THIIS December 2022

Page 12

Also inside... Expert bed and mattress recommendations Stiltz Homelifts' on why 2023 is set to be a game-changer Retailers' Choice: Product of the Year Awards 2022 ISSUE 291 DECEMBER 2022 TRADE MAGAZINE How this Suffolk-based retailer aims to deliver value when it matters Striving for better
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From the editor


Last month's Trade Thoughts feature brought forward some interesting thoughts from retailers in the industry about how they liaise with suppliers, and whether they have noticed a reduced amount of contact with supplier representatives over the years. This issue, suppliers have their say on the topic (p40).

Inside, Darren Legg, Managing Director of DIETZ Mobility UK (p18) discusses his business's latest product launches. 2022 has seen successful partnerships with the likes of WheelAir and Motability, and 2023 looks to be just as exciting.

Another company looking forward to what the new year brings is Stiltz Homelifts (p34). The firm has invested heavily in R&D over the past year, which is instrumental in the products of tomorrow.

In his latest Let's Get it Clear article (p42), Dr Barend ter Haar from BES Healthvcare explores the practicalities of travelling by air with a wheelchair, and in particular, access around airports and planes.

Dominic Goldsmith, Director of Freedom Mobility (p22), discusses how his firm's pop-up shops at open air markets across Suffolk offer a great opportunity to get face-to-face with customers.

THIIS is always keen to hear from retailers with any news to share, so please don't hesitate to get in touch, using the contact details below.

As 2022 draws to a close, I want to thank our advertisers for their continued support, as well as our contributors, who give up their time to share their expertise with others in the industry.

From the whole team at THIIS Magazine, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. / 3 WELCOME Stay up to date... @wwwthiiscouk THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, Office 404, Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 E Smithfield, Whitechapel, London E1W 1AW BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions. Inside... Features 18 Trade Talk: DIETZ Mobility UK 22 Retailer Spotlight: Freedom Mobility 34 Supplier Spotlight: Stiltz Homelifts 40 Trade Thoughts: Retailer communication Regulars 04 News, deals and people 08 Retailers' Choice Product of the Year 2022 42 Let's Get it Clear: Travelling by air with a wheelchair 46 Buyers' Guide to beds and mattresses Editor / Liane McIvor 07917 784929 / Advertising / Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 / Sub-editor / Sarah Sarsby TRADE MAGAZINE
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News, deals & people

Festive canes

This Christmas, retailers can whisk their customers away to the snowy slopes with this cheerful skiing-themed adjustable cane from Classic Canes.

Featuring traditional chalets, pointy mountains, fir trees and even bagels, it has great charm and will make an original and practical Christmas present. Other stocking fillers from Classic Canes include lamp attachments for canes, wallets for folding sticks, specialist ferrules and cane clips as well as a vast array of walking sticks and folding canes in many colours and patterns. Whoever said mobility aids were dull?

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


Healthcare technology firm Tunstall Healthcare has opened a new hub in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, where it is recruiting for a range of positions. Quality and testing, software development and business analysis roles are available to complement the existing tech teams based in Yorkshire, Sweden, Germany and Spain. As well as mid-senior tech roles, there will be opportunities for graduates and apprentices to join the firm as part of Tunstall’s drive to mentor and train the very best talent in tech.

Introducing Vivid.Care

After 50 years in business, family-run healthcare equipment supplier Yorkshire Care Equipment has unveiled a new name and corporate logo as part of an extensive rebranding initiative.

Tristan Hulbert, Managing Director, said “Over the past three years, we’ve invested heavily in staff and new product development, and we now have our seating, falls and rehabilitation products in homes and hospitals across the UK and abroad.

“We’ve become a key equipment supplier to the NHS, and whilst the original Yorkshire Care Equipment name has served us well, it no longer reflects the range of important work we do in the healthcare sector.”

Vivid.Care will continue to work with healthcare professionals to develop further products, with new specialist chair launch announcements due to be announced within the next few months.


Stairlift manufacturer Stannah has acquired 3D Ply, one of its long-time suppliers, as part of a strategic investment that will allow for growth and an increase in Stannah’s level of service to its customers.

3D Ply manufactures laminated three-dimensional formed plywood, solid wood components and veneered panels. The business, which employs around 20 people, mainly makes seat frames for most of Stannah’s stairlift products. Stannah will retain the 3D Ply name and the company will continue to operate as an independent unit at its Blandford site.

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in brief...

Bath accessibility made easy

Mobility equipment specialist Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has announced the launch of the latest addition to its Bathroom Safety range, the Bellavita NOVA Bathlift.

The bestselling Bellavita was originally launched in the UK in 2008. The new model includes all the features that made its predecessor such a success as well as a host of new innovations.

The Bellavita NOVA features a patented removable backrest, which when the bathlift is in its lowest position can be removed by a carer or family member. This enables the user to enjoy the full length of the bath, for comfort and even deeper water immersion.

It also has a new patented dual column to ensure optimum stability when rising and lowering across the full height range, plus providing excellent stability for transfers on and off the bathlift.

The Bellavita NOVA’s backrest reclines to a maximum angle of 50 degrees, with a low seat height of 6.5cm and a maximum seat height of 48cm. It is very lightweight at only 9.5kg without the handset and has a generous weight capacity of 170g.


The Business Disability Forum is is looking to hear from organisations that have used technology to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people, in the workplace, as a consumer or in wider society.

The Disability Smart Awards 2023 opened for nominations on 1 December, are free to enter and open to UK and global organisations of any size in any sector.

There are 10 Disability Smart award categories this year. These include Disability Smart Technology, Accessible Built Environment and Inclusive Workplace Experience. There is also a new award for this year – Disability Smart Inclusive

eFoldi partners with German powerchair specialist

Portable mobility specialist eFOLDi has partnered with Elchtec, a prominent distributor of mobility equipment in Germany. The commercial arrangement focuses on its popular ‘Power Chair’ model (pictured below) and will provide eFOLDi with invaluable access to the world’s second largest healthcare market.

Elchtec, which has its headquarters in Lindlar, about 30 kilometres east of Cologne, is a specialist in powered wheelchairs within the German market. The business distributes a broad portfolio of mobility products through a network of local resellers across Germany.

The Elchtec business was first established as the exclusive local distributor for the Swedish-made Volaris rollator range, but it has since broadened its portfolio into many other complementary products, following a change in ownership structure and launch of the Elchtec company brand.

Product Design. There are three additional awards for organisations registered for the Government's Disability Confident employer scheme. These are for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work, Impact and Small Business.

This might be through an innovative use of existing technology or through the development of a new digital or assistive technology product that has been created within the last 18 months. Nominees are encouraged to visit for further information.

The closing date for all nominations is 5pm on Thursday 19 January 2023. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 27 April 2023. / 5

RMS obtains rights to Quest 88 products

Mobility equipment supplier RMS has obtained exclusive import and distribution rights for the entire portfolio of Quest manufactured products for customers in the UK and Ireland from Quest 88, after it ceased trading after 35 years of business.

RMS is currently offering the Kaye Walker (pictured), which it is importing from Kaye America on an exclusive distribution deal for the UK and Ireland. These are available to order now for delivery in the New Year.

Over the last 30 years, the Kaye

Walker has helped redefine assisted walking across the world, with its ability to improve posture and walking pattern.

The therapy benches that Quest 88 manufactured will hopefully be offered soon, RMS states.

The tricycles and standers that Quest 88 used to manufacture will be discontinued for now, as RMS has a portfolio of products that it believes are better and fairer in price. RMS encourages Quest 88 customers to get in contact to see what it can offer as alternatives to these products.

Ableworld sets its sights on new Berkshire superstore

Mobility retailer Ableworld is set to expand its UK store number with a new Mobility and Stairlift superstore in Newbury, Berkshire.

The new store will be located close to its existing Reading store to give a stronger mobility presence in the Berkshire area.

As with its existing 38 stores, the Newbury-based store will include the vast range of Ableworld’s mobility products, from mobility scooters and powerchairs, to smaller daily living aids and continence care. There will

also be in-house engineers available to install, service and repair stairlifts and mobility equipment.

Ableworld is finalising the lease on the Berkshire property, with the set-up teams ready to then progress with the development, with the aim to open early in spring. There is also another potential store opening on the horizon for the mobility retailer, with plans to expand its presence around its existing Gloucester store. This will allow it to reach customers further afield around the Cirencester and Cheltenham areas.

Baffin Technology launches the Travel SIT

Mobility equipment supplier Baffin Technology Systems has announced the launch of the Travel SIT, a transportable seating system designed to stabilise a child when in a variety of sitting and lying positions.

The Travel SIT’s back rest is made up of four adjustable trunk supports, which work in conjunction with two safety belts and an anatomical headrest to support the child. The seat itself consists of six supports which stabilise the child and can be adjusted to the width of the seat.

Additional features include an adaptable abductor to assist with lower limb abduction, pelvic belts and a lounger frame, which enables the Travel SIT to be used at ground level. Available in sizes small and medium with a height of 70cm to 105cm and 95cm to 125cm respectively, the Travel SIT is ideal for most small children. Weighing just 3.7kg, the Travel SIT can be effortlessly set up in under 30 seconds, and when not in use it can be stored and carried in its own lightweight backpack.

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Wondering which products have impressed retailers most this year? Business leaders from across the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out above all others for them this year…



so many products in the mobility, assistive tech and independent living market, knowing which solutions stand above the rest can be tricky.
to identify which products stole the show in 2022, retailers from across the UK share with THIIS which products stood out for them as the best in class. Be it for innovation, consistent quality, supplier support and a host of other reasons, discover which products retail experts highlighted as being the favourites of the year.
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Retailers Choice: Vippi Boot Scooter from Electric Mobility

“It’s been a busy year for us here at Ableworld, and we’ve seen our fair share of great products! But there’s one that has really stood out, the Vippi Boot Scooter by Electric Mobility.

“We’ve watched this product get customer after customer on their feet and into the world of independence again. The Vippi is lightweight, easy-touse, and durable. It’s perfect for customers who have any mobility issues or who just want to take a stroll around the neighbourhood without having to worry about getting tired or falling over.

“The Vippi is smart and easily transportable, being able to easily dismantle into five parts with a simple take-apart mechanism for transportation, with the single heaviest part weighing only 15kg. The contrasting stitching on the softly padded seat provides a smart finish complemented by a stylish black tiller with an on-trend pop of one of three colours available.

“Over the past year, the Vippi has performed exceptionally well for us, and Electric Mobility have been great with meeting our stock demands. We look forward to continuing to promote this fantastic product in the coming year.”

Retailers Choice: Mark II Bigfoot Half Step with Handles

from Gordon Ellis

“One of our top picks for 'product of the year' goes to the new Mark II Bigfoot Half Step with Handles.

“To be truthful, there haven’t been many standout products this year, and certainly no new product innovations spring to mind, largely down to a lack of R&D investment in bringing new products for this sector to the market.

“Gordon Ellis have improved their Mark I Bigfoot Half Step by increasing the maximum user weight the step will take (now 220kg/34 stone), and they have changed the design of the fixed grips on the step to provide the best possible slip resistance.

“The step helps immensely by halving the height difference between the door and the ground, allowing people to step down without too much effort, before attempting the next step down to the ground.

“It is ideally placed outside a front or back door, and the handles (one or two can be simply added) on each side provide a further steadying aid for those stepping outside or going back indoors.

“We all know how important going outside is for our mental health and also for some form of exercise. If people struggle to get outside, it impacts their health in all sorts of ways, and the Bigfoot Half Step from Gordon Ellis certainly helps to facilitate this activity.

“Its stylish design fits in well with most outdoor spaces, so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. One of our most popular mobility aids of 2022.”

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Ellie Emerton Senior Marketing Manager at Ableworld
Julia Phipps Owner of The Ability Superstore RETAILERS’ CHOICE PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2022
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Retailers Choice: Magic 360 Powerchair

from Sunrise Medical

“At Lifestyle & Mobility we always seek products that are both innovative and have the ability to enhance customers lives. This year we haven’t seen many new products come to the market, however one supplier which hasn’t stood still is Sunrise Medical. Its new Magic 360 is a mid-wheel drive powerchair like none other on the market. Its unique three set of wheels options allows customers to effectively have three powerchairs in one, just by changing the wheels.

“Wheel set one allows the customer to have a powerchair that is compact for indoors use. Wheel set two allows customers to have more of a hybrid use, more outdoor and indoor use.

“Wheel set three gives customers the ability to have full all terrain outdoor use. This makes the chair so versatile to the customers’ environmental needs. Often customers that like going off-road will typically purchase two chairs. Not only does this have a huge extra cost element to it. It also means,

Retailers Choice: Palma Vita Wash & Dry Toilet from Closomat

“Although TPG are a multidisciplined retailer, with offerings across stairlifts, hoists, beds, mobility, baths and toilets, pressure care and seating, our choice of stand out product for 2022 would be the Palma Vita Wash & Dry Toilet from Closomat.

“Without doubt a long-term front runner in the wash & dry toilet marketplace, but with the realisation of its importance in the day to day living needs of those in need of assistance in that area, it has stood out as a tremendously reliable product.

“It cannot be underestimated what impact it has on an individual’s mental wellbeing to be able to retain their privacy and dignity

whilst carrying out the most basic of toileting functions. The support with both sales and technical from Closomat has been great and any issues have been resolved straight away.

“Whilst the product is not new, there is some real justification in the old saying: ‘If it is not broken, don’t fix it’!”

more space required at home, then remembering to get both chairs charged and maintained. It’s also a chair that offers a premium comfort suspension with Anti-Pitch technology.

“Traditionally when a powerchair comes to a halt on a slope, the stopping motion of the chair will lurch slightly forwards. That’s a problem the Magic 360 has eliminated with anti-pitch technology, so you’re kept safe and stable in your seat.

“It’s for all these reasons why the Magic 360 is our favourite product this year.”

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Darren Macey Business Development Manager at Lifestyle and Mobility
Alastair Gibbs Managing Director of TPG DisableAids
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Retailers Choice: Space LX Rollator from Rehasense

“Walking aids have continued to be popular this year, and the one that has stood out for us has been the Space LX rollator from Rehasense. It is a high quality rollator with a good selection of options, such as a padded seat or tray, which suits a wide client base. It is compact and folds easily with a unique locking system.

“The medium version is only 5.8kg, with the large slightly heavier at 5.9kg. As we are a small retailer that doesn’t hold much stock, availability is key, and we have found most items are usually in stock and dispatched the next working day (or same day if before 1pm).

“We have had a limited number of warranty claims which have been dealt with efficiently which ensures that we keep our customers happy! Regular visits from their rep ensures we are aware of new products and this helps to keep our knowledge up to date.”

Retailers Choice: Freecurve Stairlift from Handicare

“Mobility Scotland’s stairlift division scaled up significantly over 2022 and a fundamental reason for that was our close working relationship with the team at Handicare and having access to their world class products.

“When it comes to curved stairlift options the outstanding Freecurve has been an integral part of our proposition and has delivered value, reliability, and stunning aesthetics.

“The whole team have great admiration and respect for this lift; our surveyors and consultants enjoy working with it as it offers many value adding options the customers love and our engineers rave about its ease of install, servicing and its overall reliability.

“The Freecurve has many unique features and one is the rail itself, this elegant mono rail design not only looks fantastic but its slim design helps maximise space on the staircase and is unobtrusive when in place, the rail also comes in different colours which will enable the customer to tailor the look to complement their décor.

“The Freecurve, as you would expect, has all the power features and offers some brilliant options when it comes to the seat and movement. The luxurious, soft padded upholstery guarantees a very pleasant seating experience coupled to the smoothest of the journey due to a precision built rack and pinion mechanism. The seat can operate in the standard position with your back to the wall or our downward facing seat positioned at 45 degrees to the wall.

“All this, coupled with Handicare’s ongoing support and service, ensures the Freecurve always delivers.”

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Retailers Choice:

Dorchester Riser Recliner from Sitting Pretty at Pride Mobility

“At Thistle Help Limited, we all love the Sitting Pretty range of Riser Recliner chairs from Pride Mobility. We particularly love the Dorchester model and our customers love this too!

“We have sold a large amount of the Dorchester Premier Dual Motor Lift & Rise chairs in 2022, making it our best seller. This chair comes in three different sizes – petite, standard and grande. “It can be ordered in either fabric, faux or real leather and there is a wide variety of colours to suit your décor. The premier model has the functions to give further lumber support and head support at the press of a button.

“This chair has a classic but stylish design and comes in a waterfall back or a lateral back. The lateral back is perfect if you suffer from back pain as it gives you more support.

“When customers visit our showroom they try various chairs but more often than not, they choose the Dorchester.

“Not only do we love this chair, but we have the best support from Gareth Allmark our Area Sales Representative from Pride Mobility. He is always on-hand to support us, whether it be to get updates on stock or product knowledge training. He regularly gets in touch and visits us at our showroom. Having a good support from him gives us confidence in selling this range of chairs.

“We look forward to 2023 to continue working with Pride Mobility in supplying this great range of chairs.”

Retailers Choice: Excel Galaxy II Mobility Scooter from Van Os Medical

“We get a lot of customers wanting or needing a scooter that ticks a lot of boxes. The Van Os Excel Galaxy II Class 3 mobility scooter does just that.

“With a travel range of up to 35 miles, good ground clearance and large wheels it is a versatile machine. People comment on the comfort offered by the wellpadded and supportive captain’s seat, and that the scooter offers a very smooth and sturdy ride, making them feel safe. We’ve tried both the pneumatic and solid tyre models – both are as comfortable as each other – that’s the opinion of customers as well as City Mobility staff.

“It’s a large scooter but people of all shapes and sizes seem to be able to make adjustments to make it just right for them and not feel overwhelmed by its size. We have town-based customers who use it around the shops and on pavements as well as those who live in more rural areas using it on rougher paths and tracks – it copes well with a variety of terrains which is a big advantage in the Scottish Highlands!

“It is a smart looking machine that offers attractive colour choices that are less commonly seen on many other mobility scooters. A large headlight, clear digital display and straightforward control panel layout add to its appeal. The Excel Galaxy II has a lot to offer.”

Claire Stewart Sales Administrator at City Mobility
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Trade Talk


“Our rebranding to DIETZ Mobility UK has brought more clarity for our dealers and therapists especially as we look to grow our range of products that we offer from the complete DIETZ Group.

“As we are starting to expand out into manual wheelchairs and rollators to compliment the powered wheelchair range, the ‘Mobility’ element of our brand becomes more important.”


“Albeit it’s still early days, the partnership with WheelAir has been a success. We continue to have great interest and feedback from dealers, therapists and end users who try the system on our chairs.”


“We were hopeful that being accredited on the Motability scheme would give us greater reach into the marketplace. This has definitely happened and very quickly since the chairs became available. It has allowed our current dealers to be able to offer our chairs to a further user group and has also attracted

some new dealers to try us out.

“We are also very proud that we have been able to pass Motability’s stringent checks to become an accredited supplier to the scheme.

“Our SANGO electric wheelchairs have proven themselves to be robust,

Established in 2017, European manufacturer DIETZ Power develops powered wheelchairs that are adaptable, right down to the last detail, for people with limited mobility. THIIS spoke to Darren Legg, Managing Director of DIETZ Mobility UK, its exclusive UK and Ireland distributor, to find out more…

durable and easily readjusted to suit changes in different needs. This aligns perfectly with the worry-free mobility that both ourselves and Motability aim to offer.”


“We have a number of projects about to happen and over the coming months. The first is to launch the CoMoveIT head and foot control system in combination with our chairs into the UK. This will happen over a couple of days where we have

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Q&A with Darren Legg, Managing Director of DIETZ Mobility UK…
DIETZ Mobility UK are looking to extend the product reach of the Taima rollator The CoMoveIT head and foot control system
“We have a number of projects about to happen and over the coming months. The first is to launch the CoMoveIT head and foot control system…”

a number of dealers in to go through the system and for them to try it themselves.

“The next development will be distribution of the DIETZ Group range of Taima rollators, currently available through Able2. We are working closely with Able2 to support the current supply and also find ways to expand the product reach and dealer network. There have also been a number of dealers asking us to expand on our current off-road capabilities for powered wheelchairs, so watch this space...”


“The CoMoveIT Smart system is a head-foot steering system that is mounted on the back of an electric-powered wheelchair and was developed for people with severe cerebral palsy (CP), more specifically severe quadriplegic spasticity, dystonia and/or choreoathetosis

“It has a back, left and right pads which you push against with your head. It can have foot pads as well if required.

“Inside, there are sensors that interpret movement and translate this into a smooth driving control of the wheelchair. The system automatically calibrates itself to movements and adapts as needed.”


“We look to support our dealers through building trusting relationships. Therefore, we

have a clearly defined culture within our business that brings clarity to everyone involved. Our dealers find that they can trust us to maintain the highest levels of integrity and empathy whilst being compelled to deliver a distinguished level of support for them.

“Our dealer network continues to grow, and the addition of the further product lines will continue this expansion. We will of course only add likeminded dealers and where there would be no conflict with our current network.”


“Overall our SANGO powered wheelchair range has produced great results and, in particular, the advanced and slimline models. Reviews we get from dealers, therapists and users tell us that the chairs are very easy to work with, are very robust yet comfortable and offer a great balance between cost and functionality available.”


“As mentioned previously, we will be increasing our product range that we can offer. This will mean a number of launch events and roadshows that we do, as well as an increase in attendance at other exhibitions.”

“Our SANGO electric wheelchairs have proven themselves to be robust, durable and easily readjusted to suit changes in different needs”
The advanced SANGO powered wheelchair has produced great results for DIETZ Mobility

This year, we have changed lives for the better together, and next year we’ll help more people with our growing product range including stairlifts, platform lifts and homelifts from the Savaria family.

We want to thank you, our dedicated partners, for your continued commitment to helping customers stay in the homes they love during 2022.

Speak to your BDM to learn more or call TPS on 0844 225 3121 Bigger, Better, Stronger Looking Forward to Growing Together in 2023

Freedom Mobility: More than the sum of its parts

Freedom Mobility is a rapidly growing mobility business with big growth ambitions in the Norfolk and Suffolk regions. Dominic Goldsmith, Managing Director at Freedom Mobility, talks to THIIS about his growing business, and why, if the parts he needs don't come in, he will always make the product work for the customer…

Dominic Goldsmith, Managing Director at Freedom Mobility


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Freedom Mobility markets a range of new and nearly-new mobility equipment, including a variety of branded scooters as well as stairlift solutions. Based in the seaside town of Lowestoft in Suffolk , the business is fast gaining a reputation for delivering a fresh approach for customers, promoting a business ethos that centres on supplying highspecification products, alongside exceptional customer service.

The east coast business operates two separate divisions consisting of showroom sales and a service operation.

Dom Goldsmith, Managing Director at Freedom Mobility, comments: “Freedom Mobility has grown fairly quickly over the last few years, and this is partly down to a very successful field sales operation which performs very well, alongside our showroom sales and servicing business.

“Customers really benefit from hands-on time with our products in a variety of retail settings. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that customers are keen to interact with suppliers in a variety of different ways, both online and face-to-face. Building trust is key and relationships can’t always be forged easily at arm’s-length. Our ultimate aim is to ensure every one of our customers

is matched with the right product, but we are also focused on delivering exceptional value for our customers too.”


So how did he get here? Dom had previously been working for a mobility company in Great Yarmouth with his former business partner at Style Mobility. When they went their separate ways two and a half years ago Dom set up his own business.

It was the same principles as before, says Dom, but his entrepreneurial mindset was set on doing things slightly differently and making his business stand out. “We’re a bit more proactive than your normal mobility company,” he says. “The quality of service we provide is higher, the quality of the product is higher and the price should be lower.”

It’s clear Dom has a real passion for working in the mobility industry, an opportunity which came purely by chance. A former restaurant manager and nightclub doorman for several years, Dom spotted a job in a local newspaper. He wasn’t sure exactly what the company was – he supposed it could have been a call centre – but it turned out to be a mobility company. Dom has fond memories of his 18 months spent there. “It was a decent place to work and the people were

alright, but as time went on I thought there were certain things I could perhaps do differently.” He explains that the business concerned was in the process of expanding and focused more around supply into the trade.

Dom knew he was jumping in at the deep end by setting up his own business but he was set on learning and developing his knowledge of the mobility industry as much as possible.

Dom explains: “I went to all the trade shows, read all the magazines, spoke to as many people as I could, and learnt what I needed to learn. You’re always learning. Even today, when we find something that’s not going so well we swap it, change it around, put a system in place and move forward.”


The team at Freedom Mobility is based at an industrial unit with an office/reception facility. As Dom explains, customers can come in and sit down in the comfortable

Customers are given a brief assessment in the showroom reception
“Building trust is key and relationships can’t always be forged easily at arm’s-length”

reception, where they are given a brief assessment before being shown through to the showroom.

“We understand that it’s a big thing for a customer to get to the point of coming to the showroom in the first place,” Dom says, which is why he and the staff try and take the stressful element out as much as possible for customers and go out of their way to make the experience pleasant and easier.

He adds: “It’s a bit of a minefield if you’re new to mobility as to what to buy and what not to buy, especially with all the information available. We ask several leading questions that should result in us being able to recommend to the customer two or three contrasting products that can then make their life easier.”

Dom’s approach has seen the business experience a period of sustained growth. Targeting mainly customers in East Anglia, the dealer’s clientele is predominantly elderly, but it is also very diverse, he says. One of the main reasons for this is due to its presence as a mobile mobility shop at

open air markets in towns across the region, which provides a good stream of leads. “It gives us the chance to go out and actively speak to customers,” states Dom.

“They might be people who are on scooters already or we might have customers who stop by and state that they have perhaps been looking online and are not sure where to go.”

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic obviously hit the business hard, Dom recalls, as the open markets were closed for a period. Says Dom: “Covid for us was a lot different to more established retailers. Due to what wasn’t a particularly amicable separation from my business partner before, it didn’t leave me with a lot of capital. I had to carry on working and adapt to the situation.”

Dom explains: “During lockdown, stairlifts, wheelchairs and scooters were still a necessity in the community so our local MP helped us in being recognised as an ‘essential business’ so that we could still work and carry on. We obviously ensured that we were taking the necessary

precautions when dealing with the public, such as masks, sanitisers, and so on.”

Another challenge, with a global shipping crisis going on in the background, was the delays in new stock coming over from China. This became more of an issue for the team than Covid itself, Dom says, but the business adapted. He continues: “If we can’t get new stock we sell reconditioned mobility products, and use our engineers and valetors to get products up to standard.”

Needless to say, the business went straight back to the markets as soon as it was able. Since then, the footfall

“We understand that it’s a big thing for a customer to get to the point of coming to the showroom in the first place”
The showroom features a range of mobility scooters from leading brands
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into the showroom has been good. Says Dom: “We don’t get a lot of passing trade anyway but footfall in terms of markets has been excellent, going from zero to flat-out. We tend to get a good quality of customer as they tend to come find us and they will often leave with something.”


During periods where there was a lack of stock coming in from overseas Dom recalls some frustrating times with certain suppliers. He explains: “A lot of the time the retailers are given empty promises but in fact the supplier doesn’t really know itself. A bit of honesty from suppliers would have kept some of the deals we had with customers in place.

“We lost a lot of money when suppliers promised us products which didn’t turn up. We kept putting one customer off until they changed their mind and went somewhere else. If

the supplier had been honest and said it was going to be three months, we could have lent the customer a scooter for three months or sold them something else.”

Dom says that they don’t expect anything to come in on time now, so if they order products in, they give the customer a longer lead time. “We don’t want to tell them something that’s not going to happen,” he says.

As a business prepared to go the extra mile, if ordered parts don’t turn up, Dom says that he and the team will set out to make the product work anyway. “We will re-build the gearboxes or the post bearings. We will weld things and we will manufacture stuff ourselves whenever we can,” he states.

One supplier which Freedom Mobility is delighted to be working with is eFOLDi, a supplier of the Lite mobility scooter and folding Power Chair with attendant controls.

The team at Freedom Mobility came upon the supplier after an elderly customer asked them to collect and sell her eFOLDi Lite as she was too frail to use it. Says Dom: “When we brought it back to the showroom we were impressed with how lightweight and portable it was. We had a play about with it and thought we should try and sell them. Tim Ross [National Sales Manager at eFOLDi] came down

28 /
Tim Ross from eFOLDi with Dom Goldsmith and associates from Freedom Mobility at Naidex
“You’re always learning. When we find something that’s not going so well we swap it, change it around, put a system in place and move forward”
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and did a demo of the products and we were really impressed.”

Freedom Mobility has since spent some time working with its products closely to understand just how versatile and user friendly they really are, says Dom.

“It’s not just the product but the personal service is very good also. Tim and the rest of the staff tend to get things over quickly. They’re the most reliable company at the minute in terms of supply.”

There has always been a battle for the lightest folding scooter, says Dom, but whether a competing product is half a kilo or a kilo lighter it isn’t enough to make a difference considerably.

“I think because eFOLDi was built from the ground up to be what it is rather than adapting its products from older models; it does its job really well.

“It supplies stable well-thought-out products and we don’t get a great deal of problems with them.”

Another product which is a bestseller for Freedom Mobility is The Dorchester rise and recline chair from Pride Mobility.

Says Dom: “We don’t do a massive range of rise and recline chairs because it confuses people, but the Dorchester five-motor chair is fantastic, so we sell a lot of those.”

It’s a well made chair, Dom explains. “It’s got more adjustment for the customer, and they don’t have to

use cushions and pillows in addition to using it. There is a wide range of fabrics for it as well.”

By sticking to the one product means that Freedom Mobility becomes an expert in it in terms of selling and repairing it. “Reputation is important to us,” says Dom. “It’s important that we know the customer’s going to get a good product and be happy as well.”


Freedom Mobility in the process of embracing e-commerce. “Everyone’s online now and we have to follow in that respect,” says Dom.

Scott Smith, Sales and Marketing Director for Freedom Mobility, who has been with the business from the start, has been busy photographing around 100 mobility scooters for the website.

Says Dom: “We will start putting them on eBay initially, and then they’ll go on the ecommerce website, which will be ready soon.”

There are challenges when dealing with customers this way, Dom acknowledges, but all products are given a strict pre-delivery inspection check, he says, before they go out. New batteries are put into all reconditioned products, with new chargers also supplied, so that there is a reduced risk of anything going wrong.

An engineer/driver is on hand all of the time. Says Dom: “If we encounter

a problem we look to find a solution and put a system in place to prevent it happening again.”

There is no limit on where customers are based, explains Dom. “We use a pallet company to enable products to be sent safely anywhere in the country for a reasonable price.” Dom says that they rarely get any issues, but if a problem happens and they are too far away to fix it they will work with a mobility company local to the customer to get it sorted.

Freedom Mobility has a large unit but Dom admits that the business is outgrowing it quicker than they had anticipated. The unit has installed a pallet rack and a fork lift to store another level of stock, and Dom says that they also use an additional storage unit close by. Dom says that the plan is to buy a new, larger premises in a couple of years.

He is expecting to be kept busy during the winter with repair work. Tyre punctures from thorns and misused batteries left out in the cold become more of an issue in the colder months, but summertime is the biggest time for sales.

As for what he hopes 2023 will bring, Dom says: “More online sales hopefully! We just want to continue to improve on the level of service and quality we offer customers.”

The business takes it mobile shop to open air markets across Suffolk
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as seen


Stiltz Homelifts: Why 2023 will be a game-changer



“There is great synergy between TGA and Stiltz; we both have the same robust approach to excellence in customer service and provision of

enabling products which combine form and function. The relationship has started well with TGA providing two WHILL C2 compact and manoeuvrable wheelchairs for Stiltz showrooms in Wokingham and Kingswinford.

“We’re very grateful for this as it helps customers visualise how wheelchairs work with our lifts. Our respective marcomms teams are still discussing the finer details of the plan for 2023 but we will be working

Based in Kingswinford West Midlands, homelifts manufacturer Stiltz Homelifts has firmly established itself as a globally-recognised brand, with its products available in 37 countries. The firm continues to enjoy fast growth all around the world, and has spent the last year researching customers needs as it looks to work on the next generation of homelifts. THIIS chats to Mike Lord, Chairman and CEO at Stiltz Homelifts, to find out more…

closely with TGA especially when talking to the healthcare professional and trade audiences.

“We’ll be sharing each other’s socials to our own followers and plan to link up at trade exhibitions and CPD presentations. We will also be considering joint Occupational Therapist ‘Lunch ‘n Learn’ opportunities and our assessors will be sharing best practice with each other as well as with OTs and trade partners."

Mike with the hugely successful Trio+ Homelift in the background
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WHAT DO YOU THINK WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR STILTZ IN 2022?  “The main highlight for me in 2022 was being able to get back onto an even keel after the disruptive madness that was Covid. It was good to get back out and see the staff and dealers across the UK and also finally be able to travel and reconnect with colleagues in the US and with European partners.

“For the business, the highlight has been our continued fast growth around the world, the successful work we’ve achieved within R&D on moving towards the next generation of homelifts as well as the rapid expansion of our team, resulting in the great bunch of people we now have working at Stiltz. This has helped not just the business grow, but also helped less able customers regain that all important in-home independence.”


“Stiltz customers tend to have strong familial ties and feedback from our Homelift Advisors indicates adult children are at times consulted during the decision-making process. However, because our customers tend to profile younger than the average stairlift purchaser, they are often still

a couple and will make the decision between themselves on what works best for their joint lifestyle.”


“Stiltz take great care when speaking with customers at the initial point of enquiry to make sure their expectations are managed, and any concerns are fully addressed. We explain a Homelift Advisor will visit,

and we also explain the process of what happens once they place an order. The Homelift Advisor reiterates the process when they attend the appointment. Customers are reassured to know our builders and installers – as well as our Homelift Advisors – are all employed by Stiltz. This provides peace of mind and makes all our teams accountable to the business as well as to the customer.”


“We carried out research work during 2022 and this provided valuable insight for our brand and product teams. The findings confirmed our suspicions that the trend is for consumers to continue to be demanding when it comes to how their accessibility products look, and how easy they are to use. We now have over 12 years of experience in

“Consumers continue to be demanding when it comes to how their accessibility products look, and how easy they are to use”
Mike Lord together with the other UK-based Board of Directors Mike in conversation with Srujan Raavi, Stiltz Group Logistics Manager
Wishing all our partners a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year From everyone at Access BDD

developing this category and our new generation of lifts takes into account everything we have learned.”


“The product with real, enduring popularity is the Trio+, our wheelchair-accessible lift. Many customers genuinely plan for all eventualities, and it makes sense for them to go for the larger lift model to factor in the potential of eventual wheelchair use.

“The Trio+ is the same width as the Duo+ with only the length of the car being greater. And of course, the clear sides make the lift car seem far less obtrusive than a product with solid sides so it’s not such a big step between lift sizes as it might be with other manufacturers’ products.”


“Stiltz continues to run the very successful referral programme for any dealer who would like to earn £1,000 for a referral which leads to a sale. In addition to this, we are currently working with carefully selected dealers to develop a ProPartner network across the UK.”

STILTZ’ FOCUS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON BUILDING A WORKFORCE WHICH IS HAPPY AND COMMITTED TO THE BUSINESS. HOW HAS STILTZ HOMELIFTS BEEN SUPPORTING ITS STAFF OVER THE PAST YEAR?   “That’s true – we do pride ourselves on looking after our staff. We now have 216 in the UK alone across our three sites, with 13 joining in last quarter to support growth. We give our staff a voice through our Employee Engagement Programme; this is a staff-led (no managers permitted) initiative which allows for direct employee feedback to the board.

“Additionally, I run tri-annual Team Talks where I visit all our teams in turn and present a detailed synopsis of our performance, future plans and projects to both field and office-based staff in the UK and USA. There’s an

open Q&A forum after the briefings which sometimes leads to passionate debates!

“On a practical level – aside from the company-wide profit-related bonus available to all, Stiltz is a Living Wage employer and we recently decided to help out eligible employees with monthly cost of living payments. We also have a full range of benefits that come as standard for all employees as you would expect from an industry leader.

“Finally, we have just had our annual Stiltz Party where we put everyone up in the Grand Hotel in Birmingham and all food, drink and some superb raffle prizes were funded by the company. Last but by no means least, we’re giving staff time off to watch the England and Wales matches in the World Cup. A small thing, but one which is very much appreciated by those of us who are football mad.”



“Stiltz continues to be a fast-growing business and we are continually running to catch up with hiring needs. We now have a great internal recruitment team who coordinate our efforts so that helps with finding the right people.

“We are always interested in talking to experienced installation engineers

and builders. Additionally, we currently have vacancies in R&D and Product Management and within our inbound customer centre in Guiseley. For anyone who might be interested, current vacancies can be found on our website.”

CAN YOU PROVIDE SOME INSIGHT ABOUT ANY NEW PRODUCTS IN THE PIPELINE? “2023 and 2024 are going to be gamechanging years for Stiltz and for any customers looking to purchase a homelift. There are some really exciting products in the pipeline which will completely change the product offering for consumers and the logistics challenges for our worldwide dealer network. No more details at this point as we have various patents we are working on. However, rest assured THIIS and their readers will be one of the first to know as soon as the launches are imminent.”

“Stiltz continues to run the very successful referral programme for any dealer who would like to earn £1,000 for a referral which leads to a sale”
Mike MC-ing the raffle at the recent Stiltz Staff Party (shown with HR Manager Teresa Lippitt and PA Lucy Meadows)



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Trade Thoughts


This month we ask mobility leaders to share their thoughts about whether they think Covid has changed how they liaise with retailers and whether they feel there is room for improvement in the way they liaise with retailers over product-related issues and new products.

Our business strategy is to sell our products via our retailers, even though many of our competitors choose a dual market approach via retailers and direct to end users.

“Our full commitment is to our partners in the mobility industry as we feel there is enough competition without competing with your suppliers. Rise & Recline prides itself on maintaining a regular dialogue with its retailers and taking on-board their feedback regardless of the size of their operation as every retailer matters to us.

“For example, retailers have commented that they would prefer to return to more face-to-face meetings as opposed to Teams/Skype, so in response to this, we will be further expanding our sales team in January with the appointment of an additional sales manager to further increase the support we can offer retailers.

“Retailer feedback is also something we take into account when developing new products and this is only achieved through regular communication.

“We also support our retailers through point-of-sale material and product training on products and these workshops can either take place at their premises or at our manufacturing headquarters in Nottingham.

“I believe that communication with our retailers is not just about getting an order. It is about maintaining and growing a relationship and I personally like to think of many of our retailers as friends and I know that our National Sales Manager Craig Negri feels the same. From day one, we have strived to offer a personal service to every retailer and that continues to this day.

At Access BDD we believe that communication is the key to having a lasting relationship with our partners.

“We know that this is something they value, as it allows them to offer a better service to their own customers.

“Given the nature of mobility products and their impact on individuals’ lives, it is important that as a supplier we are transparent throughout the sale of our products. This begins from the first point of contact, right through to manufacture and dispatch.

“We have a team of specialist sales and technical managers who are available to support those who are looking to sell our products and as part of our ongoing commitment to delivering a seamless customer experience, we recently launched an innovative cloud-based order processing platform LINC.

“LINC is a platform that has been built specifically for Access BDD partners to give them full clarity on their orders.

“The platform can be used to place, approve, and track all orders in one place. Giving partners the ability to provide their customers with order updates and an accurate installation time.

“Additionally, with LINC being a cloud-based platform, partners can place an order from anywhere and on any device, even in the customer’s home.

“We are always looking to enhance the partner experience, from communication to training.

With this in mind, we are in the process of developing a new showroom and demonstration area where we will be able to hold partner training days and showcase our full range of access solutions.

40 /
Can suppliers do more to improve communication with mobility retailers about
Nigel Adam

Staying connected with our family of trade partners is absolutely crucial to our business, and as a supplier we are always looking to improve our communication.

“Covid disrupted our normal ways of working and forced us to think creatively about how we work with partners. But now that in-person meetings have returned, our BDMs are back out on the road meeting retailers face-to-face, and that will always be key to keeping our partners up-to-date. New quality dashboards help BDMs see any issues so they can instantly offer targeted support to partners who need it.

“We were thrilled to be back inperson for our 2022 Partner Day, where Handicare partners got a hands-on preview of our new product launches for 2023, including new lifts from our Savaria family.

“Alongside these in-person meetings, we’ve also expanded our online platforms. Last year we introduced TechTool, an online trouble-shooter, to give engineers access to up-to-date product fixes onthe-go. Coming soon we’ll launch the Handicare Online Academy, an online product training hub so that engineers can train on new products remotely.

“Not only do we work hard to keep partners informed, but this process works both ways. Through regular surveys, meetings, and getting partners involved in product trials right from the start, we listen and we act on their feedback to improve their experience.

“This hybrid approach of integrating in-person meetings with new digital projects will take our communication to a new level and ensures our partners feel supported, heard, and informed.

Communication is crucially important in any trading relationship and can often be a major determinant of business performance, or the difference between success and failure. The pandemic has forced many companies in the industry to reevaluate the ways in which they engage with customers.

“eFOLDi has had to get creative and find new ways to maintain effective levels of communication with its retailer and international partners. Whilst it has required some level of adjustment, the benefits are clear and the changes have certainly contributed to its continued success.

“At eFOLDi, we leverage a variety of digital tools to support our customer base. With the business expanding, both in the UK and internationally, the demand for technical and commercial support has increased dramatically, particularly on the export side, where logistics, timezones and language add further complexities.

“We have introduced a number of new initiatives, including an expanded dealer support package that incorporates ‘tutorial’ videos with product demonstrations, as well as servicing and maintenance guidance.

“We are using video conference technology to support field technicians with ad-hoc after-sales and service requests. A new online help-desk system and a programme of regular product bulletins has also been rolled out.

“Nevertheless, in spite of all the improvements, we still regard faceto-face time with our customers as extremely important, especially when it comes to gathering market insight and obtaining feedback on our products or service capability.

Charlotte Gillan

Managing Director, Classic Canes:

In the early decades of Classic Canes, it was relatively easy for my father Ben to tour our customers in a van loaded with walking sticks. The customers adored it: they could choose exactly what they wanted from the van and he could tell them stories while they plied him with coffee and biscuits. It was as much a social occasion as a business one. However, rising fuel costs and traffic congestion eventually meant that it just wasn’t profitable to visit our customers in the UK regularly, let alone the export ones.

“We all know now about the environmental costs of driving around the country, so it is hard to justify on that score too. We instead rely on the telephone, a really good trade catalogue and website, quality merchandising stands and point-ofsale materials, a monthly stockists’ email bulletin and social media.

“My message to retailers would be not to take offence because a supplier can no longer visit; these are changed times and it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t look after you.

"Instead, be sure you are open to the new channels: do you subscribe to and read their email newsletters? Do you follow them on social media? Do you take and return their telephone calls? Dare I say it, are your staff ‘protecting’ you from calls from suppliers ‘wanting to sell things’ (it happens!). Do you make sure you visit suppliers’ stands at trade fairs and spend some money so they feel encouraged to come back?

“Many suppliers are hard-pressed by rising costs and staffing shortages just now. If you can support them and work with them, they will respond enthusiastically and you will get the very best out of them to your own benefit. / 41

Travelling by air with a wheelchair

1. Around the airport and the plane

One to two per cent of people who travel by air worldwide are classified as a ‘Passenger with Reduced Mobility’ (PRM), and five to seven percent of these are wheelchair users1,2. This amounts to about a quarter of a million UK passenger flights in a year. Shockingly, only 25 per cent of respondents to a survey of wheelchair users (carried out by ableMove and FlyingDisabled) indicated that they had had a good flying experience1,2. If the experience could be made better, how many more wheelchair users would feel free to travel by air?


The airport experience will start at check-in. Legally, an airline is obliged to allow you to take up to two pieces of medical equipment, without making a charge. A wheelchair is

Air travel and airports are not readily designed for ease of use by those in wheelchairs. The terminal can be relatively accessible for travelling around, but it’s getting onto and off the plane where the challenges arise. A jetway has to have the flexibility to access different models/sizes of aircraft. Space is at a premium with aircraft designed to fit in as many people as possible at a time and with no available space inside the seated area of the plane for a wheelchair. So what’s the best that a wheelchair occupant can hope for, and what are the chances that things will get better in the future?

42 /
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Figure 1. The minimum width requirement for body scanner is 90cm in Japan.

likely to be one of the two pieces. For most people they will wish to keep this item: their mobility device, their postural support, and their skin protective device, with them as long as possible.

At security, a PRM will usually be given preferential treatment, but all the same, older style body scanners are often too narrow to accommodate wider wheelchairs (Figure 1), which needs extra time and attention to pass this hurdle. Beyond that, most airports are reasonably accessible with flat areas around the departure zone, and lifts otherwise available, and toilets normally accessible.


It’s the next phases where the challenges start. First, getting to one’s seat. In Japan, in preparation for hosting the 2020 Paralympics, work was carried out to set airport standards for PRM accessibility onto aircraft via the jetway.

The challenge with jetways is that they need to have height adjustability to allow passengers to be able to access anything from a small commuter plane to a large long-haul airliner. The requirements that Japan created were that:

1. There should be a handrail along the length of the sloped part of the jetway

2. The width available to go down the jetway to be at least 90cm

3. The slope should be no steeper than one in 12

4. There should be level access without a gap between the jetway and the aircraft cabin

At some airports there are fewer jetways than are needed to board all the flights, and/or for faster boarding, the airlines use stairs at either end of the plane. In these cases, PRMs are,

more often than not, brought to the aircraft on the elevating truck that is usually used to bring food trolleys to the opposite front door.

This is the point where an occupant is separated from their chair, and transferred into an aisle transfer chair. This is usually an undignified and relatively unsafe process – only two per cent of respondents reported having felt very safe in the process1.

A British company, Aviramp, supplies ramp systems around the world that allow a PRM ramped access into both smaller and larger planes (Figure 2), and these provide a more dignified access onto a plane where a jetway is not available.


To help you into your seat, there is little space or facility to make this a safe or dignified process. Once in your seat, you will normally be allowed to use your wheelchair cushion, but there is little further positioning support available, or allowed.

The best arrangement would be to have a wheelchair docking spot

in the cabin - and this currently is feasible. Air 4 All has a solution already designed3 (Figure 3). In the US, the US Transportation Secretary is working on providing regulations and specifications that will allow people to stay in their own wheelchair / 43
Call to find out more 01787 888 106 or email QUOTE: THS20 Attaches in seconds
Figure 2. Ramp access for boarding smaller and larger aircraft Figure 3. The
4 All powered wheelchair docking system

while on an aircraft. 75 per cent more wheelchair users would fly if this were possible.

If you wish to use the toilet during the flight, the options are restricted in that there will probably be limited facility to help you reach the toilet, and then the space accessibility to transfer to the toilet may be nonexistent.

Some Boeing Dreamliners have been fitted with adjacent toilets with a foldable barrier between the two to give space, while other aircraft have been fitted with one larger toilet to allow access from an aisle chair (Figure 4) - although space for an assistant may be limited. EasyJet and Vueling are two low-cost European airlines offering the Spece Flex 2

‘Let’s Get it Clear’ by Dr Barend ter Haar

One in a series of occasional resumés of aspects in the world of posture and mobility where there are common misconceptions, and myths to be addressed, to help promote better practice.

Further items can be found at

If you are interested in receiving further information on the topic, please contact

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

toilet in their Airbus 320s4

Meanwhile, an alarming 62 per cent of wheelchair users starve or dehydrate themselves before flying to try to avoid the need of using the toilet1 – the challenge is worsened in that PRMs are the last to be helped off the plane once the plane has reached its destination.


About 50 per cent of wheelchair users do not fly because of concern that their chairs will be damaged (or left behind) during the flight. This is a well-grounded fear, in that 60 per cent reported that their chairs had been damaged in transit.

To reduce the risk of damage to the chairs, Peter Axelson, himself a wheelchair user (Figure 5), has been successful in getting published an American National Standard5 which, inter alia, covers design and specifications of mobility devices to go into aircraft holds. Section 3 covers handling of the devices and is aimed at training of baggage handlers.

Section 4 covers the design of an Air Travel Configuration Card which goes with the wheelchair and details what the user needs to do before handing over the chair, and what the ground staff will need to know. I will cover this card in more detail next issue.


All Wheels Up offers a useful guide to air travel experience6. Retailers can also recommend to customers these top five tips below from ableMove7: 1Do your research on the individual airline and their accessibility. Check which seats are the most suitable. Book assistance 48 hours in advance. 2Identify how you are going to manage your toilet needs. 3

Never be afraid to ask for extra help at the airport.

4Ensure your wheelchair is flight-ready – see next month’s article.

5Purchase your own transferring sling (if you cannot transfer yourself)

– see ableMove’s website for a suitable item.





4. TheNews/easyjet-to-fit-planes-withwheelchair-accessible-toilets

5. RESNA AT-1: 2021 American National Standard for Assistive Technology for Air Travel Volume 1 Requirements and Test Methods Related to Mobility Devices



Figure 5. Peter Axelson, lead author of RESNA AT-1, avoids airline hassles by flying himself in his own Cessna Skymaster Figure 4. Aircraft toilet configurations allowing toilet access.


The team
at TOPRO thank
our customers
We wish you a Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year!
to for 0115846 5406
all of
help and support during 2022.
er to
seasonal money saving
o er To show
gratitude Santa has a rather special o
make you. So, if you would like a
opportunity: call us and ask for Santa's special o er.
look forward to hearing from you! Terence & Team

Buyers’ guide to beds and mattresses

Sedens 500 Seat Cushion from


The Sedens 500 is a lightweight, rechargeable battery-powered dynamic seat cushion perfectly designed to be used for wheelchairs.

The 12-hour battery life permits comfort and pressure relief throughout the day whether in a wheelchair or even on a static chair. With a generous weight limit of 120kgs this intuitive versatile product offers mobility stores another quality product to add to their range. The system offers pressure redistribution helping to maintain good skin integrity in the sacral area for the user with a low shear and highmoisture vapour transmission rate reducing friction and the inherent health risks that can bring.

To become a stockist call 01905 774695 or email

The Sherwood Electric Bed from Rise & Recline

The Sherwood 3' x 6'6” single electric bed has been developed to offer dealers and their customers a single adjustable care bed that will blend effortlessly into a domestic environment thanks to its high-end design. Featuring a luxury memory foam mattress wrapped with the heat reflective Coolmax cover, the Sherwood is finished off in Bison Steel upholstery. A white glove ‘factory to bedroom’ delivery service is available which includes removal of an old bed if dismantled.

With a five-part, four-movement adjustable bed action, the Sherwood can be easily adjusted using the integrated six button handset to meet the needs of the individual while the raised sides ensure the mattress will not slip if used with moving and handling equipment.

To further accommodate transferring, there is the option of hoist access beneath the bed at no additional cost. Luxury padded sides have been specifically designed for carers to ensure their comfort when assisting the user by protecting their shins and knees.

In line with all adjustable beds in the Rise & Recline portfolio, the Sherwood is also available in the following sizes single (2'3”, 2'6”, 3'0”), double (3'6”, 4'0”, 4'6”) and dual (4'6”, 5'0”, 6'0”), all of which are available in a choice of over 300 fabric options.

Additional standard features include overbed table access, toolless assembly and a mattress retaining clip sleeve with a range of accessories also available.

Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider offering to customers
REGISTERED COMPANY ISO 9001:2015 Certificate No. CAP1134CA ISO 14001:2015 REGISTERED COMPANY Contact the Rise & Recline sales team 0115 9133572 *Depending on location 72 hour delivery! * • Peace of mind with a 2-year warranty • Custom made Re exion memory foam mattress with Coolmax cover • Bespoke made to measure • 3ft x 6ft 6” The Sherwood MOTIVATION THROUGH INNOVATION TM Strident Innovations Head office address: 50 Turbine Way Ecotech Business & Innovation Park Swaffham PE37 7XD T: +44 (0)1362 300102 | F: +44 (0)1362 300103 | sales@strident uk com Strident - a name you can rely on for tyres and tubes With over 20 years experience in the mobility tyre industry, Strident are perfectly placed to offer the widest range of high quality mobility tyres. Our range of solid tyres, air filled tyres and inner tubes are designed to offer excellent levels of grip longevity and reliability This comprehensive range is suitable for a wide range of mobility scooters and equipment To find out more about the Strident range of Mobility Tyre products please contact our salesteam now STRIDENT TYRES THIIS ADVERT DEC 2021_Layout 1 07/12/2021 10:40 Page 1

Chester Electric Adjustable Bed from Drive

DeVilbiss Healthcare

The Chester Electric Bed has been designed to offer excellent comfort and support through its five-part fully adjustable Podmatic System. This innovative feature has grey pods that were developed to provide a ‘firm zone’ strategically placed at the lumber region to offer improved support.

Featuring a six-button multi-position handset the bed boasts a quality upholstered divan base. A broad range of models and sizes available. It is ideal for use with memory foam or latex mattresses and has a maximum weight carrying capacity of 18st (per side). Massage unit models are also available.

Classic Profiling Bed from Opera Beds

Simple yet functional, the Classic profiling bed provides comfort and support for varying care needs. The bed raises up to a nursing height of 80cm to help facilitate care and can also be lowered close to ground level for easier access.

As standard, the Classic has full-length side rails for added safety and can be specified in either an enclosed or unenclosed design.

Available in a choice of beech, oak, or walnut wood finishes, the Classic has all the features of a hospital bed in a non-institutional design. The profiling mattress platform allows users to adjust the backrest and knee-break to sit up in bed comfortably.

The bed is controlled easily by a wired handset that has a locking feature to disable all functions if required.

Shear Comfort Medical Sheepskin Overlays from BES Healthcare

Shear Comfort bed overlays are made from medical sheepskin – a material with proven pressureredistributing and microclimate-controlling capabilities. Its high-density wool helps to protect the skin from damage while helping to distribute pressure, reducing the risk of pressure ulcers. Its superior heat-transfer properties help keep the skin at a comfortable temperature while water vapour is easily dissipated through the material.

Sapphire2 Replacement Alternating Mattress System from Alerta


The Alerta Sapphire 2 is a replacement alternating pressure relieving mattress system with 5" air cells and a self-inflating 2" sealed foam base, forming an in-use height of 7" for effective prevention and treatment of users at high risk of developing a pressure ulcer. It has many useful features including removable heel cells, independently removable cells, micro-perforated cells and a pillow function.

With simple to use settings and functionality, the Alerta Sapphire 2 enables the care provider to quickly set up the mattress system and have it operating at optimal pressure for a specific user with ease. The wide range of features make the Alerta Sapphire 2, a highly versatile and cost-effective solution.

48 /

Integrity Static Plus Mattress

from Sumed International

Integrity Static Plus Mattress is a high-quality static mattress for patients at very high risk, up to and including grade 2 pressure damage.

Integrity Static Plus Mattress has a replaceable foam insert to help increase flexibility and save money and also comes with reinforced side walls for ease of transfer.

There is a full two-year warranty on the insert and cover. The mattress is suitable for users up to 39st.

Signature Comfort Profiling Bed from Opera Beds

Balancing homely design and nursing functionality, the Signature Comfort is an ideal choice for future-proofing care needs. Featuring an all-in-one height range, the Signature Comfort can be lowered close to the floor which makes it easier to get in and out of bed. Meanwhile, the whole bed can be raised up to waist level which helps facilitate on-the-bed care.

The bed has a fully upholstered surround and is available in a choice of three stylish headboard designs. A popular choice from the Opera collection, the Signature Comfort is available for rapid next-day delivery. Opera also provides a home installation service across all its beds which are carried out by its in-house team of installers.

Memory Foam Mattress

from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare

This Memory Foam Mattress has been designed to bring additional benefits not usually found in the more traditional pocket sprung and reflex foam mattresses.

Memory foam has a unique open cell structure that responds to body heat and weight by moulding to the contours of the body, optimising weight distribution and comfort. When pressure is removed the mattress returns to its original shape.

Providing superior comfort for a good night’s sleep, this mattress is made up of 7cm memory foam bonded onto 15cm of reflex foam.


Integrity Dynamic Air Mattress from Sumed


Integrity Dynamic Air Mattress is an auto-adjusting system to assist in the prevention, treatment and management of pressure ulcers. It comprises a pump and mattress system which can be used on standard hospital, profiling, autoregression and normal domestic beds with bed rails or sides.

Beds can be adjusted or profiled with the Integrity Mattress in position. The pump can be fixed to the foot-end of a hospital bed by the bed brackets provided. It can also be placed upright on the floor. A two-way stretch cover is zipped on four sides to a durable anti-slip base. The zips are protected by flaps to prevent the ingress of fluid and allow easy removal of the cover for cleaning or replacement.

Morpheus Air Zero from Apollo Healthcare Technologies

The Morpheus Air Zero is an Advance 4 Zoned Mattress Support System offering both full dynamic and semi dynamic therapy.

It is a very high-risk system when unpowered, making it the mattress of choice for smokers when powered devices cannot be used.

The Morpheus Air Zero offers a therapeutic immersion support surface that simulates dynamic therapy whilst unpowered and the addition of a pump converts the mattress to ‘dynamic mode’ when higher therapy is required.

SensaGel Heel Slope Mattress With Side Supports from Alerta Medical

The Alerta

SensaGel Heel Slope

Mattress is a very high-risk profiling memory foam mattress built with a highdensity base, memory foam top, a sloping heel section with gel memory foam and built-in side wedge support.

The heel slope assists pressure redistribution by alleviating pressure from the high-risk heel area and the SensaGel heel section has gel-infused memory foam to prevent pressure sores on the heel. The side wedge support prevents the user rolling over the edge of the mattress, reducing risk of falling out of bed. It also provides antientrapment by preventing the users limbs becoming trapped inside rails. The mattress is designed with a section of v-cut base foam which creates additional air movement for enhanced pressure relieving properties.

Rhino Lifting Cushion from Mangar Health

The Mangar Rhino Lifting Cushion lifts a person in the supine position from the floor to the height of a bed or stretcher. It is powered by the Mangar Airflo Duo, a ‘stateof-the-art’ air pump, which uses both battery or mains power for maximum portability and versatility.

The Rhino can be used in tight spaces or outdoors so the patient can be lifted safely and with dignity wherever they fall.

Made in the UK it lifts up to 500kg. Its lightweight anti-rip material makes it ideal for easy folding and transportation. The complete Supine Transfer System weighs under 20kg and CPR function is included. The cushion boasts a sevenyear expected life span

THE MANGAR SUPINE TRANSFER SYSTEM NewProduct Launch! For more information or to book a demonstration please email or call 0800 2800 485 The new Mangar Supine Patient Transfer System makes lifting and transferring patients easy…wherever they fall. Designed in collaboration with manual handling experts, the combined weight of the Rhino Lifting Cushion, Swift Transfer Slide, Duo Pump and easy wheel roller bag is less than 20 kg. • Powered using a portable pump that runs off battery or mains power • Hands-free inflation • Made in the UK DELIVERY l Nationwide delivery & installation l Removal & disposal of old products l Manufacturers warranties honoured l Owned & operated fleet of vehicles SERVICING l Annual equipment servicing l LOLER testing & inspection l Bed inspections & servicing l Engineer call-outs for repairs STORAGE l 35,000 Square foot warehouse l Short term storage solutions Experts in Healthcare Logistics Your Promises. Delivered. 0330 445 0099 CONTACT US TODAY

The Wiltshire Adjustable Bed from Pride Mobility

The Wiltshire features multiple benefits to help those with conditions that affect sleep quality, from pressure relief to increased independence.

Its height-adjustable bed base raises at a horizontal position to help getting in and out of bed. The Wiltshire adjustable bed features a chrome studded head and footboard and stylish upholstery for a modern look that suits the customer's bedroom.

Flyte Adjustable Bed from Opera Beds

Rotoflex rotating bed range from Theraposture

The Rotoflex rotating bed range is the widest in the UK, including low access and plus size models.

Voted number one for ‘Excellence in Caring’ at the OT Show Awards, this rotating bed delivers safe and independent bed transfers and helps reduce the dependency on others when getting in and out of bed.

Adding a touch of style and personalised comfort, the Flyte adjustable bed features a raised design with four wooden legs, providing easy under-bed access.

The Flyte can be upholstered in a choice of premium fabrics and customised with different headboard designs to suit any style. As standard, the Flyte comes with features designed for total comfort and a great night’s sleep. These include back and leg adjustment to find the perfect sleep position, zero-gravity for a weightless sensation, and anti-snore mode which gently raises the head to reduce snoring. These can all be controlled by a backlit wireless handset.

The Flyte can be upgraded to include added features such as under-bed light, back massage, app control, and wall-hugging technology. All Opera adjustable beds come with a five-year warranty.

Lomond Low Bed from Alerta Medical

The Alerta Lomond Low Bed provides the ultimate balance between user care, functionality and quality.

It comes with the added benefit of Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg tilting feature. While being a very low bed, the Lomond Low also has the unique ability of its range extending from 20cm to 80cm high.

It has a three-year warranty on the bed frame and two years on the motors and electrics. It can be dismantled for storage or transporting and is available in Oak and Walnut wood finish.


Heel Slope assists pressure redistribution by alleviating pressure from the high risk heel area

SensaGel® heel zone has gel-infused memory foam to prevent pressure sores on the heel

Side wedge support prevents users rolling off the mattress and provides anti-entrapment by preventing users limbs becoming trapped in side rails

The Alerta Sensaflex 5000 is a profiling memory foam mattress for users at very high risk, built with a high density base, memory foam top, a sloping heel section with gel-infused memory foam and built-in side wedge support.

Distributor Opportunities Large stocks for next day delivery Attractive distributor pricing structure Direct carriage paid delivery available Industry leading distributor support Contact Alerta Medical for prices and marketing support.

Domus 1 Pressure Redistribution System from WellEll

This alternating pressure redistribution system improves pressure ulcer management with an accessible and easyto-use pressure relief pad.

Domus 1 improves the prevention and treatment of earlystage pressure ulcers.

The lightweight and compact bubble cell design of the alternating pressure pad allows caregivers and individuals to set up and deliver pressure relief care efficiently. Domus 1 can be placed over either an existing mattress or even over a rise recliner to provide periodic pressure relief treatments without the hassle of relocating the person. This quick and efficient product is very cost effective and adds an uncomplicated entry level pressure care solution to any mobility retailers in-store product range. To become a stockist call 01905 774695 or email

The Retford Adjustable

Bed from Pride Mobility

The Retford is upholstered in a modern, stylish fabric to suit the décor of any bedroom.

It features an elegant, fully upholstered bed, with a footboard and thick padded sides. It has an electric five-fold slatted adjustable bed base and is 58cm high with a weight capacity of 158.8 kg.

Mangar Swift Transfer Slide from Mangar Health

The Mangar Swift Transfer Slide is designed to transfer and reposition patients in the supine position with minimal moving and handling force needed, while providing a stable, safe experience for the patient.

It is powered by the Mangar Airflo Duo, a ‘state-ofthe-art’ air pump, which uses both battery or mains power for maximum portability and versatility. Part of the Mangar Supine Transfer System, the Swift, has been tested for optimal ergonomics by the ATTiC team, part of University of Wales.

Made in the UK it lifts up to 500kg. Its lightweight anti-rip material makes it ideal for easy folding and transportation. The complete Supine Transfer System weighs under 20kg and boasts a seven-year expected life span.


from Sumed International

XTech25 is a low air pressure, powered, therapeutic mattress which incorporates the best power and static technologies available for preventing and treating pressure ulcers.

XTech25 is equipped with real-time customised automatic control of penetration in the sacro-gluteal zone, thanks to its API-SENSOR, patented technology: controlled automatic and continuous penetration of the risk zones, without ever bottoming out. Whatever the weight of the patient, the automatic penetration control enables the system to obtain, both in the sitting and lying positions, the ideal penetration level of the sacral zone, ensuring that pressure is effectively distributed.


Regional Sales Manager (2x Positions)

Regional Sales Managers (x2 Field Based) Midlands Region & East of England

Wellell specialise in the design and manufacture of Pressure Area Care, Hoists, Respiratory and IPC products with innovation and quality at the core of what we do. We are at the heart of helping people with a presence in over 70 countries, 30 years of operational growth, and helping over 100 million people Worldwide.


• Management of our current customer network, including regular visits, training, and maximising sales opportunities.

• Delivering a high level of customer service to ensure our network of customers are happy and continue a good working relationship with us.

• Identifying and making contact with potential new distributors and nursing home customers in areas that we currently have no representation in.

• Attending industry-based exhibitions to continue brand growth

• Achieving sales targets for turnover and growth


• B2B field sales experience, preferably in the nursing home, distributor sectors.

• Excellent relationship builder with great communication skills

• Organised with the ability to plan and prioritise their own workload/ diary

• Commercially astute

• Self-motivated and results driven with a hunger for sales

• Personable, professional and enthusiastic with the ability to work within a team

• The successful candidates will be located within the two territories ideally Birmingham for West Midlands position and Cambridge for the East of England position

• Hold a Full UK driving licence

• Be prepared to complete a DBS check

In return we will offer a competitive basic wage and a generous commission package as well as travel expenses, car allowance, laptop, iPad and a mobile phone.

To apply please email your CV along with a covering letter to

FREEDOM Intelligent Braking System Intelligent Cruise Control Motion Direct Control Your dream role in the mobility and access industry could just be a click away... Visit to see all the latest jobs We are hiring!

Casa Elite Homecare Bed Low from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare

This electrical profiling bed with adjustable head, foot and knee sections can help reduce complications of immobility.

The bed platform can be lowered closer to the floor reducing the risk of a fall from height for vulnerable patients. It can also be raised/lowered to a height such that a carer’s posture is closer to neutral for the moving and handling of patients.

It is available in three wood finishes with a choice of side rails and a range of compatible accessories.

The cardiac chair position also provides a comfortable seated position for users nursed in bed. Its auto contour function is a preprogrammed profiling position that raises/lowers both the backrest and knee break simultaneously to minimise migration in the bed.

Domus Auto Pressure Redistribution System from WellEll

For those retailers looking for pressure area care (PAC) products to fulfil their care home customers needs the Domus Auto is the go-to answer.

The Class IIa product is designed as a therapy and prevention PAC system with automatic patient weight recognition, meaning that the optimal pressure is always being offered to the patient.

The benefit to your customer is an easy to use, low management and operational cost product that will help to safeguard their clients skin integrity 24 hours a day. Its massive 250 kg safe working load also means that it will suit virtually all of the care homes PAC needs.

To become a stockist call 01905 774695 or email

The Spruce Mattress from Pride Mobility

A 9” thick durable medium density completely foam mattress, The Spruce is made up of 7” orthopaedic foam topped with 2” memory foam for extra comfort with no less support.

This organisation is a member of the British Healthcare Trades Association.

Karma mobility ltd Unit 6 target ParK, redditch Worcestershire b98 8yn T: 0845 630 3436 E: The Ergo Lite 2 transit weighs just 8.5kg complete and the self-propel breaks down to 6kg making them among the very lightest wheelchairs available on the market. Ergo Lite 2 Transit Wheelchair Ergo Lite 2 Self Propel Wheelchair THE ERGO LITE 2, PROUD WINNER OF

The Snug Canopy

Keep going, no matter the weather. The Snug Canopy, designed to keep out the elements whilst giving you the freedom to venture further without the worry of the wind or rain.

Simple, versatile and incredibly easy to install, converting almost any scooter into transport for all seasons utilising the universal hitch. The retractable hood provides protection from the sun, rain, wind or cold, giving you the ability to adapt and keep moving in all seasons.

FEEL MOVED | | 01787 728 271

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