now without her.” When Julie’s not busy maintaining the website and managing the business’s social media presence, she is coordinating the finances, liaising with new manufacturers and investigating new product lines. HWB Mobility has expanded its supplier list quite considerably over the last several months and it now includes Repose Specialist Seating, Harvest Healthcare (who are now sister companies, owned by Prism Medical), Vogue Beds, Furmanac, Varimatic (Adjustamatic’s B2B arm), and Bodyease. Andrew explains that they have been in talks with several others and will be in a position to add even more products to its range soon. He adds: “In addition to adding to our manufacturer list, we have deployed the services of Healthcare Distribution Direct (HDD) to take care of installation services for us. “It was an extremely difficult decision to hand over this part of our operation, but it really is in safe hands with Martin Foster [sales director for HDD] and his team.”
The product range includes adjustable beds such as this super king bedstead
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES While business has been transformed by moving online, the process hasn’t been without its difficulties. Communicating virtually with manufacturers and the web designer has been a challenge, says Andrew, but he feels that they are now stronger and better placed to deal with whatever challenges come next. “Our main objective now is to get our name out there and to become a company that people can trust,” states Andrew. To that end, his aim is to continue to invest in paid newspaper advertising – possibly looking at radio advertising as well in the future – while exploring ways to grow his business’s reach organically. The main competition to Andrew’s business is, of course, other online retailers that sell the same products, but he hopes that HWB Mobility stands out in several ways.
“We’ve meticulously researched the market for each and every product that we supply and as such, we can say – with a fair degree of confidence – that we are the lowest priced supplier of everything that we offer.” The business’s offering of Repose chairs, for instance, is comprehensive, he says. “Not only do we supply a wide range of both their riser recliners and healthcare chairs, the size range available through HWB Mobility is exhaustive and easily explained with a clearly visible and easilyunderstood size chart.
“Our main objective is to become a company that people can trust” ANDREW MORGAN
Call to find out more
01787 888 106 Attaches in seconds
or email email@example.com www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THS20
www.thiis.co.uk / 25
RETAILER SPOTLIGHT “There’s an array of fabrics to choose from and an option for customers to choose a different inner and outer fabric too.” Andrew explains that offering the lowest prices on the market for all of its products is an important consideration. “We want to give the customer every reason to shop with us,” he says. The ‘price promise’ offered by HWB Mobility also aims to go that little bit further, he explains. “We won’t just beat the price for the person that’s found it cheaper, we’ll alter the price on our site so it’s cheaper for everyone else from that point on.” After months of plugging away on the website, Andrew is satisfied that everything is finally in place now from a business perspective. “Even before the virus, buying trends were leaning heavily towards online and so it makes perfect sense
that we took this step in line with our clientele,” he reflects. Covid aside, there is also the added challenge of Brexit impacting on sales. All of HWB Mobility’s suppliers are based in the UK but Andrew says that he is not naive enough to think that they won’t be affected. He explains: “Clearly our manufacturers will have dealings with businesses on the continent so supply chains and prices could be impacted. “Our strategy is to be the market’s lowest price point so where possible we will try and absorb these costs ourselves. One supplier has already put their prices up but we are yet to do the same.” FUTURE PLANS In the long term, Andrew says that he has ambitions to add scooters and powerchairs to the product
HWB Mobility continuously updates its pricing with the aim of offering low price points.
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“All the years we’ve been in the industry has stood us in great stead to know our customers inside out” ANDREW MORGAN
range at HWB Mobility. He adds: “There are no plans to open a physical premises but if the market demands it, then we will certainly consider it.” Andrew says that he does miss the old days of being out on the road – much more than he thought he would. “It’s the face-to-face contact, listening to people’s wonderful tales of years gone by, visiting parts of the country I’d never been to and the good old fashioned buzz you get of making a sale in person.” He hopes that one day soon things will settle down again and that he may still get out and about a little bit. For now, however, he says, the new online venture is taking up every waking hour of his time. “We’re thoroughly enjoying the challenge. All the years we’ve been in the industry has stood us in great stead to know our customers inside out and to be able to answer any questions that arise confidently and accurately.” The mobility sector has faced challenges that it never thought it would have to in recent times, comments Andrew, but this period in time has been inspiring. “It has been amazing to read the various articles printed in THIIS Magazine, explaining how people and businesses have adapted, using technology to reach out to their clients. “There are some extremely resilient, versatile and genius minds in this industry and my hope is that we will all come out of this even better for the experience.” www.hwbmobility.co.uk
• • • •
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• Maximum carrying capacity 25 stone • Maximum speed 8mph • Range up to 30 miles* • Pneumatic or solid tyres • Road legal
• Available in blue, orange and lime green • Full suspension • High back captain seat • LED lights • USB port Approved
• Maximum carrying capacity 32 stone • Maximum speed 8mph • Range up to 30 miles* • Pneumatic or solid tyres • Road legal • Available in blue, orange and lime green • Full suspension • High back captain seat • LED lights • USB port Approved
* Range is dependent upon user weight, terrain, incline, temperature and battery conditions.
Trade talk Q&A with Clare Brophy, Vice President Commercial of Handicare HOW SUCCESSFUL HAS THE PROGRAMME BEEN? “Since it was first introduced in 2014, dealers have been keen to be involved with our Partner Programme and to grow their business with Handicare. The Programme has always been about how we can support our partners’ businesses. “With over 70 partners and a top performing tier helping us to grow our share of the market in the UK, we’ve all been proud of what has been achieved.” WHY IS HANDICARE INTRODUCING A NEW PROGRAMME NOW? “If it ain’t broken, why fix it? It’s true, the programme has continued to go from strength to strength in the UK, culminating in the introduction of a new Prestige tier in 2019. However, as an international business, we wanted to make sure our Programme was the same in every territory where we have partners. “Last year, we carried out research, listening to our partners around the world, and we now have a much clearer idea of what they value, what they want from their stairlift partner, and how that aligns with our own business goals.” WHAT IS CHANGING? “The new Programme is clearer, more structured and there are now five tiers, as well as a wide range of financial and non-financial benefits which partners will have access to, according to their level.
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“We’ve made it much easier for partners to see what Handicare provides for each level, how to progress to the next level, and what we expect in terms of their commitment to growing their business with us. There are some exciting new features we know partners will value, because that’s what they’ve told us they want. “Making the programme more transparent, and making it easier for partners to do business with us, have been the main drivers for the new Programme. It’s not just about supplying stairlifts, our partners want so much more than just a supplier. They want a collaborative business partner. “Now our new Programme gives them exactly that. We know
After a year that’s seen retail suffer some of its toughest trading conditions, stairlift manufacturer Handicare has taken stock of its successful Partner Programme and plans to roll out a new improved scheme in 2021. Discussing how it plans to nurture its partner network, Handicare Accessibility VP Commercial Clare Brophy explains why the time is right to take the Handicare Partner Programme to the next level and how it will help retailers realise their growth ambitions.
they won’t get the same level of total business support from anyone else in our sector.” www.handicarepartners.com
Growing Together Case study:
Mountfield Services Est 1996 Based in the South East and focusing mainly on the public sector, Mountfield Services is a family-run business with big ambitions. The company has been moving up the ranks in Handicare’s Partner Programme since it was launched in 2014 and has more than doubled turnover in the last two years. Founder Mick Anderson set up the business after the company he was working for ceased trading, and he saw an opportunity to build on the reputation he’d started to gain for himself amongst local authorities and OTs across Essex. His son, Lee, who remembers coming to help out while still at school, now fronts the stairlift side of the business while his dad focuses on bathing sales. A Handicare customer since before the Partner Programme was established, Mountfield quickly progressed through the scheme to become one of the first Prestige Partners in 2019. “I really want to take the business to the next level and have my sights set on becoming Handicare’s largest independent partner,” says Lee. “We’ve used other stairlift suppliers in the past, but now we’re fully committed to Handicare. We’re putting our name to the products we supply, it’s our reputation that’s at stake, and we have 100 per cent confidence in Handicare. We love the products! “I can fit them with my eyes closed practically and could probably even manage a 930 now if I needed to! But we love the service too, which feels very personal and in line with our own values,” he continues.
Mountfield Services Founder Mick Anderson (left) with his son Lee.
A relatively small team of five engineers with office support, Mountfield has seen its business grow massively over the last couple of years, despite the pandemic. The company is expanding to cover a wider geographic area, although Lee doesn’t like to stray too far from his base. “What I really like about Handicare is that like me, they don’t like stagnating. They’re constantly developing products and involving us in the process. We all love the unique features like the slide track and the new friction technology on the 1100 which really is a gamechanger.” But it’s not just the products Lee and his engineers love. “We can go weeks and even months without seeing some of our suppliers’ reps. But our Handicare contact, Simon Harrison, is more like a friend. Our monthly meetings
and targets help keep me focused which is great as I’m a pretty competitive person. “In fact, if the rumours about them introducing a league table are true, I think that would be a great idea! “I met one of my great pals and the business owner who’s currently ahead of me in the race to be Handicare’s largest independent partner at one of their Dealer Days, which are great occasions. “I don’t know anyone else who gets everyone in one room to celebrate and talk about what’s happening with their business and the industry in general. “I’d been looking forward to picking up an award, but the events have been put on hold now obviously. Maybe next year!” www.mountfieldservices.co.uk
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Lee outside the Cornwall-based warehouse for Rehasense UK
Rehasense: Rolling with the punches With aims to become one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of rollators and wheelchairs in the UK and Ireland, these are exciting times for Rehasense UK. Since entering into the UK market
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in 2018, its UK Managing Director Lee French says that the Rehasense product range has had a good response from retailers. “We have also received very positive feedback from end-users and OTs who have been impressed
Having recently opened a new purpose-built UK headquarters and warehouse facility and with plans to launch several new products this year, Rehasense UK’s expansion plans for 2021 have been going well despite a global pandemic. The manufacturer and supplier of high-end mobility solutions is currently looking to expand its UK retailer network this year. THIIS caught up with Lee French, Managing Director at Rehasense UK, to find out more…
with the performance, quality and finish of our products and we hope to build on this growing reputation in 2021.” Despite the pandemic throwing a spanner in the works over the last 12 months, the firm has continued
Get more of what you value with our new Partner Programme We’ve made it easier than ever for you to see what you will receive from us and what we expect from you as a partner.
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apace with its expansions plans, says Lee, which has included working on new products. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT In fact, it was product development and design which led to Lee working with Rehasense. With its global head offices in Denmark and Germany, and customer service and logistics centres based in Poland, the manufacturer was looking to break into the UK market. Lee has worked in the healthcare industry for over 20 years, starting off in care homes and working up to the position of Care Home Manager,
before moving on to supply products in a retail setting up until 2020. He became involved with Wheelchair Services contracts, which led to him working for one of the large wheelchair government contractors at director level. During this time, Lee started developing and sourcing products from all over the world. It was an area of work that he really enjoyed and he began to explore ways in which he could fully utilise his skill set. “I had been aware of Rehasense Global for some years and watched them grow over time and expand their portfolio of high-quality
“We believe in talking to our retailers as they are the ones with the expertise” LEE FRENCH
products,” explains Lee. “I had been working on some projects for one of my overseas customers and had met with the senior management team which left me very impressed with them and
Tomasz Bidus, professional wheelchair rugby player and brand ambassador demonstrates the soon-to-be-launched PAWS model
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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT development,” he adds. “We have an excellent team in the UK that will grow, and with the support of the Global company to help us with our product road map and further development in the UK. I am sure there are exciting times ahead for Rehasense UK and its dealers.”
The TrackWheel model is designed to enable users to travel over more uneven terrain
the quality and attention to detail they put into their projects.” Lee started to carry out some consultancy work and researched possible dealers for Rehasense in the UK and Ireland. “It was during a meeting with them that I suddenly thought to myself “what was I doing”? I had the industry experience and knew there was a gap in the UK market for the Rehasense product range.” Lee felt that with the expertise of the Rehasense Global team, he could help bring these products to market in the UK and Ireland, where they would also be controlled
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from the UK. “I believed there was a need for a new supplier in the market that would only sell through dealers and not direct to the end-user.” In July 2018, Rehasense UK was set up. It took six months to bring the products in with the aim being to start off slowly as the business grew, explains Lee. During this time, he had many meetings with the team at Rehasense Global headquarters to get the products ready, with some changes for the UK market. “I now sit on the Global team and support where I can in new product
GROWING RETAILER NETWORK Rehasense UK only offers B2B and sells through a UK dealer network, comments Lee, and it is hoping to grow its dealer network significantly in 2021. Dealers who come onboard with Rehasense have access to a growing range of products that are lightweight, made from high-quality material and backed by up to a seven-year warranty, he says. “We are looking for new dealers who want to stock high-quality products that have a reputation for being among the best available and will complement their existing product ranges. “Point of sale material is available and we are always happy to support our retailers at shows and events and offer advice should a customer have a query regarding one of our products as we want to help every dealer grow their business. “New dealers will also be the first to see the exciting range of new products that will be launched later this year.” Says Lee: “When talking to a customer, they can be rest assured that they will receive the product on a 24-hour delivery.”
“Seeing the late Sir Tom Moore using our Server CF being knighted by the Queen was a wonderful moment” LEE FRENCH
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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT Customer satisfaction is key to Rehasense UK’s ethos. After all, its target customer is someone who is looking for a quality, stylish mobility solution that will last and offer value for money, says Lee. “Over the years, I have seen a number of customers move dealers because they have been sold a product that has not met the expectations of the end-user. “So, we always listen to our dealer and their customer to ensure the product they purchase will meet their expectations and that of their family or anyone involved in caring for them.” Dealers can expect to be fully supported with training and education on the product range (see pg40 for information on some of its latest additions) with assessment stock supplied to them if they require it, explains Lee, which is also available on next day delivery. “We believe in talking to our retailers as they are the ones with the expertise and we value their feedback and involvement in new product design. “Regular visits to our retailers in their showrooms are also a priority,” Lee states, who explains that these will recommence once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. “To support the launches that will come this year, we are setting up a ‘just in time’ facility which will allow dealers to order bespoke versions of our new product lines built to their specifications and those of their customer.” The firm also plans to keep its dealers informed with the launch of a new quarterly retailer newsletter to keep them updated on its plans for 2021. HIGH AND LOWS The past year has produced some real highlights for Rehasense UK, enthuses Lee. “Like most companies we have had some very slow months, but we have also had some excellent months over the last year. “I would say the proudest achievements at Rehasense would be how the team has supported our retailers and customers during such
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a challenging year. “Seeing the late Sir Tom Moore using our Server CF when being knighted by the Queen was also a wonderful moment for the company.” Like many other firms in the mobility sector, the firm also experienced a few challenges, he admits, with the pandemic slowing things down, but the team at Rehasense UK used this time productively. “The slow months gave the opportunity to work on new products for later this year and keep up with all the work that goes on behind the scenes so we can build those strong foundations that every business needs.” There is light at the end of the tunnel and that is getting brighter every week, admits Lee, with the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out at a great speed. Lee is looking forward to getting to see the firm’s dealers face-toface again and managing the new product launches this year. Brexit-related import changes have been another headache, he acknowledges, with the increased freight charge and time on deliveries, and the logistical changes involved requiring a lot more communication over the phone and via Teams/Zoom meetings with dealers, the global team and R&D departments. There have also been a few challenges with distributing products to Ireland. “Before Brexit, it would take 48 hours. This is now taking up to 10 days but I am confident this will settle back down. We also have facilities in Europe that we can use if time becomes a barrier on the shipping front.”
“From day one, we wanted to be in control of supplying to our dealers and be happy with the picking and shipping processes” LEE FRENCH
retailers. When Rehasense first started to bring the products into the UK, it did not have a warehouse, explains Lee, apart from a facility in Leeds that was part of a 12-month agreement. “From day one, we wanted to be in control of supplying to our dealers and be 100 per cent happy with the picking and shipping processes, so in March 2020, we took on new facilities here in Cornwall.” The new facility can hold around 5,000 products in stock at any one time which are ready to be shipped the next day, he explains, and as the facility is so close to where Lee and his administrative team live, it allows the team there to have full control of the service that it offers its dealers. “From here, we supply all product, parts and support from under one roof,” he says. And there are some other tasty perks to its location too says Lee. “Any visitors also get a complimentary Cornish pasty for lunch.” www.rehasense.co.uk
FINDING A BASE Setting up the new purpose-built UK headquarters and warehouse facility in Cornwall during a global pandemic has been another challenge, says Lee, but it also one of Rehasense’s UK proudest achievements. The facility will enable the firm to offer a 24-hour delivery service to all
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Rehasense UK reveals some exciting new additions The latest products to be launched by Rehasense UK include the ICON 35 lightweight aluminium wheelchairs, comments Lee French. “Weighing just 8.2kg, the ICON 35Bx is the lightest wheelchair in the ICON range and features an ergonomic seat and back angle to provide a superb seating position. “The ICON 35Lx weighs only 9kg and is fitted with enhanced ergonomic seating, back upholstery and adjustable arm rests for increased levels of support and pressure relief if required. Both models have a maximum user weight of 125kg.
The sturdy Space LX rollator.
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“The Space LX rollator combines intuitive design and high strength alloy materials yet weighs only 5.8kg, ensuring it is very easy to walk with, lift and turn indoors and outside. To ensure good posture, height-adjustable handles with indexed settings provide increased user comfort. “Available in medium or large and three colours, the Space LX is fitted with a backrest, stick holder, quick positive braking system and integrated removeable basket as standard and has a maximum user weight of 150kg. “For users looking for a more lightweight rollator, the Space CF is
The lightweight Space CF rollator.
perfect. At 4.7kg, it is the lightest carbon fibre rollator currently on the market and is available in medium and large. With a maximum user weight of 150kg, the Space CF is easy to control and manoeuvre due to its exceptional lightweight design in both indoor and outdoor environments. “As with the Space LX, the CF features a rigid X frame with easyfold mechanism which provides more space in the foot area to reduce any risk of tripping. “Later this year, we will also be launching the new PAWS (Power Assisted Wheelchair System) and Trackwheel. The Trackwheel system is designed to enable users to have increased stability when they travel over uneven terrain and it is set to be a game changer for the power add-on market. Completing our new product launches will be a new lowcost active chair and Tilt-in-space comfort chair.” For more information on the full range of products available or to discuss potential retailer opportunities with Rehasense UK, contact Lee on 07764 409 729 or email email@example.com You can view the full product range at www.rehasense.co.uk
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LET’S GET IT CLEAR
Look Ear, I’ve got eyes in the back of my head We create much of our gross spatial awareness capabilities in the first couple of years of life as we learn to crawl and then move onto walking – this is why offering powered mobility to physically impaired youngsters is so important. Along the way, we are learning how far do we need to move to bump into something or to reach something? From there on, it’s a matter of fine-tuning this awareness – but what are the tools that the body has to achieve this and where does the fine tuning happen? The toolkit is a combination of a number of senses and our nervous system assessing and processing these inputs to lead to appropriate actions. We do not rely on only one of these senses, but on a combination of them, and are therefore able to compensate to quite some extent if we do lose access to one of them. EYES Visual input is important – we use horizontal and vertical clues, and develop an expectation of size and shape from these. Most of us have
Dr Barend ter Haar has been involved in seating and mobility for over 30 years, including lecturing internationally and developing international seating and decontamination standards.
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Spatial awareness is vital for our ability to conduct our daily activities accurately and safely. In this article, we look at the various inputs we use to assess where we are in space, and pay specific attention to the role our ears play and what we need to do to facilitate this.
Fig 1. Paintings by Frederico Faruffini and Albert Anker of women reading. Note the reading area is in the ‘centre of gaze’ which is a 15˚ cone for optimal black and white, and colour vision
binocular vision and the slight awareness? Proprioceptive receptors variation between what the left in our joints are important – these and the right eye perceives gives let us know where bits of our bodies us ability judgeFaruffini distances. are in space, with our area eyes Fig the 1. Paintings by to Frederico and Albert Anker of women reading.even Note the reading is in the ‘centreto of make gaze’ which is ause 15o cone for optimal black and white, and colout However, best of the closed. These allowvision us, with our visual inputs, we need to keep the eyes closed, still to be able to place head steady, the eyes ideally in a a finger onto the end of our nose, for horizontal plane, and the object example. being viewed in the centre of gaze (Fig 1). EARS Thus, the seating set-up and the The other area of our hidden senses amount and type of head support is the ears. Inside our ears we have are critical, especially for those with poor muscle control (Fig 2). JOINTS Apart from vision, what other senses help to give us input into our spatial Fig 2. An i2i head and neck support helps position the head (right), as compared with the ‘before’ Fig 2. An i2ito enable the person to be able to use the screen position (left), head and neck support helps position the head (far right), as compared with the ‘before’ position (right), to enable the person to be able to use the screen
the semicircular canals. When the head moves, the fluid within the semicircular canals (which sit at right angles to each other) also moves. This fluid motion is detected by hair cells, which then send nerve impulses about the position of the head to the brain. This feeling of where our head is in space helps our sense of balance, along with input from our feet, backside, etc. The other important part of the ear is the flap on the outside - the pinna. The pinna collects sound waves and channels them into the ear canal (the external auditory meatus), where the sound is amplified. The sound waves then travel toward the flexible, oval membrane at the end of the ear canal: the eardrum, or tympanic membrane. LOOK EAR But how do we know where the sound is coming from? How can we see with our ears? Part of this is achieved by our ears being separated by the width of our heads, so sounds from one side take longer to reach one ear than the other (in a way, paralleling the benefits of binocular vision in the form of binaural hearing). But if I click my fingers a metre in front of you or a metre behind you, how do you tell which it is, since the soundwave is travelling the same distance to each ear? The answer lies in all the crinkles in the pinna: these add minor distortions to the sound waves as they reach the ear
Fig. 3 Head covering that allows the ears to flap freely
and the crinkles are different shapes to the sound waves if hit from behind than from in front. Early on in life, we learn what the distortions tell us about the direction a sound has come from. So, for their safety and for their full spatial awareness, if you are putting head protection on a person, please ensure that the ears are not covered up and the pinnae are available to flap freely (Fig 3). This is as important for youngsters learning to fine tune their spatial awareness as it is to the elderly population with dementia and confusion. For the ages in between, whether say skiing or cycling, leave the ears free to bring in the auditory clues and keep the head still and level so that finer
motor control of other parts of the body can be achieved. If you are providing a head support to keep the head steady, and positioned to optimise the visual field, make sure the individual has a properly positioned and tightened pelvic positioning belt and appropriate trunk anterior supports.
‘Let’s Get it Clear’ by Dr Barend ter Haar One in a series of occasional résumés of aspects in the world of posture and mobility where there are common misconceptions, and myths to be addressed, to help promote better practice. Further items can be found at www. beshealthcare.net. If you are interested in receiving further information on the topic, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE OT’S PERSPECTIVE
FAQ: Disabled Facilities Grant What do retailers and suppliers need to know about DFGs? By Stuart Barrow
WHAT IS THE DISABLED FACILITIES GRANT? Put simply, the DFG exists to help disabled people and families with disabled children alter their home in order to provide access to the same parts of the home that a nondisabled person has access to. It’s given by councils to help pay for the work that needs to be completed in order to provide that access and generally comes into
play when an adaptation costs more than £1,000. WHAT IS IT TYPICALLY USED FOR? The DFG can be used for a whole variety of things. Here are some of the most common: • Access to the garden • Access to front and rear of the property • Ease of use of the property (adapting something existing
Chances are you’ve heard of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). After all, it’s likely that some of your clients have used it to pay for your products in the past. But if that’s as far as your knowledge extends, then never fear – I’ve put together a short guide on exactly what retailers and suppliers need to know about the DFG.
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so it can be used) Access to washing and bathing. For example, provision of a shower and/or new specialist bath Access to a principal family room / living room To ensure safety within the curtilage of the property Adequate heating/lighting and ventilation.
IS EVERYONE ELIGIBLE FOR THE GRANT AND HOW MUCH IS POSSIBLE? The grant is “mandatory”, which means that if someone living in the property is disabled, it must be granted. However, it is “means tested”, which means depending on finances, a client may be asked to contribute towards the work too. If the adaptation is for a child or a young person, then it is not subject to a means test. WHAT CHANGED WITH THE REGULATORY REFORM ORDER (RRO)? Some specifics around the grant were amended in 2002, allowing more flexibility in its use. This allowed housing authorities to give discretionary assistance as a grant, loan or equity release, as long as they still meet mandatory requirements. Essentially, this gives local
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authorities much more flexibility in the way the grant is used – as an example, it might be decided that all stairlift requests are non-means tested fast tracked. With long Covid, RRO could be rewritten to allow stairlifts for hire i.e., monthly, and if not recovered after six months, the client could keep stairlift, as a longterm solution. HOW CAN YOU ASSIST YOUR CLIENTS WITH THE DFG? There are lots of different ways you could assist your clients – here are a few examples: • Completing all the paperwork – helping out your client and reducing purchase friction as a result • Liaising with the housing authority on behalf of your client, reducing their stress and workload • Providing flexible quotes –
your client may need to prove that they have looked at the various different options and you could provide three different options, or different brands, to help them with this Guidance on interim equipment – the DFG process can take some time, so lots of clients may need help in the interim, whether it’s a perching stool, a small ramp, a grab rail, or another type of product Manage the whole project – if you felt able to, you could manage the entire project from start to finish, eliminating work on your client’s behalf and making it easier and simpler for them to choose you. You would be acting as the client’s agent and could charge a fee payable by the DFG.
Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists panel and a recognised contributor in the field of home adaptations. He also runs the popular Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference
I hope this has given you some useful value on the DFG – if there’s anything else I can help with, feel free to email me at stuart@ promoting-independence.co.uk
Just like our seminars and exhibitions, our online webinars are quickly gaining legendary status within the industry, with hundreds of OT’s turning up virtually for each one, and some of the biggest players in the market taking centre stage to showcase their products, deliver training sessions or even CPD accredited seminars. Our online webinars make it possible to get your business infront of more people then you would often get at a traditional exhibition. Running your own online webinar with OTAC® couldn’t be any easier, we’ll take care of everything from promoting the event and registration management, right through to hosting the session and even sorting out the certificates afterwards.
You can choose to present from the comfort of your own home, or (if you need multiple cameras to demo a product) you could come to one of our studios or we could even send a technician to you.
It’s FREE and easy to register, just visit
Lockdown restrictions and social distancing mean that getting your business infront of Occupational Therapists is more challenging now than usual, and one of our OTAC® online webinars could be the perfect solution for you.
If you’d like more information on how you can run your very own Webinar, contact Stuart@promoting-independence.co.uk
Occupational Therapy Adaptation Conference
RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE
Buyers’ guide to Powerchairs and electric wheelchairs
Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider offering to customers
Joyrider 2 Folding Powered Chair from e-goes
Compact Powerchair from Drive DeVilbiss One of the lightest powerchairs in the Drive DeVilbiss range, this powerchair is ideal for navigating tight spaces. It is highly transportable, splitting into three sections for easy handling and storage. Featuring a programmable Dynamic LiNX controller with Bluetooth facility, the chair is designed for indoor and limited outdoor use. There is a convenient carry handle on the rear base unit and a height-adjustable seat that swivels to facilitate easy transfers. Other features include detachable and widthadjustable armrests, a lap belt, puncture-proof solid tyres, a height-adjustable and flip-up footplate and rear anti-tip wheels. The powerchair can reach up to four miles per hour and has a maximum range of eight miles. The maximum weight capacity is 115kg. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk
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The new split-frame Joyrider boasts a minimalist design, offering a manageable and stylish way to get out and about. To improve transportation of the chair, the frame can now be split into two parts: one being the main frame and seat; and the other, the rear wheel section, including the motors, battery and power module. The rear section, the heaviest part, is only 14.8kg, including the 1.8kg battery. When split and folded, the chair is easy to store and suitable for a wide range of car boots. This chair is ideal for a user or their partner who would normally find lifting a powered chair difficult. www.e-goes.co.uk
All Celebrity models containing Mammoth Medical Grade™ Seating Technology, including settees are HMRC recognised for Zero VAT where appropriate. Terms and conditions apply, for details www.celebrity-furniture.co.uk. *Fabric models only. Includes fixed chairs and settees
Tel: +44(0) 1623 440626
RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE
Powerchair (soon to be launched) from Ottobock
Hybrid Powerchair/ Scooter from Monarch Mobility
Ottobock will soon be launching an entry level power wheelchair which sits between the A200 and Juvo B4 in its range of power wheelchairs. It is compact and agile for indoor and outdoor use, has been crash tested and is suitable for use in transport. Launch date to be confirmed. Watch this space!
This two-in-one powerchair transforms into a scooter within minutes. Described as having the DNA of both powered mobility devices, the unique and innovative design incorporates all the features of both a powerchair and mobility scooter. Furthermore, it is available in a choice of four colours. The Hybrid conveniently fits into the boot of most cars, making it an ideal solution for both indoor and outdoor use in either form. www.monarchmobility.com
Aerolite Powerchair from Motion Healthcare The Aerolite offers intelligent design and is the ideal powerchair for the occasional traveller looking for the combination of indoor manoeuvrability and use on pavements and in the shops. With a simple pull or push, the Aerolite is folded or unfolded. With its tension adjustable back, adjustable armrests and flip-up footrest, Motion Healthcare says the Aerolite continues to boast some of the features of more advanced powerchairs but at a much lighter weight of just 19.5kg (22kg with batteries). The single lithium battery offers more simplicity and has its own charge socket so it can be charged off board. It is below the Civil Aviation Authority’s maximum capacity for air travel. www.motionhealthcare.co.uk
FreedomChair with Rise & Fall Seat from e-goes Working in a similar way to a rise and recline chair, the Seat Elevation Kit for FreedomChair A08/A08L models will comfortably raise or lower the user when leaving or entering the chair. The feature is operated by a long press on the speed increase button to raise the seat and lowering is by a long press on the speed decrease button. www.e-goes.co.uk
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K-Chair Powerchair from Kymco Healthcare A portable, compact and manoeuvrable mobility powerchair, this model is designed with two key elements in mind: to provide an easy-to-transport micro powerchair and to provide the user with superior levels of independence and mobility. It is ideal for driving indoors, due to its great turning ability, assisted by all-round solid tyres and a simple-to-use Dynamic LiNX control system. The chair boasts a
quick easyto-detach battery box; on and offboard charging; 21ah batteries; a swivel and height-adjustable seat; an adjustable one-piece flip-up footplate and four easy-to-manage parts, making it very easy to transport in the car. www.kymcohealthcare.com
Rascal P327 Seat Lift Powerchair from Electric Mobility Available through Motability, this heavy-duty mid-wheel drive powerchair is suitable for both indoor/outdoor usage and comes with a maximum carrying capacity of up to 28 stone. It offers durable full suspension and outstanding manoeuvrability. The P327 Seat Lift has a range of up to 20 miles and delivers great performance with 55Ah batteries. Featuring a comfortable, adjustable
captain’s seat with 10 inch scissor lift mechanism, it is designed to deliver a smooth and quiet lift action to reach a maximum floor-to-seat height of 87cm when fully elevated. www.electricmobility.co.uk
Leon Sling Powerchair from Karma Mobility Leon Sling is Karma’s rear-wheel indoor/outdoor powered wheelchair that has the option to add power positioning modules, power tilt from zero to 23 degrees and recline from zero to 32 degrees. Leon Sling has a total width of 62cm, making it convenient to manoeuvre through narrow doorways. The seat depth can be adjusted from 41cm to 46cm and the backrest can be angled from minus one degrees to 11 degrees. The armrests can flip back and the footrests can swing away and detach out of the way to make transferring in and out of the wheelchair safer. Leon is crash test approved in accordance with ISO 717619, meaning that it is suitable to be used as a seat in a motor vehicle for transportation. www.karmamobility.co.uk
VIVIO Powered Wheelchair from Kymco Healthcare A high-quality folding aluminium powered wheelchair, this model is designed to be versatile to use and convenient for travelling. VIVIO dismantles and folds up to fit into the car for users to take it with them. With a tension adjustable and folding backrest, adjustable width and height armrests, adjustable depth footrest position and footplate angle,
this chair can be adapted to suit many different users. Features include powerful 250 watt motors; detachable kerb-rider; swing-away joystick; swing-in and swing-out footrests; a 20 mile driving range; manual handbrakes fitted for safer transfers and solid tyres all round. www.kymco healthcare.com
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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE
K5 Folding Powered Chair from e-goes
This new K5 folding powered chair offers many adjustable and customisable features. From a seated position, the user can change the backrest angle, as well as the height and reach of the armrests. This chair comes with powerful motors, large diameter rear wheels for more challenging terrains and a high-quality lithium-ion battery. The LCD joystick control panel offers several customisable functions including the ability to adjust the responsiveness of the chair from soft, through normal to powerful, making the chair easy to set up to suit the conditions and user preferences. www.e-goes.co.uk
Blazer Captain Powerchair from Karma Mobility The Blazer is Karma’s newest rear-wheel power wheelchair with a narrow width of just 60cm to make navigating through doorways and lifts easier. The Captain seat contours to the user's body for support and comfort in 18” or 20” seat width. The backrest can be manually reclined from zero to 56 degrees or zero to 47 degrees, allowing the user to stretch out their hips and relax. The armrests can flip back and the footrests can swing out of the way to make transferring from the wheelchair safer. The armrests are height-adjustable from 18cm to 26cm to roll closer to a table. The Blazer is crash test approved in accordance with ISO 7176-19. This means it is suitable to be used as a seat in a motor vehicle for transportation. www.karmamobility.co.uk
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Seren Powerchair with Captains Seat from Drive DeVilbiss The Seren is an ultramanoeuvrable powerchair that moves effortlessly around tight corners. The powerchair uses a dynamic control system to give nonstop driving performance. Features include a padded captain’s seat and adjustable headrest add comfort, while height- and –width adjustable flip-up armrests and a swivel seat help to facilitate transfers. The powerchair also offers a front-wheel drive system, front and rear suspension, puncture-proof tyres, a single centre mount footplate and a Dynamic Shark controller. Designed for indoor and limited outdoor use, the chair reaches a maximum speed of four miles per hour and a maximum range of 12 miles. It is available in a 46cm seat width and can accommodate a maximum weight capacity of 135kg. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk
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4 Wheel Auto Folding Scooter
An impressive range of Scooters available!
Royale Sport Scooter
Getting out and about to get some fresh air couldn’t be easier with the Drive DeVilbiss range of mobility scooters. From our lightweight folding scooters through to our impressive road legal range we can meet all user requirements.
Contact us for more information on our range of delivery options available.
01274 475116 | email@example.com www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk
Carbon Lite Folding Electric Wheelchair from Monarch Mobility This new folding electric wheelchair boasts a strong carbon fibre construction and is one of the lightest of its type on the market. Sleek and practical, the Carbon Lite weighs 17kg when the airline-friendly lithiumion batteries are removed. The limited suspension and large, solid wheels combine to provide the user with a smooth and comfortable ride. Suitable for both leftand right-handed users, the controls on the Carbon Lite can be easily adjusted and positioned depending on the user's preference. This wheelchair features a simple, folding mechanism and, when folded, it is compact to allow for easy storage and transportation. www.monarchmobility.com
Edge 3 Stretto Powerchair from Quantum Rehab The Edge 3 Stretto features a narrow width for easy manoeuvrability and SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension), making it the perfect indoor and outdoor chair. The Stretto is also available with seat sizes suitable for both children and adults. Designed to fit into the smallest of spaces, the Stretto boasts a 20.5” overall width allowing for seamless indoor performance. In addition to its narrow width, the Stretto is also iLevel enabled and allows users to elevate to 12” whilst driving at 3.5 miles per hour. www.quantumrehab.co.uk
Jazzy Air 2 Powerchair from Pride Mobility The Jazzy Air 2 is the newest version of the Jazzy powerchair family and is a one-size-fits-all solution that is ready to use straight from the box. Its elevating seat raises to 12" in 11 seconds, providing easy face-to-face social engagement for any user. Driving whilst elevated at four miles per hour is smooth and secure. A comfortable high-back seat, Active-Trac Suspension and Mid-Wheel 6 Technology makes it stand out in the powerchair market. The sleek and modern Jazzy Air 2 also boasts seven different colours to choose from, ranging from black to bright pink.
Paravan Piccolino Paediatric Powerchair from Precision Rehab The Piccolino comes with a seat width range of 270mm to 430mm, a depth range of 320mm to 385mm, and back height of 400mm to 480mm. These options, combined with adjustable side supports, head support and other seat accessories, ensure each Piccolino powerchair is built to meet the individual needs of the client.
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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE
iGo Fold Powerchair from Pride Mobility The iGo Fold’s unique automatic remotecontrolled folding technology allows for effortless transport and storage. Offering a maximum speed of four miles per hour, additional storage in both the backrest and underneath pockets, the iGo Fold is practical in many ways. The chair also boasts a large footplate, lithium batteries and a maximum weight capacity of nearly 19 stone. www.pride-mobility.co.uk
Ezi-Fold from Monarch Mobility The Ezi-Fold Lightweight Electric Wheelchair boasts a lightweight design thanks to aluminium and magnesium alloy frame. In addition to its feather-light qualities, the Ezi-Fold is very strong. With a maximum capacity of 23 stone and a durable, rigid construction, this powerchair comes in at 26kg (including the battery). Powered by two 250-watt brushless motors, the powerchair is capable of a top speed of four miles per hour and has a range of up to 15 miles. The two motors can also work independently, allowing users to turn on the spot. The Ezi-Fold is now available on the Motability Scheme.
Foldalite Powerchair range from Motion Healthcare Foldalite powerchairs are ideal for users looking for a combination of indoor manoeuvrability and outdoor performance. There are three models in the range, which increase in size and capability, and each can be quickly and effortlessly folded into a compact package. A user-friendly joystick can be fitted to either armrest, which can then be swung out of the way. Underneath the seat is a convenient storage bag. The multi-position adjustable backrest is tension adjustable and is complemented by an adjustable footrest. There is an easily removable cushion and the leg guards can be adjusted to add extra support. The adjustable anti-tip wheel design offers extra reassurance. The brushless motors are located on each rear wheel to provide extra efficiency. www.motionhealthcare.co.uk
K-Activ Power Chair by Kymco Healthcare This flexible powerchair provides comfort, performance and independence. With a multi-adjustable rehab seat, this chair can be adjusted to suit the specific needs of many different users. Features include adjustable rear suspension, 14” pneumatic rear drive wheels; full LED lighting kit; flip-down reclining backrest; a swing-away joystick and swing-in and swing-out footrests. The powerchair works with 50 Ah batteries, reaches six miles per hour and has a 27 mile driving range, making it ideal for longer demanding journeys. www.kymcohealthcare.com
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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE
Orbit Powerchair from Electric Mobility
iGo Lite Powerchair from Pride Mobility The iGo Lite is the latest addition to the iGo travel chair range by Pride Mobility. The iGo Lite weighs 19.8kg, including batteries, and is crafted from carbon fibre. Designed with a weight limit of up to 135kg, the carbon fibre chair offers a strong and comfortable ride. Similar to other chairs in the range, the iGo Lite folds at the touch of a button, making it ideal for transporting. With a few modern touches, such as the built-in USB charger and flight safe 12Ah lithium batteries, the iGo Lite is suitable for modern travellers.
The Orbit’s modular design, midwheel drive configuration and striking colour accent choices are ideal for active people. Electric Mobility says it’s an all-rounder: compact with its minimum overall width and seat height and centrally mounted 90-degree leg rest but still able to deliver maximum agility and highstability for precise manoeuvring. Offering good flexibility due to single or double support castors, this
Morgan Sling is Karma’s mid-wheel indoor/ outdoor powerchair with a turning radius of 64cm and total width of 60cm, making it easier to navigate confined spaces and narrow doorways. Morgan power wheelchair is equipped with six wheels independent suspension to make travelling over rough terrains more comfortable. The seat depth can be adjusted from 41cm to 46cm and the backrest can be angled from minus one degrees to 11 degrees. Morgan is crash test approved in accordance with ISO 7176-19. This means it is suitable to be used as a seat in a motor vehicle for transportation. www.karmamobility.co.uk
WHILL Model C Powerchair from TGA Mobility Boasting on-the-spot turning and an ability to be driven remotely via a smartphone app, this model uses Bluetooth technology to connect to the chair. The iPhone app displays an interactive image of the mouse-style joystick so it can be steered on-screen. The app can also monitor battery life in real time, lock and unlock the chair for security and drive it out the way when not being occupied. Self-driving Model Cs were trialled in North American airports for travellers with restricted mobility, using sensors on the armrests to eliminate the risk of collisions. Users were able to be driven to their gate and, upon arrival, command the WHILL to return to its docking station.
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Morgan Sling Powerchair from Karma Mobility
six-milesper-hour powerchair with a maximum user weight of up to 25 stone and numerous adjustment options allow for the customer’s individual adaptation. It is suitable for permanent and all-day independent mobility, even for people with severe functional disorders and medical conditions.
Edge 3 Powerchair from Quantum Rehab The Edge 3 features upgraded SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension) to provide a smooth, comfortable ride with advanced stability. Featuring Quantum’s iLevel power adjustable seat, the company says it is the only powerchair on the market that can be driven at 4.5 miles per hour with up to 12” of height whilst elevated. The Edge 3 comes as standard with Patented Extra Stability Technology, which enhances safety while performing transfers, reach, and numerous other activities of daily living. Other standard features include LED fender lights, a USB charger, and drive wheel colour accents. It is also available in 14 colour options. www.quantumrehab.co.uk
Power Sango Advanced MWD Powerchair from Dietz Named THIIS Magazine’s ‘Retailers’ Choice of the Year’ 2020, this powerchair combines great traction and comfort for outdoor environments with a compact chassis for tight turning when indoors. It boasts rubber suspension for a quiet drive and high level of comfort. The pivot bar stabilises the chair on cambers and whilst cornering. It is fitted with fourpole HT motors and 60Ah batteries as standard. A range of different motor speeds are available for slower indoor use or faster use for outdoors. Its ultralow seat height starts from 38cm. DAHL drive system preparation is available.
Optimus 2 RS Powerchair from Electric Mobility The Optimus 2 RS powerchair is ideal for outdoors, getting up to six miles per hour with a 950 watt transaxle motor and gearbox. The 107Ah battery will tackle short trips or long distances of up to 37 miles. Excellent traction and big front wheels with an independent wheel suspension system offer great climbing power for challenging kerbs or obstacles, without sacrificing manoeuvrability. Designed by German manufacturer Meyra, the combination of rugged engineering and powerful drive train offers a user weight of up to 150kg. Its black anodised rims and bold red highlights create a sleek, sporty look that stands out. www.electricmobility.co.uk
4Front Powerchair from Quantum Rehab The 4Front is a quiet, more responsive frontwheel drive powerchair that features automotive-grade suspension with unprecedented comfort and ride quality. The 4Front’s CASE (Caster Angle Sensor Encoder) technology and SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension) provide stability for smooth obstacle transitions and strong driving performance. The 4Front features standard speeds of up to six miles per hour in the lowered position and speeds of up to 3.2 miles per hour while elevated at 10” with its optional safe seat elevation. Standard LED fender lights allow users to see and be seen. www.quantumrehab.co.uk
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Showroom Manager – Sheffield Here at CareCo, we’re all about making life easier for people. It gets us out of bed in the morning, and it sends us home at the end of the day knowing we’ve done our bit to help somebody with their day-to-day struggles.
including a wellbeing programme, staff discount, free parking, and regular colleague engagement events.
Our latest store brings CareCo’s fantastic range of mobility products to the locals of Sheffield and surrounding areas for the first time. As the Showroom Manager, you’ll be leading a brand-new team of mobility experts all working together to help CareCo Sheffield make the best possible impression from day one.
SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS:
You’ll be a motivating presence in the store, encouraging your team to meet objectives and sales targets. Your organisation skills will be key, helping you to plan staff rotas, manage budgets and deliver training. And you’ll always be looking for ways to improve the showroom, developing both your own and the team’s awareness of changes in the industry and local market conditions. We believe we’re unique in the world of mobility because we recognise that our customers are, too. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to solving a customer’s mobility difficulties, so if you can think on your feet when you’re presented with a problem you’ve never seen before, you’re exactly what we’re looking for. And as the face of our business, it goes without saying that you should ensure your team delivers only the very best customer service at all times. This exciting position is a chance to be a part of our continued success, with fantastic career opportunities and access to staff benefits
HOURS: 40 hours per week to include weekend working on a rota basis Previous retail management experience in a fast-paced environment, ideally in the mobility retail sector, but not essential. The ability to meet sales targets through proven relationship selling techniques, excellent customer service skills and through the setting and monitoring of KPIs and objectives. The ability to lead, manage and motivate a team. Good communication skills with the ability to liaise effectively with customers, colleagues, and external business partners. Experience in the effective management of the compliance of company procedures and systems relating to stock control and sales transactions.
Showroom Sales Advisor – Sheffield Here at CareCo, we’re all about making life easier for people. It gets us out of bed in the morning, and it sends us home at the end of the day knowing we’ve done our bit to help somebody with their day-to-day struggles. Our showroom teams are the face of our business. So it goes without saying that you should be compassionate, a good listener, a problem solver. And as a CareCo ambassador you should be committed to providing only the very best customer service at all times. We believe we’re unique in the world of mobility because we recognise that our customers are, too. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to solving a customer’s mobility difficulties, so if you can think on your feet when you’re presented with a problem you’ve never seen before, you’re exactly what we’re looking for.
Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office particularly in Word, Excel and Outlook.
Our latest store brings CareCo’s fantastic range of mobility products to the locals of Sheffield for the first time. As a Showroom Sales Advisor, you’ll join a brand-new team of mobility experts all working together to help CareCo Sheffield make the best possible impression from day one. This exciting position is a chance to be a part of our continued success, with fantastic career opportunities and access to staff benefits including a wellbeing programme, staff discount, free parking and regular colleague engagement events.
Experience in the effective management of H&S compliance.
HOURS: 40 hours per week, 8.30 – 17.30 to include weekend working on a rota basis.
The ability to demonstrate excellent Retail standards throughout the salesfloor including layout, product display and POS/graphics. Proven experience in the safe and accurate handling and managing of data ensuring GDPR compliance.
SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS: Previous retail experience in a fast-paced environment, ideally in the mobility retail sector, but not essential. The ability to meet sales targets through proven relationship selling techniques and excellent customer service skills. Good communication skills with the ability to liaise effectively with customers and colleagues. Experience in the compliance of company procedures and systems relating to stock control and sales transactions. The ability to demonstrate excellent Retail standards throughout the salesfloor including layout, product display and POS/graphics. Proven experience in the safe and accurate handling and managing of data ensuring GDPR compliance. Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office particularly in Outlook, Word & Excel. Experience in H&S compliance. GCSE English & Maths at Grade C or 4 as a minimum.
GCSE English & Maths at Grade C or 4 as a minimum.
Please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org • www.careco.co.uk
Wheelchair Specialist Wheelfreedom are one of the leading suppliers of mobility equipment in London and the South East of England. We provide a range of products including prescriptive power and manual wheelchairs and specialist seating to private customers, hospitals, and case managers, and pride ourselves on our industry-recognised outstanding levels of customer service. The company has recently undergone a significant expansion, relocating to a new 10,000+ sq ft HQ at a prestigious site in Chessington, including a substantial showroom and assessment space. As part of this growth, we are seeking to bring on a new Wheelchair Specialist to join our team. This is a unique opportunity to join a fast-growing progressive company at an exciting time. Ideally you will be based within commuting distance of our Chessington HQ, but we will consider candidates elsewhere in the South East of England who are able to travel for assessments. You must be experienced with assessing and prescribing high-end wheelchairs, either within the NHS or from the private market. You will be responsible for matching the correct equipment to customers, and as part of this you will be supporting the customer from first contact through to aftercare, with an emphasis on developing strong customer relations. Full and regular training will be provided to develop your knowledge. We will tailor the role in conjunction with you to match your experience, skills and career goals, and offer a competitive salary, pension, modern company van, fuel card, phone, laptop, and a fun and supportive team to work with. To apply, please send a copy of your CV to email@example.com or for further information please call Giles Donald, Managing Director on 0203 0581042.
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Soma | KARMA MOBILITY LTD UNIT 6 TARGET PARK, REDDITCH WORCESTERSHIRE B98 8YN
The Agile weighs from 12.7 KG complete, lighter than your carry on luggage. Compact, lightweight, and ready to use.
T: 0845 630 3436 E: INFO@KARMAMOBILITY.CO.UK WWW.KARMAMOBILITY.CO.UK
ENRICH EVERY DAY Award-winning design, unrivalled agility and even controllable from a smartphone.
With on-the-spot turning and simple controls, the WHILL Model C puts your customer firmly in command for total freedom indoors and out. To enquire about the WHILL Model C
Call 01787 888 106
or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THSA21
In the March issue of THIIS, occupational therapist and regular THIIS contributor, Stuart Barrow, dives into Disabled Facilities Grants, inf...