Page 1

THIIS Trade Magazine • Issue 242 • November 2018



Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Issue 242 November 2018

The Trade Days 2018 Special Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

All the need to know information from this year’s show






Partner Programmes 3 options designed for your business

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

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

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

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


…from the editor In the bumper issue of THIIS for November, we round up some of the most interesting conversations and opportunities from this year’s Trade Days.


ne of the recurring themes that crops up in this issue is the idea of branding and the importance of establishing a recognisable brand identity. When people talk of branding, it can sound like a rather arbitrary concept, preached in lecture halls and marketing schools but the importance of having a strong brand really is indisputable. A brand is simply a way of ensuring customers know what your company is about, what it stands for and what it can expect from the service or product you deliver. When operating in an industry where often, the products or the services provided are not too dissimilar from those a competitor, it is in a company’s brand where differentiation can be established. Ableworld’s Michelle Mossford and TGA’s Tim Ross both highlight the importance of branding in the sustained growth of two of the industry’s larger players, whilst Accord Marketing’s John Corellis gives some valuable advice regarding how companies can build brands that can stand the test of time. Additionally, in this issue, be sure to check out our retailers’ products of the month, with four new products grabbing their attention for November. As the end of the year fast approaches, THIIS Magazine is keen to hear your thoughts about what changes or additions you would like to see made to the magazine. It is your magazine and we are keen to ensure we deliver the content most relevant to you, so please feel free to contact me via phone or email to discuss.

Calvin Barnett

Don’t be shy, why not get in touch...

Editor Calvin Barnett 01933 278086

Advertising Karim Uddin 020 7702 2141​


Sub-editor Sarah Sarsby


THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, 2-4 Meadow Close, Ise Valley Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4BH • 01933 278 086 • BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

You can find THIIS on Twitter at: wwwthiiscouk | 3


16 Staying true to the brand

Features 6 Lifting the lid on a hidden home adaptation 12 Brexit uncertainty fails to slow European ambitions 40 Product Showcase: Wheelchairs and walking aids


36 A new player enters the homelift market

16 Retailer Spotlight 34 Meet… 36 More about… 46 The OT’s Perspective

52 Products of the month

28 Deal On! 52 Retailers’ Product of the Month 80 Recruitment 82 Training Diary 4 |

46 The OT’s Perspective

34 Meet Alan

The Heartbeat of your

GEL Mobility Over One Million Batteries Sold in the UK!

Tel: 01536 203030 Website: Email:

Ask about our other ranges

When not in use, the lift remains hidden with a flush fit in its surroundings

LIFTING THE LID ON A NEW, HIDDEN HOME ADAPTATION As the desire for home adaptations to blend flawlessly into home surroundings continues to grow, a new hidden step lift from Oyster Mayfair is aiming to provide a viable alternative to the traditional ramp. THIIS caught up with Neal Boswell, Marketing Manager of Oyster Mayfair, to find out why retailers should consider promoting the new lift amidst calls for stylish mobility solutions.


ith years of experience in the lift and mobility industry, Kenneth Lewcock established Oyster Mayfair in 2016 with a view to initially identify, research and promote unique, bespoke or luxury products. After finding a unique, concealed step lift and spotting the growing trend for unobtrusive mobility solutions in the market, Kenneth decided to employ marketing manager Neal, a disabled, part-time wheelchair user himself, to bring the company’s new Invisible Step Lift to wheelchair users via the mobility trade. A low-rise transfer lift that blends in with its surroundings and is stored

6 |

under the floor or ground when not in use, the Invisible Step Lift is designed to provide discreet disabled access for wheelchair users up and down steps.

materials, such as marble, brick, slate, wood, laminate and carpet. The release of the hidden lift follows a recent report by the Centre for

“People do not necessarily want to live with that old fashioned ‘hospital equipment look’, especially in their own homes” NEAL BOSWELL

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the lift is controlled via remotecontrol or fixed buttons and the top surface can be finished in a variety of

Ageing Better that found people are delaying making vital changes to their home, such as installing handrails and ramps, because of the clinical and

stigmatising appearance of mobility aids. In response, the charity called on manufacturers, retailers, buyers and designers to come together to provide more attractive products for the market, encouraging people to adapt their homes earlier and maintain their independence as they age. Dr Rachael Docking, Senior Evidence Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, commented: “We need attractive products as standard and a much greater range to be available, including from high-street retailers. We also need everyday products like kitchens and bathrooms to be designed inclusively, so they’re suitable for all ages.” Discussing this call for more lifestyle-orientated products, Neal says the company’s Invisible Step Lift is part of a growing trend toward subtle solutions. “From adapting your home with lifts, redesigning bathrooms and kitchens right through to basic daily living aids, people do not necessarily want to live with that old fashioned ‘hospital equipment look’, especially in their own homes,” he explained. “Well-planned, well-designed, easy to live with surroundings are pleasant for everyone but are even more important for your practical and emotional daily wellbeing if you are disabled.” Additionally, Neal says demand is not just on the rise in the housing sector but in other areas of society as well, with accessibility increasingly becoming expected as standard. “We have noticed that the demand for discreet disabled access is increasing from the commercial sector such as restaurants and property developers requiring wheelchair access for entrance hallways in blocks of flats,” he noted. According to Neal, the invisible lift is not just a solution for spaces where ramps are unworkable, but also provide customers, concerned about aesthetics, with a viable alternative. “Traditional ramps can be quite unsightly slopes of concrete with metal hand rails which are not everyone’s idea of “kerbside”

appeal - especially when situated in contemporary architectural surroundings or either inside or outside old heritage buildings,” said Neal. “A traditional static ramp that is in full public view outside in the front garden of a domestic property lets every passer-by know that there is a disabled, perhaps frail, vulnerable person, living there which could make them appear to be a possible easy target for certain types of criminals. “By being concealed in the ground, the discretion of the Invisible Step Lift by Oyster Mayfair when not in use helps overcome this problem.” The company is now looking to raise awareness of the product amongst end-users by engaging with mobility retailers across the UK, operating a new referral scheme which could prove a lucrative revenue generator for dealers. Highlighting that the response from customers has been positive, Neal also emphasised that installation process usually only takes a couple of days. “Most of the comments we hear when people first see or learn about the lift are along the lines of ‘I have never seen one of those before’ or ‘that’s really clever’,” he finished. “Whilst working in the lift industry and as part of his research into this

The Model V and VH The Invisible Step Lift is available in two models: Model V and Model VH. Model V: A vertical travel lift for up to 780mm where a series of steps are not involved, such as rooms with two floor levels or for travel from a driveway up to a ground-floor front door. Model VH: A vertical and horizontal travel lift. Like Model V, it can travel vertically up to 780mm, but the top platform that the wheelchair stands on slides out horizontally up to 1,000mm, bridging the gap between the steps and floor level.

product, our director has personally supervised installations of this special low-rise transfer lift onsite with engineers and reports that the installation process usually only takes one and a half to two days, with customers happy with their new lifts.”

NEW REFERRAL SCHEME OFFERS RETAILERS NEW REVENUE STREAM Oyster Mayfair is offering mobility stores in the UK a chance to earn up to £600 for every successful referral of its Step Lift that results in a sale. Additionally, the company says retailers will not have any expenses in participating in the referral commission scheme. Participating stores will also be provided with free in-store posters, acrylic leaflet dispenser stands and leaflets by the company to help drive awareness. Neal added that retailers should be worried about its Invisible Step Lift competing with existing product ranges as most stores will not have been involved in promoting a comparable product. To learn more about the scheme, contact or call 020 7183 3606 | 7


AND THE WINNER IS… From left: Clare Reynolds, manufacturing student, director Rob Smith and International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP

Inventor Prize winner, Neurofenix co-founder and CEO Guillem Singla Buxarrais

Invention set to enhance stroke rehabilitation Neurofenix, a company founded by Guillem Singla Buxarrais and Dimitris Athanasiou, has won Nesta’s first Inventor Prize for its Neuroball rehabilitation device. Launched in August 2017 by innovation foundation Nesta and funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Inventor Prize was set up to support inventors to develop innovations that can help people in the UK. Neurofenix was selected out of 10 shortlisted finalists after pitching the invention to a judging panel of experts and was awarded and been awarded £50,000 to help bring the product to market. The Neuroball allows stroke survivors to perform exercises to help improve hand dexterity. The device connects to a tablet application, allowing the user to play games whilst undergoing rehabilitation to make the process more engaging. With thousands of stroke survivors losing control of their hands and arms and feeling abandoned at home according to the Stroke Association, the company hopes the Neuroball will transform the rehabilitation experience to a fun and social journey to recovery. 8 |

GOVERNMENT AWARDS GRIPPING EXPORT ACTIVITY Supplying its range of gripping aids to over 50 countries, The Active Hands Company has been commended by the Government for its export activity. The manufacturer of aids for those with limited dexterity has been working with the Department for International Trade to raise its presence and distribution network overseas, achieving 25 percent export growth in the last year. Recognising its efforts, the Department awarded Active Hands with the Board of Trade Award – a prize nominated and selected by civil servants from the Department. Clare Reynolds, Marketing Manager at Active Hands, praised the Department’s International Trade Advisor, Pete West, for helping the company trade overseas, including help attend overseas exhibitions, attract new business and negotiate export regulations. The Active Hands Company was presented with an engraved Board of Trade medallion and a framed certificate, as well as now being able to use the award winner logo on its website and products.


Offer the exclusive Cord & Spray fabric collections from stock on the Medina

25 stone weight limit Independent Dual-motor

Waterfall or Button Back

4 stylish colours available from stock More options on Made to order!

Comfort in 3 sizes Small, Medium & Large

Bring a touch of elegance to your showroom by stocking Riser Recliners, Static Chairs & Sofas in our Cord & Spray Fabrics! Exclusive to Electric Mobility - you won’t find these luxurious fabric designs available elsewhere!

The perfect choice for stylish showrooms, call to place your order now! BRITISH


Quality Craftsmanship Tested by FIRA




Guarantee Riser Recliners

0800 252 614

THE DRIVERS OF THE ACCESSIBLE WHEELCHAIR VEHICLE MARKET GROWTH Valued at approximately £4.7 billion globally in 2016 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7 percent during 2017 to 2025, the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) market is on the rise. James Roberts, Head of Business Development at comparison website WAV Compare, shared his thoughts with THIIS about what is driving the market’s growth in the UK

10 |


aving recently reached the milestone of generating fivemillion-pounds of sales through its online platform, WAV Compare’s success reflects the suggested growth reported in Credence Research’s latest study on the global WAV market. An online platform for the UK that promotes wheelchair accessible vehicles exclusively, WAV Compare allows users to easily find wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) based on their needs, such as hand controls or access for an electric wheelchair. According to the company, the number of people visiting the platform has grown significantly over the last 18 months following investment in its stock system, resulting in the increase of sales being created through the website. Discussing the growth of the WAV market, James told THIIS that consumer choice and awareness were two of the key drivers behind the market’s recent growth. “I believe there are a number of factors that have contributed to the growth but it is certainly becoming more widely known that such adapted vehicles exist and that with a wheelchair accessible vehicle, it can give a lot more independence and freedom,” explained James.

James Roberts

demand for accessible vehicles. “Most the dealers we work with have increased their stock levels to meet demand and we have found an increase in the number of traditional ‘ordinary’ car dealers who are looking to offer WAVs,” he highlighted. Importantly, as more dealers new to the WAV market look to offer solutions to end-users, WAV Compare

“The growing used market in terms of stock and dealers have also increased competition and availability, meaning a better choice and lower, more affordable prices for the consumer.” JAMES ROBERTS

“The growing used market in terms of stock and dealers have also increased competition and availability, meaning a better choice and lower, more affordable prices for the consumer.” Working in partnership with a significant proportion of used and new WAV dealers across the UK and with over 500 vehicles available to view online, James says dealers that have not specialised in the WAV market are recognising and responding to the

says it has taken steps to ensure these companies are able to provide the correct service needed at their showrooms. “It’s important to us that the dealers are able to meet the needs of the customer, such as ramp access and accessible toilets within the showroom, and we look to have this information within their WAV Compare profiles,” said James. With more growth forecast in the market, the WAV comparison site

confirmed it is now considering expanding its comparison services to complementary products in the mobility sector, as well as continuing to grow the dealers it works with. “Although we have the largest number of WAV vehicles available in one place in the UK there is certainly room to grow and improve the platform,” said James. “Our aim is to increase our coverage - we have nearly 25 dealers across the UK but room for more to help us deal with the enquiries we receive. Sometimes people do want to visit a dealer near them, so if we can promote and pass enquiries on to these selected dealers it will be of benefit to all.” With specialist dealers and private sellers allowed to advertise wheelchair accessible vehicles on the platform, James finished by confirming a new website feature due to launch which may offer an opportunity for wheelchair and scooter suppliers to play a part in. “We also have new features for the WAV Compare website, such as being able to find a vehicle based on wheelchair / scooter width, that will go live soon.” | 11

BREXIT UNCERTAINTY FAILS TO DAMPEN DELICHON’S EUROPEAN AMBITIONS Having made its seventh appearance at Rehacare this year, Hampshirebased supplier Delichon is no stranger to forming relationships on the continent. Undeterred by the ongoing Brexit negotiations, managing director Martin Davy was keen this year to drive ahead the company’s European expansion plans.


specialist in producing custom seating for wheelchair users and well-known in the market for its Foam-Karve system, Delichon began producing its own range of three-wheel, all-terrain buggies in 2007 after spending over a decade supplying and adapting the products. Manufacturing its Delta range of buggies in the UK, the company turned its attention to export markets

12 |

in 2014 and has been a regular to the German trade show since, building inroads with European partners and developing the export element of the company. The fourth time exhibiting at Rehacare independently, rather than as part of the UK pavilion, Delichon continued to see interest from attendees at this year’s event. “Around 35 percent of Delichon’s

turnover now comes from our export activities and so Rehacare is an important place to keep in touch with our existing international dealer network, as well as looking for new partners from countries where we are not currently represented,” Martin told THIIS. “We always have a lot of interest in our products from the public visitors too and the show this year was no

Delichon’s new purpose-built facility launched this year

Recordingbreaking numbers in Düsseldorf Rehacare announced a successful four days with 50,600 visitors attending the event, its top number of visitors to date.

exception, generating a significant number of sales enquiries for our German distributor.” A family-run operation, this year saw Martin joined on stand with wife and company co-director P-J, eldest son Julian who controls Delichon’s manufacturing activities, and daughter Katriona. According to Martin, it is this family element that helps set Delichon

Australian and NZ partners, which is now available as an accessory,” said Martin. In addition, Delichon also showcased a new range lifting slings from fellow UK company ProMove, which the company is now promoting as an ideal accessory for the buggies and beach wheelchairs that it supplies.

“Apart from some negative reaction to the current Brexit difficulties in the UK, we had another very successful show with some very high-quality enquiries” MARTIN DAVY

apart in the industry. “Delichon always gets a very positive reaction to the fact that we are a family company,” added Martin. “Apart from some negative reaction to the current Brexit difficulties in the UK, we had another very successful show with some very high-quality enquiries from potential dealers and a couple of opportunities for collaboration on new projects for the future.” On stand, the company exhibited a range of new products to European trade visitors and end-users, including three new versions – medium, large and extra-large - of its Delta Buggy, created for the Danish market which can be used with Special Tomato’s Sitter Seats. “We also revealed a custom WheelEez balloon beach wheel conversion for our Delta Buggy developed in conjunction with our

As well as raising awareness of new products, Delichon was also keen to inform trade visitors of its new architect-designed, purpose-built HQ, highlighting the company’s ongoing investment in its facilities as a key marketing message.

Taking place from the 26th to the 29th of September in Düsseldorf, Germany, 967 exhibitors from 42 countries attended Rehacare, a recordbreaking number for the show. Additionally, around 9,000 professional visitors in distribution, importing and purchasing travelled to the rehabilitation and care event from foreign countries, claimed the organisers. The next Rehacare will take place in Düsseldorf from the 18th to the 21st of September 2019.

“2018 was the first time there since the move to our brand-new premises in February and the fact that we can now showcase our fantastic production and showroom facilities proved to be a great marketing tool,” finished Martin. | 13

The DG’s digest… Mandie Lavin with TGA’s Tim Ross at this year’s Trade Days

WONDERFUL RETAIL You may be surprised that the still comparatively new DG of the BHTA is devoting her first formal column in THIIS to the wonderful retail theme. That’s a lot of acronyms in just the first sentence!


aving spent two days at Trade Days, I met and spoke to retailers with businesses of all sizes and in all parts of the UK and the universal message of how retail has become such a challenge was echoed around the hallowed halls of the NEC. We have apps, eand Ecommerce and online, as well as offline and catalysts for change in every aspect of our purchasing life. As a little girl growing up in North London, visiting BHS for school essentials and popping into Woolworths for elastic and hair ribbon was part of weekly life. In adulthood, having just found the perfect winter coat and having bought it for several seasons, it was very sad to find that Jaeger was no more. Champions of the high street have fallen. Our retailers are in a different space and maintaining, expanding and

14 |

working out how to influence buying decisions in the space is the key to continuing future success. The vulnerability of customers in our sector is part of our development, because the more we can position the BHTA as the brand of trust and confidence, the more valued membership becomes. Working in the public interest to provide what your customers need in an environment where quality and standards are taken seriously is very powerful and that is what we do and what we will continue to do. The personal aspect of a retailer’s work cannot be underestimated, with some customers having overcome enormous life challenges even before they reach a retailer. Many should find their way to our retailers before their needs have reached a point where more complex solutions are required. We are planning a number of key

campaigns with the NHS, Citizens Advice Bureau and a number of charities to ensure that your membership subscription translates into meaningful footfall. This needs your help and support, with ideas for what we should be doing, examples of things that have worked for you and the submission of even the wildest of dreams, some of that will be made into reality, with vision and determination.

Mandie Lavin is the DirectorGeneral of the British Healthcare Trades Association. To contact Mandie to discuss thoughts and opinions about the Association or the industry, email

Let’s Fly The most beautiful rollator in the world

Let’s Go

• Stylish • Stable • Safe

Let’s Go Out

The original indoor rollator

Over 600,000 happy customers worldwide Head Office: Able2 UK Ltd. Moorgate Street, Blackburn, BB2 4PB Tel: 01254 619000 Email: Fax: 01254 619001

All TrustCare Products Are Exclusively Distributed In The UK and Ireland By -------

retailer spotlight


STAYING TRUE TO THE BRAND It is a tumultuous time across the entire retail landscape for bricks and mortar stores and the mobility sector is no exception. Despite some of the bigger players in the industry downsizing their physical retail spaces or closing them down completely, such as The Unlimited Company at the end of last year, one retailer that continues to see sustained success is Ableworld. THIIS examined what is it about the national mobility retailer that sets it apart in the sector Commitment to a clear vision Ableworld is the result of founder and managing director Mike Williams’ vision to deliver a new Mike Williams retail proposition to the market after searching for mobility aids for an elderly relative in the late 90s. The experience left him with an impression of target driven sales people applying pressure to vulnerable consumers and he saw the potential to provide a different retail experience. Launching the company in 2000 and opening the first shop in Nantwich in 2001, Ableworld has grown considerably over the subsequent 18 years, boasting the most amount of mobility retail stores in the UK, with 34 stores across a portfolio of company owned, joint ownership and franchised operations. Discussing the Ableworld retail

16 |

strategy, Mike explained: “We keep an eye on our competitors’ prices but don’t always try and compete on everything. We have an in-depth range of products on the shop floor wider than anyone else in the country - and well over 1,000 lines in stock. “The Buying and Merchandising Department line-plan our stores,

strategy over the years in the face of retail trends championed by retail consultants, experts and others. “Ableworld does not try to be a ‘boutique’,” continued Mike. “We’re not ashamed to trade in a way our customers have grown up with. Our ego doesn’t stretch to re-inventing the wheel just to keep

“We’re not ashamed to trade in a way our customers have grown up with. Our ego doesn’t stretch to re-inventing the wheel just to keep consultants in employment” MIKE WILLIAMS

constantly review more eco-friendly packaging, strive to provide the very best of services and products and are constantly refreshing and upgrading all ranges of products to meet the increasing needs of our customers.” In particular, Mike highlighted that Ableworld has stayed true to its

consultants in employment. “Often people ask what style of store we’d compare ourselves to in the food trade – I’d say Tesco or Asda – quality branded products at value for money prices.” The strategy is one that is paying off for the company, with Ableworld

With 34 stores in its portfolio, Ableworld is the UK’s largest mobility retailer

Keen to control the quality it provides to customers, Ableworld invests in its own engineers to keep all elements of stairlift sales in-house

revealing in October 2018 year on year sales growth of 14 percent across its own group and 15 percent amongst its franchise group of stores, with projections suggesting overall profits also increasing against the previous year. Building the brand without breaking the bank Unashamedly proud of its approach to retail, Ableworld’s senior marketing manager, Michelle Mossford, told THIIS that together with its retail strategy, the company understands its brand well and works hard to ensure customers do as well. “The marketing department is always looking to stay ahead of the game and not by copying the competitors or getting carried away with ‘hard sell’ marketing campaigns but by going back to basics and communicating to customers in a way they understand,” she emphasised. “There is a lot to be learnt just by putting yourselves in the shoes of the customer from arrival to departure.” Michelle says that it is this customer-centric approach to its activities that is one of the foundations of its success, aligning brand promises with customer expectations and delivering across physical stores,

telephone and website. Like many retailers however, Michelle has had to find new ways to engage with local consumers without breaking the bank, with traditional marketing channels experiencing a decline in recent years. “Marketing budgets are linked to turnover and we make sure we are smart with the ways this is spent,” she said. “In the past few years, with the drop in newspaper circulation, we have been forced to find other ways of promoting our business which has been a challenge, but this hasn’t meant having to spend ridiculous amounts of money.” According to Michelle, some of the most successful marketing initiatives for the retailer have cost very little to execute, including the mobility retailer getting national airtime on a popular news station without having to spend a penny. “As a direct result of PR printed in local newspapers and trade magazines, ITV National News contacted us directly to ask if we would be involved in a segment regarding Scooter Safety,” noted Michelle. Working with the community on local projects, sending out press

releases to local newspapers and publications and holding events at store level are all key tools for helping promote the Ableworld brand to consumers whilst also helping support and promote other parties as well. This win-win approach to its marketing activities has allowed Ableworld to establish valuable, important relationships with organisations and channels in the communities and areas the company operates in. Engaging through events Ableworld hosts, supports and attends various events at store level throughout the year, forming a vital element of its marketing strategy. One such event the company holds twice yearly is ‘Continence Care DropIn Sessions’, leading to an increase in continence customers and sales, according to Ableworld, as well as helping the retailer tap into the market of 3.4 million people over 65 in the UK who experience incontinence. Arguably the company’s bestknown event is its ‘Scooter Proficiency Course’, originally launched over four years ago with the objective of providing valuable advice and training around the safe use of mobility scooters. | 17

retailer spotlight Free to attend, the course offers attendees the opportunity to ask questions in an environment that Ableworld says is free from the obligation of having to buy anything. Despite the obligation-free environment, the retailer says following every proficiency course it has ran, there are always a number of sales that are generated as a result of the trust developed between attendees and the company. Stop the presses Combined with its established marketing activities, Michelle and her team have also been experimenting with a new means of engaging potential customers and key target partners via the introduction of its own Ableworld Magazine. Titled ‘Independence’, the magazine aims to provides readers with a variety of topical news, articles and advice aimed at readers, which the retailer hopes will be another differentiator in the market. “Unlike many company newsletters and magazines, ‘Independence’ is about our customers and potential customers, not all about ourselves,” underlined Michelle.

The company works hard to champion the concept of ethical mobility retail, refusing to sell specific products online

18 |

“The majority of the content is aimed at providing interesting and useful reading content for customers. Whilst many hospitals and local doctors’ surgeries refuse to take catalogues, a free magazine is a good introduction to the company. Doubling down on digital As with any retailer in the industry, one of the biggest shifts of the Ableworld’s

Digital marketing allows companies to reach more potential customers at a fraction of the cost of some of the more traditional methods, using payper-click, Facebook advertising, SEO and more to drive traffic. Often, the only direct cost to a company being the staff time needed to put together engaging content, manage social media platforms and keep websites updated.

“The marketing department is always looking to stay ahead of the game and not by copying the competitors or getting carried away with ‘hard sell’ marketing campaigns” MICHELLE MOSSFORD

marketing activity is from traditional medium and into online channels, with the goal of bringing more traffic to its online store. “The increase in digital marketing cannot be ignored, with the main advantage being that a targeted audience can be reached in a costeffective and measurable way,” said Michelle.

One of the natural tensions in the mobility industry is the growth in consumers making purchasing decisions on products solely based on price, rather than the suitability of the product to fit users’ needs and lifestyle, or the aftersales care given. For bricks and mortar retailers, this has resulted in stores having to not only promote their own products but

also educate end-users, particularly those new to the industry, into some of the risks of buying purely on price online. It has also led to some bricks and mortar retailers having to make a tough decision about how to respond to the increasingly price-sensitive market and consider matching the practices in order to compete. For Ableworld, the company has not only doubled-down on its digital marketing, but also on its commitment to refuse to sell specific products, such as rise recliners, wheelchairs and scooters online. “Ableworld are proud to be an ethical retailer and at a time when we can regularly lose out to ‘irresponsible’ competitors who have no concerns selling over the internet or without a thorough assessment’, it would be easy to give in,” remarked Michelle, “but for us, it’s about an ethical, professional long-term approach, not about the quick buck today. “We believe this attitude to trading also puts us in good stead with the professionals.” In a time when many retailers are struggling under this tension between online and offline, Ableworld has cleverly used it as an opportunity to reinforce a message of ethical retail and gain credibility and trust with healthcare professionals, a key target demographic for retailers up and down the country.

Keeping it in-house Alongside a well-defined store strategy and marketing approach, Michelle explained that one of the strongest areas of the business is its stairlift department. Crucially, the company says it invests heavily to ensure it is capable of handling every step involved with the purchase of a stairlift, rather than using third-parties. “Ableworld have a strong stairlift department that look after the customer from quote to install and beyond, carrying out the whole job ourselves. We work in an Industry where helping others is an important factor, so why would we potentially put the customer at risk by passing on a lead or an enquiry to a supplier who could potentially pressure sell and gets the highest price possible?” observed Michelle. “We use our own engineers instead of sales people so we can give the best advice and answer all technical questions at quote level. All engineers are part of a constant training programme, allowing them to keep up with the newest technology and, unlike many companies, Ableworld set very fair prices which do not change once in front of the customer.” Significant resource is spent ensuring its stairlift team are fully trained to carry out basic fault finding and self-help actions if a stairlift stops says Michelle, helping save customers

TOP TIP: Rather than reinvent the retail wheel, Mike says Ableworld plays to its strengths; price and products

Mining a goldmine of free advertising

Testimonials are another form of free advertising which Ableworld use in a number of ways to build trust with consumers. Increasingly, more customers now leave reviews online, providing companies with the opportunity to make the most out of them across various platforms, such as websites, catalogues, social media platforms and more. Ableworld says it makes it easy for customers to get in touch by using a number of review sites, including Which? Trusted Trader, Trustpilot, Google Reviews, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Importantly, the majority of these add to google rankings, dramatically improving a website’s SEO. The most powerful persuader in the marketplace, apart from a customer’s own experience, is the opinion of someone they trust. | 19

paying a call out fee. Additionally, Ableworld says it prioritises the training of all of its staff to ensure customer queries across all the business can be handled, as well as implementing a customer support system to ensure customers are not left stuck and unable to speak to a real person. “The Customer Services Department have now put in place a call support system so when the store staff are unable to answer a call, they will get transferred to our team at head office, who have been specially trained to be able to help and resolve the majority of calls customers would normally ask our store staff members,” described Michelle. “We also have in place a second back up call centre the phones will be transferred to if our team is busy with calls. This ensures that all of our customers will be able to get through to a real person rather than an electronic answer phone service. We feel this gives our customer the best and more personalised experience.” Having invested considerably in its staff, Michelle says employee retention is another important component of Ableworld’s success. “A large proportion of Ableworld staff have been with the company for a long time. We believe this is down to regular training, financial bonuses and the satisfaction of working in an environment like Ableworld where every product you sell improves the quality of someone’s life.” Looking towards the future, Michelle finished: “The trade has moved on dramatically in the 19 years we’ve

First franchise joins the fold Recently, Ableworld has brought its first franchise store into the fold of group owned stores, with MD Mike Williams stating that talks had been ongoing with the Birkenhead franchise for over a year before the contract ended. “Andy was our original franchise, virtually ten years ago, and has

20 |

Hosting and supporting local events in the community plays a key role in the retailer’s local marketing initiative

been around and we are proud that we have helped so many lives by bringing in improved ranges and prices that our customers can afford

been talking for a while about moving on to pastures new,” he explained. “We appreciate all of Andy’s support over the years and wish him and his family well in the future. As Birkenhead was so close to our own network, we had no hesitation in purchasing this franchise to come into our own company. We have a great team of people at Birkenhead and are all on board to carry the store forward

and we look forward to continuing this into the future.”

to even more success.” Ableworld says it has invested time with the store’s staff to improve and build on its success, with new stairlift engineers trained and operating in the area. In addition, Ableworld is executing what it describes as an aggressive marketing campaign in the Wirral and North Wales to maximise the full potential of the Birkenhead store.



TV Manufactured by Monarch, the Smarti is a small class 2 automatic folding mobility scooter. Using a remote control key fob, the scooter can be folded and unfolded effortlessly, making the Smarti the ideal solution for those who struggle to dismantle scooters.

LIMITED TRADE OFFER* Buy 1 for £1,249 | Buy 2 for £1,229 (each) | Buy 3 for £1,209 (each) | Buy 4 for £1,199 (each) Or buy 1 at £1,395 and get an extra battery (worth £229)

CALL IAN 01422 887261

distribution deals

Ronald van de Grift and Dirk ter Haar sign agreement at Rehacare 2018

CLEANING UP THE MARKET Following President Trump’s choice to impose steel tariffs, impacting the price of importing and exporting steel-based products globally, Bristolbased BES Healthcare made the decision to change its US supplier for a more cost-effective, high-quality decontamination supplier in Europe


n its search for a new supplier, BES Healthcare formed a new relationship with German-based decontamination specialist RehaWash Systems and at this year’s Rehacare, BES Healthcare’s international supply chain manager Dirk ter Haar and RehaWash System’s managing director Ronald van de Grift signed a new distribution agreement. Based in Weißwasser, RehaWash Systems manufacture cleaning and disinfecting systems, distributing its machines across multiple countries to be used in the decontamination of medical equipment. Discussing what attracted the

22 |

RehaWash Systems range to BES, Dirk emphasised that price and standards were the main motivators. “There were two factors, first President Trump’s steel tariffs immediately impacted the cost of the machines we normally import from the US – increasing their cost by 25 percent pretty much overnight. So, to try and retain a good value offering for our customers, we needed to look at alternatives,” explained Dirk. “The second factor was that RehaWash are much more closely in tune with the international washer disinfector standards (ISO 15883) than our American counterparts were.

This higher level of compliance helps deliver better peace-of-mind to our customers, especially at a time when auditing of healthcare facilities is getting ever more stringent.” The new distribution agreement will see BES Healthcare distribute RehaWash’s entire range of washers and driers, from relatively small washers for single wheelchairs, to bed washers, all the way through to very large tunnel washing and drying systems. Initially, BES Healthcare will focus on offering the range to its core loan store customers, with Dirk suggesting the machines will bring

better decontamination practices to community loan stores across the UK. “In this part of the industry, i.e. the decontamination of community equipment, the majority of the other

with the appropriate international standards and that this is certified by an independent body. “As far as we are aware, RehaWash is the only manufacturer in the world

“President Trump’s steel tariffs immediately impacted the cost of the machines we normally import from the US – increasing their cost by 25 percent pretty much overnight” DIRK TER HAAR

offerings on the market are machines that have been lifted from other industrial sectors and dropped into healthcare settings without much regard for the particular needs of healthcare setting,” noted Dirk. “RehaWash’s machines have been designed from the ground up solely for the purpose of washing and disinfecting community equipment, such as wheelchairs, bed, and commodes.” Additionally, Dirk says RehaWash has placed a great deal of importance on ensuring their machines comply

of a chemical washer disinfector with certified compliance to ISO 15883 – that is a pretty substantial claim to be able to make” he added.

In addition to servicing community loan stores, BES Healthcare is also planning to expand its reach into other healthcare institutions, working in collaboration with RehaWash to develop a new product. “We are already working with RehaWash to make a new machine with an even higher level of compliance, more in line with what a hospital would expect to see,” finished Dirk. “We are also very keen to find a way to better serve the care home market who traditionally haven’t been able to afford this kind of equipment, but who would be able to afford the use of a mobile decontamination service.”

The practice of decontamination Decontamination entails a combination of process used with the intention of making a device safer for handling by patients, carers, NHS and Community staff, supplier employees, carriers and maintenance staff. There are three level of decontamination: cleaning; cleaning, following by disinfection; and cleaning, followed by disinfection, followed by sterilisation.



omcat has completed a UKwide distributor agreement with Dutch cycle specialist Van Raam, bringing its range of special needs bicycles to the growing UK market. Designed for adults and children with a physical disability, the Dutch manufacturer’s single-user machines and carer supported products includes tricycles, scooterbikes and wheelchair bikes. The agreement will see Tomcat showcase a selection of Van Raam products, alongside its own manufactured trikes, at its Gloucestershire showroom, supported by its nationwide team of field assessors. In addition, the company says it has

the repair facilities at its Gloucester headquarters to provide a high level of ‘aftercare’ service to customers. Commenting on the agreement, Bob Griffin, Managing Director and founder of Tomcat, said that whilst the two companies operated in the same sector, the products do not compete with each other, “This development will not only complete our broad portfolio but will also enable us to offer the very best solution and aftercare service to anyone who wants to take charge of their difficulties and become a part of the UK cycling revolution,” he explained. Ronald Ruesink, Commercial Director from Van Raam, added: “We

see a lot of countries in Europe with a high penetration of Van Raam special need bikes. We believe that Tomcat can help us to achieve this same penetration in the UK.” | 23

distribution deals

ALL-TERRAIN COVERS GROUND IN SOUTH EAST Kent-based mobility retailer Cinque Ports Mobility will now bring The Mountain Trike Company’s range of allterrain wheelchairs to the South East of England


aving first created the Mountain Trike during his time at university to enable those with mobility needs to enjoy the outdoors, Tim Morgan, the company’s managing director, released the first Mountain Trike in 2011. After finding success with the chair, the company launched two new models, the MT Push and MT Evo. In April, the young MD told THIIS that the company was on the lookout for dealers in specific regions, particularly in the South East and North West. Six-months on, the company has

partnered with Folkestone retailer Cinque Ports Mobility, a mobility specialist headed up by Chris Cox and Chris French, who will now distribute the range across the South East from its Folkestone showroom. After testing the Mountain Trikes and being impressed with their performance, Chris Cox, Managing Director of Cinque Ports Mobility, commented: “We are very excited to be able to offer Mountain Trike to our customers as part of our product range and we are looking forward to developing our marketing for the product and creating customer

experience days to help with demonstrations. Watch this space…” Tim Morgan, Managing Director at Mountain Trike, commented: “We appreciate how important it is for customers to be able to try out our Mountain Trike products so to have Cinque Ports Mobility as our distributor means that customers in the South East now have access to experienced staff who can provide both pre and post-sales support.”

Cinque Ports Mobility new demo unit

24 |

Tristan Hulbert, Helge Lund and George Hulbert at LiftUp HQ

RISING DISTRIBUTION EXCLUSIVITY FOR YORKSHIRE RETAILER After seeing success with major contract wins for the Raizer emergency lifting chair, Yorkshire Care Equipment has partnered with Danish manufacturer LiftUp to expand the retailer’s exclusive distribution area.


riginally launched three years ago, the Raizer has grown in popularity as healthcare organisations look to new technology to reduce costs and ease pressure on services relating to falls. Assembled around a fallen individual and lifting them back to either a seating or standing position within a couple of minutes, the Raizer can be operated by just a single individual. Now one of only two Raizer suppliers in the UK, the expansion will see Yorkshire Care increase its exclusive distribution coverage as far down as Warwickshire and parts

of Birmingham. Having been supplying the product since 2016, the announcement comes following an uptake of the device by various emergency service teams across the North of England and Scotland. George Hulbert, Sales Manager at Yorkshire Care Equipment, commented: “The Raizer prevents unnecessary ambulance and callouts and needless hospital stays, which is vital to save money in the NHS. We’re excited to get going in our new distribution area and see how this device could help other NHS trusts across the country.”

The rising costs of falls Falls are now one of the biggest and most costly problems facing the healthcare system, costing the NHS an estimated £2.3 billion every year, according to the College of Optometrists/British Geriatrics Society. | 25

new to the team


From left: Tim Ross, TGA National Sales Manager with Ryan Curtis

Providing tailored support central for new team member


pecialist mobility scooter trade supplier, TGA, has appointed Ryan Curtis as its new business development manager for the central region so dealers will benefit from a more tailored service. Having met numerous dealers at this year’s Trade Days, Ryan says he is fully versed in the TGA’s brand and ethics and is determined to forge stronger relationships with the company’s retail network. “TGA is a very outward looking business – it’s whole team always considering service from the dealer’s point of view. So many businesses say they do this but they do not,” said Ryan. “We understand saving dealers’ time is more important than ever before, especially when you consider the challenges of the high-street. My mission will be to support the right dealers who are delivering our brand promise in the right way.” Responsible for serving dealers across the country, from East Anglia and the Midlands through to Wales, Ryan can be contacted on 07872 377156 or via email:

Do you have a new team member? Why not let the industry know? Just send us a short news item and photo. 26 |

Following significant growth since its conception, Herida Healthcare has appointed Paul Babin as the company’s Paul Rabin new research & development director, responsible for overseeing the creation of better products to bring to the market. With years of experience managing a Community Equipment Service alongside research & development management roles for some larger industry brands, Paul’s career has seen him awarded joint patents in the design of mattresses and moving and handling products, as well as a number of other product innovations in the sector. Neil Smith, Managing Director of Herida Healthcare, said: “Our customers are quite rightly requesting innovation into what has become an often-stale group of products within the pressure area care and moving & handling markets. The appointment of this high-profile role, ensures that our important customers will be served with state-of-the-art product identity, that is fit for purpose, long into the future.” Discussing his appointment, Paul told THIIS: “I am excited to be joining one of the most innovative companies in the healthcare sector and I’m looking forward to developing new disruptive products and innovative services to better meet the needs of the clients who truly rely on them every day.”

trade deals

DealON! Looking for a deal? Then this is the place to come. Deal On features the best trade deals you will find this month. Just pick up the phone to take advantage... All offers are valid until November 30th 2018 unless otherwise stated.


Repose Furniture’s November retailer promotion is a half price 5-year allinclusive warranty on selected products (terms and conditions apply).

The warranty covers the customer for every aspect of the chair including accidental damage to the fabric. To qualify, retailers need to quote November2018 when placing an order between November 1st and 30th. For more information call us on 01384 567401 or visit

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

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

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

Stay in the know Sign up to our weekly email round-up to keep up to date with the latest industry news, jobs and products. Subscribe at... 28 |


• Q U












the walking frame specialist If you want to offer your customers a walker from “probably” the worlds leading authority on walking frames why not call, email or view our full range on-line. Don’t delay, request your trade pack today.


T: 01268 419288 QUOTE REF: THIIS1018





marketing advice

WHY MOBILITY COMPANIES SHOULD BE INVESTING IN THEIR BRAND Creating a memorable brand identity I recently attended Trade Days and was excited to see how the mobility industry continues to thrive, innovate and evolve. It was great to catch up with so many friendly faces and speak with retailers about the ever-increasing importance of brand marketing. Certainly, things have changed in the last few years. The shift to online for product research, the impact of social media and the rise of in-store personalised services has meant that marketers have needed to re-think how brands can and must communicate with consumers, as well as the necessity to be consistent over time and across platforms. People often say “you can’t be everything for everyone” and branding follows the same premise - it’s about carving out your own niche position within an increasingly crowded market. Certainly, the moment when someone chooses your brand - that’s not luck. It’s a finely-tuned combination of consumer insight, market intelligence and marketing strategy. Therefore, to create a memorable brand identity, you must first define a clear value proposition that encapsulates what you offer, what your company stands for and what differentiates you from your competitors. After all, a lot of people think that “brand” is just another word for logo. But this isn’t true. Whilst logos play their part, a brand is a large “machine” that incorporates many key elements. From your colour palette to your tone of voice, from your website design to your in-store customer experience, all of these must work in harmony to create a proposition that is trustworthy,

30 |

convincing and recognisable. From a marketing perspective, it is key that brands harness the right variety of marketing platforms on which to be heard and seen in order to build awareness, educate consumers and foster long-term customer relationships. And gone are the days when your only way to communicate with a brand was in-store. Nowadays, through digital channels, consumers have the luxury of talking to their favourite brands from the privacy of their own homes. This constant communication between consumers and companies means that the “conversational tone” is a crucial part of the branding mix. Whether it’s authoritative, sentimental or just friendly, your tone creates allimportant emotional connections. Inspiring loyalty Behavioural Architects put this very issue to the test during a recent social experiment, where they asked customers to identify their favourite brands and describe positive memories associated with them. The organisers then told participants that their preferred brands would be temporarily substituted for similar products and asked everyone to report back on how they compared. The catch? The products were exactly the same - they had simply

Accord Marketing’s John Corellis

been stripped of all their brand identifiers and placed in blank containers. The results were astounding and (at times) hilarious. Customers felt lost without their favourite cup of tea and tin of baked beans, even though the product itself hadn’t changed. What this experiment concluded was a truth that has long been evident for marketers: people are often more attached to a brand than they are to a product. Whether looking for a portable scooter, a stairlift or a new powerchair, consumers will invest in brands they recognise and trust. Remember, brands are the same as people. The value assigned to a person is largely based on how that person makes you feel and it’s no different with a brand. Your brand is your reputation, your personality and your promise. It’s what sets you apart from the crowd and it is an investment that marketers cannot afford to neglect. Accord is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that specialises in the mobility sector. To talk to our brand strategist about standing out in the crowd, get in touch today. To find out more, contact John on 020 7395 9632 or john.

The answer is YES!

Now, what was the question?

Primacare manufacture in the UK an extensive range of bespoke Rise & Recline chairs including Bariatric chairs, Care chairs and Porter chairs.

Do you need your chair quickly? It could be made and delivered to you within days! Without comprimise on quality or options, choose from; 2 styles, 3 sizes, 4 fabrics and 3 different actions to make the chair you need now! Ask your Primacare Dealer for full details.

Seating Experts in Assistive Technology

Primacare ltd Unit 26, Heads of the Valleys Industrial Estate Rhymney, Tredegar. NP22 5RL

British made for comfort, quality and reliability.

telephone (01685) 845900


MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND INVESTMENTS Arjo exits low-spec medical beds in favour of premium


s a key part of its action plan to improve profitability in the medical beds product category, global mobility and medical devices supplier Arjo has signed an agreement to divest Acare, its low-spec medical beds business, to China-based CBL Group. Arjo acquired the Chinese company Acare Medical Science in 2012 to expand its presence in emerging markets, however, decided to get out of the low-spec space in favour of focusing on the premium segment for medical beds which has significantly

better profitability. “Our strength is found outside the value segment and that is also the area on which we will focus to maintain and further strengthen our leading positions in the market,” commented Joacim Lindoff, President and CEO of Arjo. With its headquarters in Guangzhou, China, CBL Group will add Acare to its offering in the low and mid-price segment, with the divestment also encompassing a production and sales unit in Zhuhai, China, that generated sales of approximately £7 million in 2017.

Joacim Lindoff

Expected to be completed at the end of 2018, Arjo says the divestment will have no considerable effect on results in 2018 but predicts a positive annual effect of almost £2.2 million on operating profit from 2019.

ONE REHAB PURCHASES BARTRAMS ASSOCIATES Aiming to expand into the NHS and pressure care market, One Rehab has purchased Bartrams Associates, after the provider and manufacturer of mobility and pressure care aids went into administration on the 4th July. Nationwide insolvency practitioner SFP Group were appointed as Administrators of the Ely-based Bartrams Associates in early July, however, announced later that month that no buyer had been found and that the business had ceased trading. Confirming that the pressure care manufacturing division is operating smoothly, Godalming-based One Rehab will continue to manufacture Bartrams’ existing product range,

32 |

including the Gemstone cushion range, the Vitality mattress, the Tri-Pos dynamic cushions and the Galaxy bariatric mattresses. Nick Knappett, Business Development Manager speaking on behalf of One Rehab, commented: “This is an exciting move for us as it widens our market reach into the specialist pressure care market and NHS sectors. Our existing retail customers will also benefit from a wide range of pressure care solutions which are manufactured on-site.” The Bartrams range will now join One Rehab’s product portfolio of walking aids and seating

products, with One Rehab continuing to service and manage NHS contracts, equipment and rental agreements held by Bartrams.

COUNCIL GRANT TO HELP BOOST RETAIL BUSINESS Having launched in April 2018 in Andover, DF Mobility is now preparing to develop its business further after receiving a £750 Business Incentive Grant from Test Valley Borough Council.


pened by Daniel Frendo in Andover town centre, the mobility retailer sells a range of mobility products to local residents, including mobility scooters, powered wheelchairs, as well as handling servicing contracts.

Commenting on the grant, Daniel said: “The grants available to new businesses like mine are fantastic and give owners the opportunity to invest in developing their business further. Thank you to Test Valley Borough Council for their support with the

launch of DF Mobility.” Available to anyone looking to set up their own business in the Test Valley area, the Council’s grant is awarded to anyone who successfully applies and whose business is still going strong after six-months. | 33


MEET… ALAN SULLIVAN, MARKETING MANAGER FOR THE RETAIL DIVISION OF DRIVE DEVILBISS HEALTHCARE moments it hits home: we can and do make a difference to people’s lives.

What does your position involve? I’m responsible for managing the marketing strategy and tactics to ensure that all our products are launched effectively and receive the required support to maximise sales throughout their product lifecycle. I also raise awareness of any new service capabilities we can offer to our network of retail partners. In all of our activity, we continue to build the Drive DeVilbiss brand and differentiate our brand identity from the other players in the industry. What do you enjoy most about your job? The many challenges it brings and the creativity required to think up new ideas to achieve our sales and marketing objectives. This may include encouraging customers to visit our stand at an exhibition, working on content for a new display advert or email campaign, through to a sales promotion to help the sales team reach their target. There are also those great moments when I’m out and about with the kids on a weekend and one them says: “Dad that’s one of your scooters.” I glance over and spot a family enjoying a day out and how a Drive product is playing its part. It’s during those

34 |

What is one of your proudest moments in the industry? From the very first Trade Days exhibition in 2014, I was determined to put our stamp on the show. I’m pleased to say we’ve exhibited every year and we continue to have one of, if not, the busiest stands at the show. The exhibition was quiet this year, but we had some great new products on display and we are still on track to achieve a new show sales record this year. One of the campaigns we’re currently launching is, again something I’m very proud of, our new InStore Independent Living catalogue. This catalogue was put together specifically for dealers as it targets the end user. So rather than just advertising the features and benefits of our products, this catalogue also helps the dealer

to sell themselves. It considers all the benefits that they as a business bring to their customers, be it in-store demonstrations, try before you buy, great after-sales service, the ability to buy on the day etc. So, we’ve tried in this catalogue to sell their business in addition to selling our products. From their point of view when they’re handing out this catalogue, whilst it’s there to represent our products in the best way it can, it also drives customers back into their stores to help them sell their products as well. When they’re giving the catalogue out knowing that a lot of the references in there are about driving the customer back to their store, it’s great for them. Since the launch of the new catalogue, the feedback has been excellent. It’s great to hear that customers are buying into the content of the new catalogue and truly believe it will help their businesses.

Quick-fire questions!

Describe yourself in three words Passionate, enthusiastic, impatient

What’s your favourite song? Sinéad O’Connor - Nothing Compares 2U What was the last film you watched? Solo: A Star Wars Story If you could have one superpower, what would it be? The ability to control time, to pause, rewind and fast forwar d at will. Favourite place in the world? North Landing in Flamborough, it’s a place I visit regularly with the kids and I’ve been there since I was a child, so it’s a place I always go back to.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the industry? When I entered the industry 18 years ago, the key channels to market were retail shops, direct sales operations and mail order. Over the years the direct sales model is no longer as prevalent, the emergence of the internet has been huge and some of the larger blue chip retailers continue to makes moves in the market. You do still hear the odd horror story of the direct sales model and its unethical sales tactics, but it’s rare compared to years gone by.

What are your interests outside of work? Spending time with my kids and making memories, be it days out at the seaside, trips to castles, days at the river or making tree swings in the local woods. As we all know, time is flying by so quickly and they grow up just as fast, so I’m determined to make the most of these years! If you had to do any other job in the world, what would it be?

I’ve always liked the idea of being a film director, taking a story and its characters and being part of that journey to help bring it to the big screen. It would also be great to be part of the creative team thinking up and putting together the Christmas advert for John Lewis.

If you could bring one innovation to the market, what would it be? For me, it’s a material, rather than just a product. I’m not a metallurgist but I would like to find a new superlight, durable and affordable material that could be easily used in the manufacturing process for several products including walking aids, wheelchairs and scooters.

OTAC Events 2019

Event dates have been released!

• Chester

Wednesday 6th February

Who else wants their product in front of HUNDREDS of occupational therapists? OTAC is the UK’s only FREE occupational therapy and adaptations conference, giving retailers valuable opportunities to showcase their products, and OTs crucial knowledge of products that can make their clients’ lives better? To talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, call us now on: 02921 900 401 or email

• Leeds

• Southampton

• Torquay

• Newcastle

• Cambridge

• Kent

• Reading

• Cardiff

Wednesday 24th April

Wednesday 1th May

Wednesday 12th June

Wednesday 10th July

Wednesday 11th September

Tuesday 22th October

Wednesday 6th November


Wednesday 4th December

Sponsored by

Technical Roadshow All 9 Events Proudly Sponsored by

To book your FREE tickets visit our website or email For more information on exhibiting please contact

more about… Manufactured in the UK, David says Companion’s new range will become the preferred partner for retailers’ leads

COMPANION: A NEW PLAYER ENTERS THE HOMELIFT MARKET With the technology becoming increasingly affordable and more homeowners seeing the future-proofing potential of installing homelifts, it is safe to say the emerging market for through-floor-lifts is one that will continue rise over the coming years. With already established players in the market, Companion has launched a new proposition with aims of becoming retailers’ preferred homelift partner.


ompanion, a provider of stairlifts and accessible bathing solutions and the direct-selling arm of Handicare, extended its product offering to include a new range of homelifts on the 1st of October. The move to enter the sector will now see the home adaptations provider in direct competition with major players in the expanding homelift market, including Stiltz, Lifton and Terry Lifts. Manufactured in the UK, the

36 |

new range of homelifts will join Companion’s straight and curved stairlifts solutions, as well as accessible bathing including walk-in showers, walk-in baths, wet rooms and the recently launched Showerpod. David Harrison, Sales and Marketing Director for Companion, says he believes Companion will soon become retailers’ preferred partner for all their home adaptation leads, describing how the company’s various accreditations means retailers can trust

leads are being managed responsibly. The homelifts offered by Companion come in three options, with a choice of traction or hydraulic drive systems and a unique, space-saving design featuring only rear posts with no obtrusive side posts. In addition, the company will provide retailers with a full suite of digital and print marketing information for homelifts via its online portal.

THIIS caught up with David Harrison to find out more about the motivations behind the decision to enter the homelift David Harriso sector, why retailers should n consider working with the company and more details about the homelifts on offer With so much competition in the homelift market, why should retailers choose to work with Companion? Companion has been operating in a competitive marketplace for over 15 years, so we’re completely geared up to take on the homelifts sector, where there is strong growth thanks to changing attitudes towards home adaptations amongst the older generation. Our Accredited Partner scheme, which is now in its second year, continues to attract retailers who are looking for suppliers to provide the quality products and fantastic service

Partners know they will get the very best customer service, while our online portal means they can keep up-to-date with how we’re doing with their leads as well as access information and resources to help their marketing efforts. Can you tell us more about how the new homelifts offering will fit into the Accredited Partner scheme? We believe that our Accredited Partners get much more for their leads than just commission on sales. Our team spend a lot of time and effort getting to know our partners

“In the last few years, we have seen steady growth in demand for our stairlifts, so I wouldn’t say that the homelift market has had a negative impact.” DAVID HARRISON

they demand for themselves and on behalf of their own customers. Our network of over 200 retailers regularly pass stairlift and accessible bathing leads to us, trusting their customers to us with all-round fantastic results which has seen them grow their businesses and earn thousands in commission. In 2018, our commission payment to partners has grown by over 65%. Adding homelifts to the Companion offer was the natural next step and we’re excited about the models in the range which meet the same high safety and design standards we demand of all our stairlift and bathing solutions.

full range of home adaptations. Our rates will consider how many different ranges a retailer is referring to us on a regular basis, so for a shop passing stairlift, bathing and homelift leads, the rates will be enhanced. What has the response been from retailers working with Companion regarding the new range? Activity on the portal went through the roof on the day of our launch! There was a real buzz in the office and the response from partners has been extremely encouraging, with a number of really good leads coming in on the first day! Have you found that the growth of the homelift market has impacted the demand for stairlifts? In the last few years, we have seen steady growth in demand for our stairlifts, so I wouldn’t say that the

and their business, providing advice and support both over the phone and at face-to-face meetings. And we don’t just reward sales either, our scheme includes rewards for every 10 leads passed and a monthly free prize draw open to everyone who passes a lead that converts. Can you give an indication on the commission retailers can earn? When it comes to commission rates, we know there are some retailers who are keen to work with us on a single product range, while others are keen to trust us with customers across our

With the homelift market on the rise, Companion has added the range to its existing home adaptations portfolio | 37

more about… homelift market has had a negative impact. The customer demographic is different for the two products. Most of our stairlift customers are buying because they have an immediate need for help to use stairs, while homelift customers have an eye on their future needs and may make the decision to buy before they need help. Clearly this has long-term implications if the UK’s housing stock features homelifts as standard but I think we’re a long way from that being the case. What distinguishes the homelifts offered by Companion from others in the market? Companion’s homelift range has three models – the Cygnus, the Aurora and the Stratus - all manufactured in the UK and compliant with the latest safety standards in terms of fire and smoke protection. The lifts all look good, perform well and, most importantly, take up very little space

Each of the three models can be adapted to suit the needs of the customer and their home says David

according to the user’s needs. In fact, the range includes a lift with one of the smallest footprints currently available at just 0.67m2. Each of the models can be tailored to suit the needs of the customer and their home, in terms of functionality, capability, drive mechanism, size and colour finishes. They are all suitable for wheelchairs and walking passengers. When it comes to installation, the

lifts’ self-supporting designs require minimal construction work which means they can be installed and ready to use in as little as one day. For more information about the new range, contact the Accredited Partner support team on 0800 620 0826

More about the three lifts…

THE CYGNUS At the top of the range, the Cygnus homelift is a versatile and stylish through-the floor lift that can be located almost anywhere according to David. Optional features including a wide selection of colours and finishes, mood lighting and Bluetooth connectivity, making this model an elegant choice for homes which boast all the latest in hi-tech gadgets.

38 |

THE AURORA The Aurora is another fully-enclosed cabin lift with half-height glass panels and a very comprehensive specification says David, including wireless controls and optional poweroperated door.

THE STRATUS Finally, the Stratus is an open car lift that’s perfect for wheelchair users. Additionally, the homelift can also be fitted with a seat for walking passengers who must travel in a seated position for safety.



BRAND NEW RANGE OF HOMELIFTS • Manufactured in the UK • British Standards compliant • 12 months warranty • Wheelchair accessible • Rapid installations available

Refer your homelift leads to a company you can trust With a wide range of home adaptations and award-winning customer service, becoming a Companion Accredited Partner has never been an easier choice.

Interested? Just visit or call us on...


Benefits for Accredited Partners include: • Healthy rates of commission • Dedicated web portal • Fantastic partner rewards • Fast track response • Full marketing support

0800 620 0826 Bathing


living made easy



With close to 1000 suppliers nationwide constantly releasing new products in the mobility and independent living industry, it can be difficult for retailers to keep track of what equipment is available on the market. Living made easy however is aiming to make retailers’ live easier each month with their product showcase, highlighting new, unique and popular products to busy retailers. 40 |

Fold flat rollator


omprising a strong aluminium frame, this four-wheeled lightweight rollator from Aidapt is designed to be durable enough for daily use. It has anatomically-designed handgrips, arthritic friendly loop cable brakes and height adjustable handles. Further features include an integral canvas seat, padded backrest and an integral walking stick holder. A detachable shopping bag is also included. When not in use, it can be folded down completely flat, making it ideal not only for storage but also transportation. The lightweight rollator is available in a range of colour options.

Aidapt Deluxe Fold Flat Rollator

PUSH ATTENDANT PROPELLED ALL TERRAIN WHEELCHAIR The MT Push buddy chair is part of the all-terrain range by Mountain Trike. An adjustable push handle is located behind the user, which is where the steering and braking takes place by the rider’s buddy. The large front wheels, rugged chassis and air suspension are designed to allow the wheelchair to move over a variety of terrain including gravel, grass, sand, snow and mud. The Mountain Trike Company manufactures and produces all terrain off road wheelchairs from their UK premises. The MT Push buddy chair is suitable for children through to the adults.

MT Push Buddy 020 7289 6111 | 41

living made easy

Tilt and recline


arma Mobility’s VIP2 515 offers a combination of tilt-in space and reclining positions. The manual wheelchair features a 35-degree tilt and comes with either a backrest with fixed recline positions from -5-degrees to 15-degrees or an adjustable reclining back of 30-degrees. The pivot point of the chair is located close to the user’s hip joint, which synchronises with the motion of the body and the chair, reducing the sensation of sliding when reclining. The VIP2 comes with an adjustable headrest with a greater range of position options. Other features include a deeper seat for taller users, removable armrests, a tension adjustable backrest and the option to fit a rigid backrest for greater trunk support and comfort. Once folded down it will fit in the boot of most standard family sized cars.

Karma Mobility VIP2

MAXIMUM COMFORT FOR VERY SMALL CHILDREN Designed especially for children, the Qimova Comfort Paediatric Chair is a variation of their Comfort Chair. The smaller size wheelchair is designed to adjust and evolve as the child grows and their needs change over time. It comes equipped with extra short leg rests and recline and incline features on the back rest. The armrests and leg rests can be easily removed. A choice of seat sizes and bespoke cushioning is available along with a wide range of accessories that can be used to create the exact amount of functionality and support needed by the user. These include additional remotes and modules such as attendant remotes, sip ’n’ puff, finger steering and switch inputs as well as headrests, thoracic supports, hip guides, pommels, trays and pushing handles. Qimova Comfort Paediatric Chair is the UK’s leading comparison site for equipment for independent living, used predominately by disabled and older people or their relatives and friends. Our comprehensive database helps around two million people a year. If you are a supplier and would like to list your products on Living made easy, contact our data services team at

42 |

Up and away SNAP-OPEN DESIGNER WALKING STICK When folded down, Blue Badge Co’s adjustable walking stick is small enough to pack into a handbag or large pocket. Made from lightweight aluminium, it boasts a strikingly coloured shaft, Canadian maple wood handle and rubber, nonslip ferrule. The height can be adjusted from 82cm to 94cm with 3cm increments between notches; once adjusted there is no need to adjust the stick height before folding it away.

The Veldink Kiddo Up is an active lightweight wheelchair for self-drivers who sometimes need a tilt function. The wheelchair is constructed in such a way that the child is supported optimally. The tilt adjustment allows the child to adopt different postures for active use or upkeep comfort thus reducing the pressure in the seating area. A wide range of options and accessories are available - from

wheels and hoops to sitting supports. The colour, wheel protectors and back image designs can be personalised - designs are available on Veldink’s website or alternatively customised designs can be commissioned. Compact and lightweight by design, the wheelchair can be used from early childhood and is designed to grow with the child - the width, depth and height are all adjustable.

Blue Badge Company Designer Walking Stick



The three-wheeled Alinker was created by Barbara Alink, a Dutch designer, architect and humanitarian, as an alternative to the more traditional style rollator. The walking bike is designed to help the rider maintain an active life, regardless of their movement abilities or disabilities. Due to the upright design, the user is at eye level with their standing companions when seated. The saddle carries the rider’s weight, leaving the legs free to move. Handle bars provide additional support. There are no pedals: the bike can be self-propelled forwards and backwards by one or both of the rider’s legs – this can make it suitable for use by those who may have limited use in one leg or amputees. The lightweight frame can be folded for storage or transport. 020 7289 6111 | 43

living made easy


The Krypton F

The Wheellator is a multi-function walking aid designed to combine the benefits of a rollator and a wheelchair in one device. Manufactured by Tukimet Oy, it is indicated for conditions such as COPD, MS, Parkinson’s and during rehabilitation after trauma incidents or planned surgery. The backrest is height adjustable and the large rear wheels with inflatable tyres are suitable for rougher terrain. If the user needs to rest during their walk they can turn the Wheellator around and sit down. The walking aid also comes equipped with push out height adjustable handles for times when attendant pushing is required. The wheels detach by pressing a quick-release button, helping to make it easy to pack away. The Wheellator Walking Aid comes in four colour options. Paediatric and bariatric versions will be launched in the New Year.

Carbon fibre frame


The Krypton F is a fully adjustable folding wheelchair manufactured by Sunrise Medical. The frame is made from a patented carbon fibre, designed to be strong, rigid and lightweight. The folding cross-brace sits under the seat, giving it a minimalistic, open-frame feel. When the Krypton is folded, users can choose to remove the wheels or stow the wheelchair in a folded position. The fold-down back option provides an even more compact folding package. The Krypton F is part of Sunrise Medical Ltd’s Quickie range. A rigid frame version is also available. is the UK’s leading comparison site for equipment for independent living, used predominately by disabled and older people or their relatives and friends. Our comprehensive database helps around two million people a year. If you are a supplier and would like to list your products on Living made easy, contact our data services team at

44 |






































OT perspective

WHEN WALKING AIDS ARE NO LONGER SUITABLE What happens when walking aids aren’t enough? Stuart Barrow shares an occupational therapist’s perspective.


bout a year ago, I wrote an article entitled ‘What we look for when recommending walking aids.’ But here’s the problem: sometimes walking aids are not enough. Sometimes, a client simply isn’t able to use a walking aid and, as a result, they need a wheelchair. With that in mind, I thought I’d jot down a few pointers to help in the process of selecting a wheelchair.

Broadly speaking you’ve got three types of wheelchairs Self-propelled – the user propels themselves along in the chair. It’s well worth considering one with quick-release wheels, to make transporting the chair much easier. Attendant propelled – the user is pushed/wheeled. Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have smaller back

wheels, so are often lighter and easier to transport. Powered – the chair has a battery pack or is fully powered with controls. There are three categories of powered wheelchairs – indoor/portable, outdoor and indoor/outdoor – and it’s important to understand where your client spends their time and recommend the chair that best suits their needs.


STRONGBACK WHEELCHAIRS The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985

1823TGAad.newstripStrongBackJul18v2.indd 1

46 |

Universally suitable • Lightweight 7.9kg frame Quality attendant-controlled and self propel models 135kg user capacity • Advanced lumbar support

Powered wheelchairs are either class 2 (can be used outside on pavements) or class 3 (for use on roads and pavements), and are generally a lot heavier than manual wheelchairs, due to the need to support the battery and other equipment. Generally, an electric wheelchair will use a joystick as its drive control, and these can be tricky to learn, so it’s vital to give a full tutorial and ensure that the client knows where the instructions are. The wheelchair battery will need to be charged overnight, so it’s important to have storage space that is near enough to a socket to charge the chair. How do you decide which wheelchair is right for a client? Can the patient sit in the chair and propel themselves? They may be able to walk a little and want a chair for around the home but, ultimately, if the patient cannot wheel themselves around the shop, it is likely they would not manage the wheelchair at home. If the patient needs help, an attendant propelled chair may be better (the chair with the smaller wheels). Again, the patient needs to try the chair and then the person who is most likely to propel them should wheel them around the shop and understand whether that person is capable and will continue to be capable for the foreseeable future. As always, environment is key. A great self-propelled or attendantpropelled wheelchair may be unsuitable if the patient lives at the top of a steep hill.


20’’ seat width self propel version

If the client is not keen to go for a powered wheelchair or it doesn’t seem appropriate, then one option is an add-on battery pack that will provide a little extra help on inclines. However, if an attendant propelled wheelchair is not suitable, an electric wheelchair is probably the next step and it’s important to take that selection process seriously, with a road test around the shop carpark, up and down the street and, if possible, a home visit and demonstration. The home visit will ensure the property is suitable for the wheelchair i.e. does it need ramps? Are doorways wide enough? Is there storage space? It’s also important to ask questions about what you can’t see – the person’s medical history, a current medication or diagnosis and so on. A person with dementia may not be able to use the powered chair as they deteriorate, thus an attendant propelled chair may be required with battery pack. Similarly, a person with cognitive deficits or learning disability may not be able to manage the powered chair. If in doubt, refer to the NHS wheelchair service and suggest the patient has a full NHS wheelchair service assessment from a qualified professional like an Occupational Therapist. If there is any doubt that the client will be able to use a wheelchair safely, there should be a clear request to refer the patient back to their GP for a wheelchair assessment. And then, you need to consider these factors: • What is their level of cognition? • How coordinated are they?

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

• •

What’s their upper body strength and grip strength like? What level of physical endurance can they cope with?

You also need to ensure how appropriate the aid is for the duration of its use… As an example, a patient may be fine in the morning but some conditions mean by afternoon they are exhausted, thus will need an attendant propelled or powered option. Other key things to consider when choosing mobility aids: 1. VAT relief is available for disabled clients, terminally ill clients and those with diagnosed long-term conditions. 2. Some organisations hire wheelchairs, thus may not need to buy one.

Compact folding

Unique contoured backrest

01787 882244 21/06/2018 17:40 | 47

round-up The Mayor and Mayoress of Sutton celebrating the success of Get Going Live! with the QEF Mobility Services team, Carshalton

AXED MOBILITY ROADSHOW FEATURE REVIVED Focusing on helping younger disabled people, novice drivers and individuals with newly acquired medical conditions experience adapted driving, Get Going Live! was a popular feature of the Mobility Roadshow.


hen the event ended in October 2017, Ann Fry, chair of the now closed charity which ran Mobility Roadshow and newly appointed Driving Mobility board member, commented: “We are in discussion with Driving Mobility, the charity representing the UK’s mobility centres, and with Disability Driving Instructors, about opportunities for them to organise local events under our “Get Going Live!” banner.”

48 |

The relaunch of the first Get Going Live took place in QEF Carshalton on the 5th October 2018 and was hailed a success by visitors, QEF Charity organisers and the Mayor and Mayoress of Sutton. Over 30 mobility equipment manufacturers showcased products and accessible vehicle test drives were available around QEF’s private test track on the day. In addition, there were also

informative seminars regarding accessible transport and advice from the QEF’s Tryb4uFly service which advises on air travel with a disability. The second Get Going Live! event took place at the Leeds William Merritt Centre’s annual AccessAbility exhibition on the 18th October.

KYMCO’s VIVIO+ steals the show, at Rehacare 2018! Packed with many value added features VIVIO+ now includes fully adjustable suspension and full front & rear lighting. Contact your Area Manager now for full details!

NEW VIVIO+ Order yours now, don’t delay!

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

South West – Martin Garrett 07850 501634

South East – Keir French | 49 07515 282647


Little Rascal to offer retailers new compact option Electric Mobility has launched its new Rascal powerchair, the Rio, providing retailers with a compact, transportable and stylish solution to offer end-users, according to the company. Easily dismantlable into three parts for easy transportation and storage, the latest model in the company’s Rascal range boasts a top speed of 4mph, a weight limit of 18 stone and eight-mile range. Replacing Electric Mobility’s P321 powered wheelchair, the company says the Rio includes a number of improvements, such as an upgraded seat, controller and aesthetics. Jonathan Hearth, Managing Director of Electric Mobility, said: “Customers want to feel comfortable and confident while using their powerchair, combining lightweight, dismantlable components with the Rio’s sturdy base offers them great peace of mind. “Mounted on the modern & clean white base, the Rio is a timeless powerchair ideal for convenient storage & life on the move.”


Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has completed the first deliveries in a substantial export contract, supplying electrically profiling beds into France. Produced for Drive DeVilbiss’ French sister company, the beds are a new model of standard medical beds destined be used within the French homecare market. The four section electrically profiling beds with head and foot ends include a wood finish to match a more domestic setting, with a textured paint finish described as both practical and hardwearing. Originally manufactured in Vietnam, Drive DeVilbiss has shifted production to Halifax in West Yorkshire, citing manufacturing efficiencies and product quality driving the decision. Producing the new beds in Halifax has led to substantial investment in plant and people says the company and follows a growing trend in a number of suppliers moving production from the Far East back to the UK.

Approaching the end of the second year of its retailer support programme, Repose is presenting retailers with a special offer over November to help give end-users peace of mind at a lower cost. Described as one of the most comprehensive warranty packages available on the market, retailers receive a half price, five-year allinclusive warranty on selected products by quoting November2018 when placing an order between November 1st and 30th. The warranty treats all chairs covered in a domestic fabric with a specialist spray to add further protection against potential stains, as well as a complimentary Repose cleaning kit and cover for accidental damage to the fabric. “We appreciate that customers are always looking for the best possible warranty options to ensure peace of mind in the future. This is even more relevant in our marketplace as often it can be family members that are purchasing a product for a friend or family member and want to ensure they will be looked after in the unusual event of a problem occurring,” commented Lisa Wardley, Managing Director of Repose. There will be examples from the range of bespoke seating solutions available from Repose on show on stand C01 at The OT Show.


50 |

pick of the month



52 |

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

Karen Sheppard, Managing Director of People First Mobility

Pick of the month: Aidapt’s Gel Comfort Cushion

The Aidapt Gel Comfort Cushion is proving to be popular for all kinds of solutions. We sell them for wheelchair cushions, as a mobility scooter cushion, for use in the home on chairs and settees and also to the local taxi drivers, who have been buying them as they are comfortable to sit on for long periods with the removal gel insert giving extra support. The easy removable fleece cover also allows it to be washed, which is very useful.

PICK OF THE MONTH: PAROH’S HANDS FREE HAIRDRYER STAND Michelle Mossford, Senior Marketing Manager of Ableworld

Before bringing this into the range, it was trialled by a parent of one of the Group Buyers who found the product to be extremely useful. “The Hands Free Hairdryer Stand allows you to style your hair without having to struggle holding and gripping a bulky hairdryer. It’s a very handy product to have around the home and can be fixed to any clean flat surface by suction pads. It’s ideal for people with limited grip and movement. The flexible neck bends and moves allowing you to position the hairdryer to best fit your needs. | 53

pick of the month

PICK OF THE MONTH: SCOOTERPAC’S FOLDING CANOPY Dominc Goldsmith, Director of Style Mobility Alastair Gibbs, Managing Director of TPG DisableAids

Pick of the month: Topro’s rollator range – in particular, the Troja

Any showroom manager must analyse and appreciate why any new customer takes the decision to walk through that showroom door. Often, it is an event that has happened in their life that has been a turning point that has made up their mind to do something about the problem. “The most common problem is therefore ‘Mobility’. “It is really important to have a good range of walkers and rollators on the shelf or the shop floor ready to solve that first mobility problem without delay. It is no good just having one or two. You must have a range with three or four wheels and a choice of colours, weight and quality. “There are many at the economyend of the range but it is also important to also have a few highquality offerings because not everyone will buy purely on price. It is a solution to that mobility problem they are

54 |

looking for and, for some, that will mean buying the best. “To that end, we have recently started to stock the Topro rollators and have been pleasantly surprised at how well they sell as a premium product costing more than twice that of an economy range product. Design features and quality materials are obvious to even the most casual of observers and that quality is likely to result in a very satisfied customer. “The really important lesson here is that if you solve the first problem of mobility for a customer, they will return again and again for those bigger ticket items as their mobility needs change. If they walk away because you failed on day one with a solution, then it is likely they will continue to shop with your competitor that did the job properly.

With the bad weather fast approaching I have decided it fitting to show case the ‘Scooterpac’ folding canopy as my product of the month. “Universal and incredibly versatile, the ‘Scooterpac’ will fit virtually any scooter, especially now that there is an XL version available. “Also, this product works as a great up sell to any scooter sale.

New InStore Independent Living Catalogue For 2018

I’m pleased to say we’ve already received some Great feedback… “Drive really are helping to drive customers into the store” Spencer Coe, Scoota Mart

“This is so much better than any of the other catalogues out there” Peter Hankinson Alpha Mobility

“I think it’s fantastic, very informative, they have been very well thought out, a great tool to use in store” Tracy Suther, Active Mobility

You should have all now received a hard copy of our new catalogue, if not please let us know.

“The market has been crying out for something like this”

The design and content of this catalogue was specifically put together to help drive customers into your store, highlighting the benefits of buying locally from a bricks and mortar business.

“You’ve made my day/week/month/ year! We have been trying to get a brochure with a great selection of products and no prices on for 2 years!”

New Catalogue Stands Now Available FOC!

Order Yours Today

DDHRetailUK Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Drive Devilbiss UK

01274 475 122

Judy Mctigue, Wirral Mobility

Graeme Dymond, The Care Team

TRADE DAYS 2018 Trade Days wraps up


n the 7th and 8th of October, the industry came together to talk trade once again at Trade Days, with retailers from across the UK coming to meet existing suppliers, make new connections and check out new products to offer customers. The fifth year of the trade-exclusive show, the event saw product giveaways, trade-centric seminars, as well as some interesting new products to grab retailers’ attention. Exhibiting for both days, the THIIS team had the opportunity to catch up with many readers, as well as run its own competition, giving two lucky companies the opportunity to win a bottle of bubbly. To see who won, see page 76. The next Trade Days will be taking place on the 6th and 7th October at the NEC in Birmingham.

56 | | 57





Helping customers stuck in bathing limbo


lready used by patients from almost 700 hospitals and clinics across the UK, LimbO, manufacturers of waterproof protectors to go over plaster casts and wound care dressings, were on the lookout for retailers at this year’s show. The simple but effective products are used to help those with casts and dressing bathe and shower without getting the specific area wet and are the recommended brand of choice by the NHS, according to LimbO’s sales and marketing manager Gill Fielding. “We do lots of work with hospitals and work closely with their plaster technicians and alongside the information they give to patients, they also give our leaflets out as well so patients are aware of our range,” she explained. Having been operating for almost 25 years from its base on the South Coast in West Sussex, the company is now keen to build its retailer network in the UK. Explaining the benefits of stocking the range, Gill said: “If retailers have patients coming to them with bathing and showering needs related to this need, then they have a lightweight, affordable solution at hand that they can suggest the client uses.”

Trades Days marked the launch of a brand-new proposition, Totalcare, retailers’ customers buying a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair comprehensive protection in one simple package. Available exclusively to Appointed Representatives (ARs) of Fish Insurance, the package provides insurance and breakdown cover, added protection for tyres and lost or damaged keys, as well as a powerful DNA+ theft deterrent kit unique to Fish Insurance. In addition, extended warranty cover is available, allowing end-users to extend the length of time they are protected in the event of mechanical or electrical breakdown. With policies covering scooter and powerchair users for up to three years, Fish Insurance says its new package is designed to give endusers and retailers peace of mind, with retailers’ customers covered from the minute payment is made. The mobility insurance specialist has also introduced an Easy Payment Scheme*, allowing customers to choose to spread the cost over a 12-month period and pay via Direct Debit. To learn more about the mobility insurance package, call Fish on 0333 331 3966 *Credit is subject to status and a 19.5% APR will apply to all premiums quoted. Please contact Fish Insurance for full details. The customer must contact Fish Insurance if they want to pay by instalments. | 59




fter spotting a gap in the market for adjustable incontinence swimwear and developing her own range in 2010, Daksha Mistry, Managing Director of Kes-Vir, took to this year’s Trade Days to encourage more retailers to consider stocking continence products. Looking for dealers across the UK, as well as international distributors to expand the brand’s reach oversea,

60 |

Daksha told THIIS that mobility retailers may be missing a trick by overlooking the continence market. “There is definitely a market for the products however many retailers are not aware of this end of the market and the value of offering it to their customers. It can be a great addition to their product offering,” she suggested. “For some of our dealers, it is a bit of a learning curve selling these

products but once they understand the range, they see success, especially because of the products’ vibrant styles.” According to Daksha, the KesVir range’s durability, style and, in particular, adjustability, make the product unique in Europe and allow retailers to cover a wide customer base.


Alerta Medical now stock an updated range of 3A Professional aspirators and nebulisers for distributors.

Alerta 3A Professional Range Alerta Medical are pleased to be working in very close partnership with 3A Healthcare to bring to UK distributors an enhanced and more aesthetically pleasing range of aspirators and nebulisers. Hi-Flow, single pump, double pump and rechargeable battery systems available now, and they all use the same components and spares as previous models. Distributors adopting these models will benefit from improved trade pricing. Full image bank available Large stocks for next day delivery Improved trade pricing Contact us today to discuss further. | 61 +44 (0)3452 088 097 | |

TRADE DAYS 2018 Motion Healthcare’s Tim Mills

MAKING LIGHTWORK OF LITHIUM FOR DEALERS After showcasing the new Lithilite, a lightweight folding scooter boasting an impressive 26-mile range on a 5kg lithium battery pack, to the industry in April, Motion Healthcare took to Trade Days to unveil a new piece of equipment aimed at making lithium more accessible for mobility dealers.


ccording to Tim Mills, Head of Business Development at Motion Healthcare, mobility retailers have lacked a means of testing lithium batteries, resulting in some dealers being deterred to stock and sell lithium-based products. To address this, the company has launched a lithium battery tester which Tim says will help mobility dealers looking to adopt lithium products across the board.

62 |

“Considering the cost to replace lithium batteries, our tester is something that will help save dealers and customers a lot of time and hassle,” he explained. “The process of sending batteries back can be expensive and timeconsuming, which is frustrating for both the dealer and their customer. Most of the big suppliers are helpful with this but that is adding capacity to their workloads.”

“For retailers that pride themselves on their customer service, they want to test the batteries themselves and help their customer there and then, as they have been doing for years with sealed lead acid batteries.” The new tester will allow retailers to do this says Tim, ensuring companies are able to maintain high levels of customer service. “Additionally, it helps retailers gain a level of efficiency by being able to

catch those lithium batteries that they have had to replace in the past which they may not have had to,” noted Tim. “With the expense of a lithium battery pack, a dealer wouldn’t have to avoid replacing many batteries before they have made back the cost

dealers and their customers, so it is great to be able to make it more accessible for our customers,” added Tim. “Now, we are building our retailer network to find people in areas where we are a little weak so that we have

“With the expense of a lithium battery pack, a dealer wouldn’t have to avoid replacing many batteries before they have made back the cost of a tester.” TIM MILLS

of a tester.” With the introduction of the new tester, Motion Healthcare is now looking to increase lithium-powered product adoption across mobility retailers in the UK, as well as developing its retailer network. “The technology offers a lot to both

a good coverage of the whole of the UK. “This, combined with bringing new products that other suppliers may not have, is where our focus will be over the coming months.”

More from Motion Alongside the Lithilite and the new lithium battery tester, Motion Healthcare showcased the eDrive, a new electric, automatically folding scooter. Housing the battery at the back, just underneath the seat, allowing for easy access when folded, the eDrive also comes with a free, heavy-duty travel bag. In addition, the company exhibited an upgraded version of its Foldalite, which now includes offboard charging, a flip-up footrest and a new digital joystick with two or three power modes which users can adjust.

November Offers Deluxe Self Propel Wheelchair • £59 Ex VAT • Soft, nylon seat and back upholstery for additional comfort • Steel frame provides extra durability • Solid, puncture proof tyres for low maintenance and increased durability • Deluxe sport style, self-propel mag wheels add a stylish finish

Order now, quote "THIIS Jazzy"


£59 Ex VAT


Pride Jazzy Air Powerchair Jazzy Air is the newest powerchair from one of our top suppliers; Pride Mobility. Well known in the industry for their high quality products, the Jazzy Air is a true example of their fine craftsmanship, bringing in a new era of powerchairs.

£1999 Ex VAT

Features • 10” seat lift, which can be operated at 3.5mph • Customise the position of the ‘buddy button’ to allow easier control of the raise and lower function • Integrated footplate with unique design • Variety of Colours available • Tight turning for extra safety and control • Bright LED markers • Distinctive Mid-Wheel 6 Drive Design

Order now, quote "THIIS Delux" Offers valid until 30/11/18. Prices correct at time of going to print. Product and offers are subject to availability.

Dedicated account manager Order today – Call us on 0330 311 6498 or email at


GIVING RETAILERS A HELPING HAND INTO PRESSURE CARE Launching a new, higher risk pressure care cushion at the Wound Expo Conference in September to a positive reception from tissue viability teams, the Helping Hand Company was keen to speak to retailers who may have avoided this type of range of pressure care products in the past.


he company’s pressure care division showcased the new Equazone, a self-inflating pressure care cushion featuring four stable quadrants allowing for equal distribution of pressure whilst suspended on air, as well as cutaway to ensure a user’s most vulnerable areas are always immersed in air. Despite being known for producing high-quality pressure care cushions, Mitch Preedy, Sales Manager of Helping Hand Pressure Care, explained that the company’s pressure care range were products that would often be found on the shelves of retailers. “Traditionally, our foam cushion products have always had great quality but haven’t ever been a stock item with retailers but rather more of a specialist sale,” he says. “With the Equazone, we have pushed to create a cushion that

The Helping Hand Company says it has matched competitive pricing with highquality, high-risk pressure protection

64 |

retains that high level of quality whilst also being competitive in terms of price for retailers to offer.” In addition to its price point, the Helping Hand Company also took retail considerations into account when designing the new cushion says Mitch. “Importantly, for retailers, the cushions come rolled up and compact, making them easy to both stock and display in store,” he remarked. “We have also designed the Equazone so all the details of the product, set-up & cleaning instructions and directions for use are easy to find for users and healthcare professionals on the back of the cushion.” Selling 37 cushions at the show and with strong interest from retailers, the company hopes the Equazone will be the first of a range of new products in

the pipeline to pique retailers’ interest. “With our new cushion, I’m not sure if there is a product that can offer all of the qualities the Equazone has and appeal to so many markets within the industry. The fact we have all of our own manufacturing capabilities in the UK really helps drive this product innovation,” added Mitch. “Our new Equazone means retailers can now have a high-pressure relieving care cushion at an affordable price which would appeal to them and their customers. “Often, many retailers have steered clear of higher risk pressure cushions because of price, so this may well open up a new part of the market for them.” To find out more about the new cushion, contact mitchpreedy@helpinghand. or call 01531 800199


Manufacturers of bespoke rise and recline chairs and handcrafted adjustable beds for the mobility and healthcare market

Delivery in 7 - 10 days* Come and visit us on Stand G58 at the forthcoming OT Show (21/22 November 2018) For furniture offering comfort, independence and a higher standard of care, contact;

Tel: 0115 913 3572

email: *On a wide range of products





n 2016, Pride Mobility launched its Hudson range of chairs in memory of one of the company’s most personable and well-liked reps, Guy Hudson. Two years on since its launch, the range has taken off according to marketing manager Theo Sawford. Proving to be as popular as the man it was named after, Pride is doubling down efforts to expand and enhance the range, recently showcasing a number of new Hudson models at Trade Days. Discussing the Hudson range’s importance in Pride’s product portfolio, Theo told THIIS: “It is extremely important and it is growing in a big way. A lot of our dealers in the UK are seeing the potential of it and experiencing good sales and interest. I think it is really fulfilling a need in the power lift recliner market.” As competition continues to increase the rise recliner market, Theo noted that UK-manufactured quality and aesthetics are the key drivers behind success, stating more manufacturers need to adopt a lifestyle-focused approach to their product design. “The way we perceive our chairs is not as generic disability products, we see them as products that can fit into an end-user’s living room and décor. They are far more focused on lifestyle,

66 |

whilst still having that high-quality element,” explained Theo. “It is certainly something I think is needed in the industry and we always try to make sure our chairs are the kind of products customers actually want in their homes, rather than need.” Emphasising the importance of mobility aids to integrated flawlessly into end-users’ existing environments, Theo says reception from retailers has been encouraging for the Hudson range and more chairs are in the pipeline. “It has really been a positive experience as it was done on behalf of Guy, who really liked the elegant, classical style of English design. We think it is a great legacy for him,” he finished.

Each model of the Hudson range is named after one of Guy’s favourite holiday places, another nod to cheerful South East rep

On stand, the company revealed the Buxton model, featuring a powered headrest and powered lumbar support, as well as the new Camberley soft-sit, which Theo says has undergone recent design and feature changes driven by feedback from Pride’s retailer network.

“The way we perceive our chairs is not as generic disability products, we see them as products that can fit into an end-user’s living room and décor.” THEO SAWFORD

Introducing: The Excel G3 Hyperlite Enjoy effortless propulsion with the all new G3 Hyperlite, designed to be configured to individual needs, the new easy glide wheels and hubs give the G3 Hyperlite a feather touch feel to the user.

In 2 new frame colours of cool aluminium and sleek black, each chair comes with dartex upholstery, tension adjustable backrest, 2 inch cushion & anti tippers as standard.

£189.00 launch price. Plus £40.00 for the 20” seat width which holds 150 kg For more information or to place an order please contact us on the below: T: 01977 681400 | E: *No minimum order quantity needed to qualify*


Found on Britain’s east coast, MD Karen Sheppard says it is important for reps to engage with rural suppliers

TIME FOR SUPPLIERS TO HIT THE ROAD Multi-award-winning People First Mobility’s Karen Sheppard highlighted the challenge on getting face time with suppliers’ reps as a rural retailer whilst visiting this year’s show.


ttending Trade Days in search of new suppliers and catching up with existing suppliers, Karen explained the congregation of companies in one place is helpful as a retailer based in Skegness, giving her the opportunity to see new products that she may not get the opportunity to at her shop. “I live on the edge of the east coast so we sometimes miss out on seeing reps, so coming and seeing all the products in one go is great,” she told THIIS. Asked if suppliers should make a point of visiting retailers in further to reach locations, Karen noted that whilst some reps make regular appearances, others were less willing

68 |

to make the trip. “We have some great reps who will come out and see me all the time, unfortunately, there are other companies that will not come because we are so far out,” she said. “It is often the case where if they travel three and a half hours, they may only get to see a couple of retailers in the day, whereas inland, they get to

see ten or twenty. “I believe companies and managers are giving reps a certain number of visits they need to make in a week, which means those who are on the outskirts lose out a lot on keeping regular contact up with suppliers and seeing new products.”

“Those who are on the outskirts lose out a lot on keeping regular contact up with suppliers and seeing new products.” KAREN SHEPPARD

British manufactured Recliners Designed to suit your clients needs.

The Hudson range

The Dorchester

2 Seater Sofa From the Hudson Range

The Buxton

The Hudson range of powered rise and recliners and static chairs, are elegantly crafted and manufactured in Britain. With 5 years warranty, an extensive range of fabrics and back options, the Hudson range is the perfect choice for your clients requirements.

01869 324600


BUYING INTO THE BRAND With growing competition in the mobility scooter market, Tim Ross, National Sales Manager at TGA Mobility, highlighted at Trade Days how building a strong brand has been fundamental to TGA’s success.


ith the popularity and uptake of mobility scooters in the UK growing year-on-year and more players and products entering the market, Tim emphasised how branding plays a pivotal role in differentiating the company and driving consumer demand for its dealers. “A lot of the marketing we do drives customers into dealers’ shops,” he explained. “There is a choice for customers and as the market continues to grow, there is confusion about what to buy. If they are hearing about our brand and how well it is performing, they are naturally going to inquire about it.” Brand building goes beyond advertising campaigns underlined Tim, who stressed the need for dealers to accurately represent the brand in their shops to consumers. It is this need that is driving TGA to undertake a re-evaluation of its retailer network. “We have worked really hard to have a strong brand and as time goes on, we are looking to work with dealers that have the same approach as us. Those who appreciate our brand and the value it brings, as well as those who can look after the brand,” he stated. “In the near future, we are really going to review our dealer network and looking to grow our business with those retailers.” With recent media and public scrutiny around mobility scooters and safety concerns, Tim pointed out that a considerable element of the TGA brand is built around the championing of assessment, training and support. “Importantly, assessment is an essential aspect of us working with a dealer,” he commented. “Those who understand what customers want and listen to

70 |

customers so they sell the right product for the right need. Then having that aftersales expertise, such as being able to service and repair is absolutely critical.”

goes wrong, it is often the brand that people will wag a finger at,” he finished. “It is important that we have dealers that are able to offer that aftercare

“In the near future, we are really going to review our dealer network and looking to grow our business with those retailers.” TIM ROSS

In particular, Tim stressed that if a customer has a bad experience in a retail outlet buying a TGA product, it can have a potentially negative impact on that customer’s perception of the TGA brand. “We have a reputation and if someone buys a product and it

service that is representative of the TGA brand.”

COULD PHARMACIES OFFER THE MOBILITY TRADE A NEW REVENUE STREAM? A local pharmacist visiting this year’s Trade Days highlighted a challenge faced by pharmacies that could present mobility retailers and suppliers with an interesting opportunity to reach more customers. Speaking with THIIS, Hazel Guinea, a West Midlands’ Pharmacist, explained that as more members of the public are being encouraged to visit their local pharmacies to relieve pressures on GPs, the need for knowledge of products related to mobility and independent living is growing in the pharmacy sector. This has resulted in some pharmacies stocking smaller aids to daily living, however, Hazel explained

that for some of the bigger ticket mobility items, pharmacies lack the expertise or space to sell or stock these products. Hazel suggested there may be collaborative opportunities for mobility companies to work with community pharmacies who have access to many people that may well need mobility products. “It really would be worthwhile suppliers and retailers coming to see pharmacies and taking us through the availability of products in this area,” said Hazel. “We can signpost people who may have a need for them, as well as their carers, to your companies because whilst we do not have space and ability to stock these

products, it would be great to help assist the people asking for them.” As suppliers look for ways to increase their reach and mobility retailers explore new means of reaching local customers, visiting community pharmacies to discuss referral schemes or cross-marketing opportunities could prove a fruitful endeavour for companies in the mobility trade.

Bespoke seating solutions for your home and healthcare environments Luxury handcrafted furniture designed to the customer’s requirements

Contact us for your free brochure.

For more information call us or visit our website: | 71

Tel: 01384 567401


FROM THE FAR EAST TO THE EAST COAST Having recently moved elements of its Cabin Car Mk 2 production from the Far East to Lowestoft on east coast, Scooterpac was eager to inform dealers of improvements made to the unique mobility scooter, whilst also exhibiting its other products, at this year’s show.


ith no reps on the road, Josh Coles, Marketing Manager for Scooterpac, explained that the show provided the company with a perfect opportunity to take dealers through product developments which they may have been unaware of. “We understand that dealers are very busy and usually do not have the time to look through all the information we send out about product improvements, such as the changes we have made to our Canopy, so having that time to take them through

72 |

it on the stand is valuable,” he said. “They can test the products out, ask questions, raise concerns and receive immediate answers. On the other hand, it is a chance for us to hear the feedback from dealers and

understand their concerns, which is hard to glean without that human interaction. “As we sell a small range of innovative products, it makes this facetime with dealers all the

“It requires a bit more selling, but, as we all know, the sales that require a little more effort can be a lot more rewarding.” JOSH COLES

more important. We only sell three products, which may become four by next year, however, we are staying tight-lipped about that.” One product grabbing dealers’ attention was the Cabin Car Mk 2, an upgraded version of the original Cabin Car which is now assembled in and uses key components from the UK. “It is great to be able to tell dealers it is assembled in the UK,” commented Josh. “The fibreglass body and shell were moved from China to the UK and we are now working with a fairly local fibreglass specialist.” Discussing the decision to move source fibreglass from China to the UK, Josh emphasised that working with a local specialist provided the company more flexibility, shorter lead times and, importantly, quality control. “It allows us to have more knowledge on what we have in and we are able to ensure quality is being maintained far easier,” stated Josh.

“It also helps us control our lead times, leading to dealers and endusers receiving a better quality of product. “That is what Scooterpac has been working on over the last few months and we are seeing these new models coming through.” With enhanced quality and a raft of features, including reversing camera, USB Charging ports and a full internal heater, Josh says that whilst the Cabin Car is not the cheapest sell, it is worth the extra effort. “It looks unique and has very innovative features but also is not a cheap product. It requires a bit more selling, but, as we all know, the sales that require a little more effort can be a lot more rewarding,” finished Josh. “It is a high-ticket item so if a dealer sells one or two, they can really enjoy some good margins.”


WHAT EXHIBITORS THOUGHT… DEFAULT BLUE’S SCORES ON THE DOORS Attending Trade Days for the first time, Andrew Stafford, joint Managing Director from East Midlands-based creative agency Default Blue, looked to engage with companies in the mobility and independent living sector, exhibiting its marketing service. Looking back over the two days, the company gave its review of the event:


Show Organisation Ran pretty much like clockwork with good onsite support, as long as you found the time to action all the pre-show emails.


Visitor numbers Not as many people as we expected, but decent quality traffic to our stand and most people were very friendly.


Lead Generation Quality rather than quantity here as we generated a modest amount of seemingly good leads.


Value for Money We'll only be able to tell that in a few months’ time... Andrew Stafford delivering his ‘Sell More Stuff’ seminar

74 |

POSITIVE RECEPTION TO NEW PRODUCTS Karma Mobility has reported another successful Trade Days, showcasing several new products, including the second generation VIP2 folding tilt-in-space wheelchair, Ergo 115 Tall, 125 Tall and the Star 2 wheelchair


e were also delighted with how well received the latest additions to our product portfolio were, especially the VIP2 which received extremely positive feedback. Having an event solely targeted at the trade is great for us and over the course of the two days we met with many existing retailers from around the UK and also had the opportunity to engage with a significant number of potential new ones,” commented Mark Duffield, General Manager of Karma Mobility. The latest improvements to the Karma products have been borne

from customer and retailer feedback says the company, adding a raft of new features, such as improved recline positioning, as well as addressing users’ sliding concerns. Speaking to Mark at Trade Days, he highlighted the close relationship shared between Karma in the UK and Taiwan helps the company make quick, informed product changes. “We liaise with the General Manger in Taiwan, rather than working though third-parties,” explained Fred Duffield, Founder of Karma Mobility. “This means our thoughts, opinions and suggestions are fed directly to

General Manager Mark Duffield with his father and Karma Mobility founder Fred Duffield

the team working on the products, resulting in Karma being able to deliver quicker design changes and improvements into the market.” In addition, Mark confirmed that in the next 12-months, the market can expect new models coming out of Taiwain, including its new, lightweight eFlexx powerchair. Easy for users to disassemble and with the heaviest part weighing just 15kg, Mark says the new model will be one of the lightest in Karma’s range.

Champagne Campaign! Over the two-days, THIIS offered two lucky companies the opportunity to win a bottle bubbly by filling out a quick questionnaire. Selected at random at the close of the show, the winners are: JACQUELINE WILLIAMS Springhill Mobility LILLEE CAWTHRA Life and Mobility Solutions CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH! | 75

Danny Frendo from DF Mobility: Winner of Raptor from Pride


BIG WINNERS Tracy Street from Direct Mobility Supplies: Winner of Cabin Car from Scooterpac

76 |

Darren Evans from Ableworld: Winner of Raptor from Pride

Anthony Knights from Mobility North London: Winner of Quickie Q100 from Sunrise Medical | 77


BHTA CALLS ON THE INDUSTRY TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF TRADE-ONLY EVENT On the 7th and 8th October, 56 mobility and independent living exhibitors gathered at Trade Days in the NEC for two days of dedicated, face-to-face, trade-only relationship building and deal negotiating.


rade Day’s opened its doors for the fifth year and the show’s main association, BHTA, were proud to welcome 1035 senior leaders from mobility and independent living sector which represented a 15 percent increase in owner and director level visitors, re-affirming the power of direct conversations between dealers and suppliers. Carmela Coop-Rodia, Event Manager for Trade Days, commented: “It was great to see and hear so many positive conversations happening and deals being done the right way. Research tells us around 80,000 mobility scooters a year are sold in the UK, and through a burgeoning online market, sales are growing by up to 10 per cent a year. Online retail is growing because of the offers and substantially cheaper products needed to attract those sale, but that simply does not give consumers the same opportunities for the necessary user assessment and training that all stakeholders need! And it completely removes the relationship between a business and its customer.” She continued: “Face-to-face time with your customers not only gives everyone a competitive advantage, it will help see the UK market not only survive but thrive. Whether you’re a manufacturer or a dealer, it’s never been more important to come together at least once a year to reconnect as a community and Trade Days offers that perfect platform.”

78 |

Trade Days 2018 hosted Dealers Days with Sunrise and held its first ever auction with the likes of Sunrise, Osprey Sling Company, Langham GE, Sweetrich and Relync selling off products at great prices, proving that along with the voucher book show offers, it’s the place to see what’s new and get fully trained on the latest products but to also pick up exclusive rates and the odd bargain. Mandie Lavin, Director General of the BHTA, announced: “We are very much looking forward to carrying out an intense research project over the next few months to really find out what the show can do to support its community even further. “Part of that research includes an

open invitation for all stakeholders to join a constructive, complimentary strategy event for those who wish to join the BHTA and Trade Days team to talk about the industry and the show that supports its future. This is a chance for you to have your voice heard.” Finally, Carmela added: “It is so important that the industry pulls together and supports their only trade event to ensure its continued success for years to come.” Take the opportunity to shape the future of Trade Days. To register your interest to Carmela by Monday 12th November 2018, email

trusted recruiter

Product Adviser

Product Specialist

Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire Salary £26k - £32k, OTE £45k - £50k

Ireland - £35k, £47k OTE

Due to genuine continued growth they are now seeking a Product Adviser to promoted and sell their range of mobility/ disability products. Dealing with the NHS, local authorities, and schools. This will also involve carrying out product training and demonstrations with occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Mainly to the paediatric area. This is a great opportunity to work for one of the fastest growing companies in the sector. Candidates from background in sports science, occupational therapy or physiotherapy will be considered. As will those who have sold mobility/disability related products into a Local Authorities and the NHS. Those with paediatric product experience will be highly advantageous. Salary of between £26k-£32k depending on experience, with an OTE of £45k-£50k, company van, phone, tablet, pension. You will be paid commission on every sale! Confidentially send a copy of your CV to including job reference 483 to discuss further.

UK Based well established manufacturer and supplier of postural and seating aids to the paediatric market worldwide, having been established for over 30 years. As a product specialist you will be carrying out product demonstrations and advice on seating, standing, sleeping and other disabled aids across Irealand including both republic and Northern Ireland. Working closely with therapists to ensure the right suitability. You will be in charge of managing your own diary and using a local lock up for product demos. The territory was maintained for a very long period of time, so you will be expected to look at ways to grow the territory with some business development work. The candidate will have experience of working with similar product range ideally within paediatric market although not essential. Must be willing to cover the whole of Ireland. Ideally will have know the area and have contacts or experience of business development duties. Basic salary of £35k, £47k OTE quarterly commission structure, company car, phone, laptop, 33 days holiday. Confidentially send a copy of your CV to including job reference 482 to discuss further.

0333 0144 014 | 79


Wheelchair Therapist

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

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

At Enabled Living we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. We are a Council Owned company, providing Community Equipment, Sensory Services and more recently Wheelchair & Specialist Seating Services to residents of the London Borough of Newham. We are growing our Wheelchair & Specialist Seating service and are looking for talented people who are motivated to consistently deliver the best service for our customers, whilst demonstrating our values at all times.

• Are you caring, inspiring, approachable & forward thinking?

So if you want…

We are currently looking to recruit 2 Advanced Therapists/ Wheelchair & Seating Specialist, so if the above describes you, get in touch

• Do you have significant experience of working with people with long-term and deteriorating medical conditions and an understanding of their impact? • Do you have recent experience in postural management?

• to work in a thriving, vibrant and diverse area in east London • to work for a company that values its staff & encourages innovation and collaboration

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

Full product and demonstration training will be provided.

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

Available products to sell are...


Burnett Vacuum Support Posture Range

The Wheelchair and Specialist Seating Service aims to deliver high quality, preventative, customer focused assessments and services for the adults and children of Newham. We will make sure you have everything you need to do your job, and do it really well.

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

• Have you previously worked within a UK Wheelchair/ Specialist Seating Service?

As this role is for a ‘Sales Agent’, this is an commission only role, effectively you will be self-employed.

Other benefits include: • Competitive salary (in line with AfC band 7)

• excellent development opportunities

OTE £60,000-£80,000 dependent on selfgenerated appointments booked.

Seating, Bathing, Sleeping, Lumbar, Head, Therapy, T-Cushions Bath Buddy Inflatable Bath Lift Interested parties should contact Rachael Bacon at

• to be involved in shaping and developing a dynamic service

• Great benefits package (including Pension Scheme and payment of HCPC registration fees)

• to enjoy your time at work

• Excellent CPD opportunities To apply or for further information, please contact Fiona Suleman, Wheelchair Service Manager on 0203 3731834 or via email fiona. suleman@enabledlivinghealthcare.

Do you have what we need?

01268 983842

• Are you an experienced HCPC registered Clinical Scientist/ Occupational Therapist/ Physiotherapist?

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

Mobility Showroom Manager – Maidstone

Full-time Showroom Assistant – Maidstone

OTE £25k-£27k pa

OTE £21-23k pa

Position Type: Permanent

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

Planning day to day operations and reviewing results.

Obtaining, interpreting and acting upon sales information.

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

Managing and motivating the team to achieve sales targets.

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

Managing showroom stocks, layouts, pricing, and promotions.

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

Training, coaching and appraising staff.

Promoting the business by liaising and engaging with relevant local bodies

Skills: • • • • • • • • • • •

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

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at

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

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

Answering Showroom calls.

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

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

• •

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

• • • • • • •

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

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

Demonstrate products and services to existing and potential customers

Requirements: •

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

To apply: Send in your CV for the attention of Matthew Smith at

diary dates

Wheelchair & Seating Specialist An opportunity has arisen for an experienced Wheelchair & Seating Specialist to join our busy team in providing assessments & prescribing Wheelchairs to private customers across the South of England. This is an excellent opportunity to join a progressive market leader. Due to genuine growth in a new sector of our business we are looking for a dynamic person ideally with strong product knowledge to be fully responsible for the profitable development of the South of the UK. The ideal candidate would have experience in assessing and prescribing both Manual & Powered wheelchairs. Although support & training will be given you will need to have the ability to organise your own itinery to best manage the leads that will be supplied to you. What’s required from you? • • • • • • • • • • •

Full Driving Licence – preferably clean – with ability to undertake driving throughout the south of the UK. To be able physically and mentally to carry out all tasks associated with the role, as follows: Cope with unpredictable patients who may be physically or verbally abusive. Crouching, bending, kneeling and holding awkward postures for long periods. Assess, set up and demonstrate the use of specialised equipment. High level of concentration is required while administering and interpreting assessments. Close physical handling of patients with complex physical or medical conditions, with or without mechanical aids. Load equipment in/out of vehicle, usually without assistance. Occasional direct contact with body fluids and equipment that is soiled or contaminated. Work in domestic environments which may have poor lighting, smoky environment, etc. To be able to discuss and explain specific interventions to the patient (eg: whilst adjusting wheelchairs safely and efficiently to suit the User)

We offer a competitive salary with a bonus scheme, pension, complete with company vehicle, laptop, phone etc. To apply or for more information please confidentially email your CV or questions to

November 7, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) The Spa Hotel, Kent or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 28, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) Hilton Hotel, Newcastle or call Sally on 02921 900402 December 5, 2018 OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) Hilton Hotel, Southampton or call Sally on 02921 900402 January 28–31, 2019 Arab Health Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre February 6, 2019 Hallmark Hotel, Chester OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 March 14, 2019 QEF Kids Equipment Open Day QEF Mobility Services, Carshalton March 21, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Middle Coventry March 26 & 27, 2019 Naidex NEC April 17-18, 2019 Medtrade Spring Las Vegas www.medtrade. com April 24, 2019 Weetwood Hall, Leeds OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 April 31, 2019 Imperial Hotel, Torquay OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 March 29 30, 2019 Living Limitless Sandown Park, Surrey May 15-16, 2019 Med-Tech Innovation Expo 2019 NEC, Birmingham May 16, 2019 Kidz to Adultz South Farnborough International Centre June 12, 2019 Hallmark Hotel, Cambridge OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402

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

June 17-18, 2019 COT Annual Conference ICC Birmingham June 26 27, 2019 Health+Care Excel London www. July 4, 2019 Kidz to Adultz Wales & West Bristol. July 10, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Reading OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 July 15 17, 2019 Posture & Mobility Group Conference Telford International Centre, Shropshire July 14, 2019 28th Disability Awareness Day annual event Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington www. September 11, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Southampton OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) uk or call Sally on 02921 900402 September 18-21, 2019 Rehacare Dusseldorf October 6-7, 2019 Trade Days NEC October 9-10, 2019 The Care & Dementia Show NEC October 22, 2019 Hilton Hotel, Newcastle OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 November 6, 2019 The Spa Hotel, Kent OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402

December 4, 2019 St David’s Hotel, Cardiff OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference) or call Sally on 02921 900402 | 81


Training Diary If you are providing training for the trade, then simply send us the details of the course, the date, any costs, the venue and the contact for booking places and we’ll include it in the Diary. Email with any details you have. November

28th 2018 – Manchester Airport – £228

Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 7th November 2018 – The Spa Hotel, Kent – Free of charge

Sunrise Medical - JCM Technical Training – November 28th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 7th - The Spa Hotel, Kent

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - November 28th Hilton Gateshead, Newcastle

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

Simple Stuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 28th November 2018 – Gateshead Hilton, Newcastle – Free of charge

Jiraffe - Training for Life – Sleeping, Standing and Mobility – 6th November - Sheffield – FOC


Jiraffe - Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th November Sheffield – FOC Pride Mobility - Service Training – November 21st & 22nd – Bicester Sunrise Medical - JCM Postural Management Workshop: Specialist Seating – November 27th 2018 Sunrise Medical, Brierley Hill Accessible Aviation: in the cabin with disabilities – November 27th 2018 – Leeds - £114 Accessible Aviation : navigating the airport with disabilities – November

March Jiraffe - Training for Life – Sleeping, Standing and Mobility Course – 6th March - Sheffield – FOC Jiraffe - Training for Life – Seating and Toileting Course – 13th March Sheffield - FOC

Careflex - What A Difference A Chair Makes (OTAC) - December 5th Hilton Hotel Ageas Bowl, Southampton SimpleStuff Works - Measure, Position and Protect – 5th December 2018 – Hilton Hotel Ageas Bowl, Southampton – Free of charge

January Accessible Aviation: in the cabin with disabilities – January 10th 2019 – Leeds - £114

Contacts for bookings Pride Mobility – sales@pride-mobility. or contact: 01869 324600 Electric Mobility – Call 01460 258158 or email marketing@electricmobility. JCM – Contact Martyn Davis on

82 |

Careflex – Call Julieanne Fewings on 01626 831 843 or email julieanne. Disability Trading Company – John Balshaw – 01925 240064 – j.balshaw@ Jiraffe – call +44 (0)114 285 3376 or email

Simple Stuff Works – Simone McCarthy at Trainingadmin@ or call 01827 307870 QEF – Contact Marion D’Moirah on 0208 770 1151 or marion.dmoirah@


The new VIP 2 is the updated version of the VIP series of folding tilt in space wheelchairs, building on many years of experience of design and development. As well as 35 degree tilt it now has either fixed or adjustable recline.








It also now comes with an improved headrest design and a deeper seat.


a 35° Tilt-in-Space

a 30° Anti-Sliding Recline

a Foldable and Durable

Tilt-in-space system further enables attendant to tilt the chair up to 35 degrees, allowing user to change to the most comfortable position helping to reduce the potential of developing pressure ulcers.

Sliding has always been one of the greatest concerns for people in a standard reclining chair. The VIP2 solves this problem by locating the reclining pivot point of the chair close to the human hip joint, which synchronizes the motion of the body and the chair.

The VIP 2 is light and folds fitting easily into a car boot. The lateral push-bar strengthens the durability of this foldable chair and makes it easier to push the chair.



The UK’s leading range of mobility products since 1985




Profile for THIIS

THIIS November 2018  

November's issue includes a Trade Days special, THIIS examines national retailer Ableworld to see what sets it apart in the mobility sector...

THIIS November 2018  

November's issue includes a Trade Days special, THIIS examines national retailer Ableworld to see what sets it apart in the mobility sector...

Profile for thiis