How Designability Enables Disabled People To Live With Greater Independence
Designability is a UK charity that enables children and adults with disabilities to live with greater independence. Working with disabled people directly, Designability co-create innovative products that will make a difference to their day to day lives.
Designability creates great looking, easy-to-use products that go beyond basic functionality. They partner with industries to help as many people as they can – transforming over 300,000 lives to date.
As the charity does not receive any statutory funding, all of their work relies on voluntary donations.
A New Pushchair Designed For Wheelchair Users
Designability had been receiving many enquiries from disabled parents and carers who were facing challenges in taking their young children out and about independently. In response to this, they have developed a game-changing new product designed specifically to bridge the gap between mobility and accessibility.
The team’s upcoming Pushchair for Wheelchair Users is currently entering its final phase of real-world user testing and is set to open up a world of opportunities for disabled parents and carers, empowering families to be able to transport their young children with independence.
Disabled parents and carers who are wheelchair users currently have no safe way to get to the shops or the park independently with their young child. As there is no widely available pushchair to use, they are either isolated at home or dependent on a non-disabled partner or carer. This leads to practical difficulties, with them resorting to having their child sitting on their lap, which is often both unsafe and uncomfortable.
As well as practical difficulties, disabled parents have spoken about the emotional impact of being reliant on others to go out with their baby or toddler, and that this means they feel a ‘lesser’ parent.
As we face the long-term consequences from the pandemic of increased isolation and mental health challenges, providing a solution that gives disabled parents independence to lead their best life with their baby and toddler has never been more critical.
Currently, there isn’t a product available on the market that enables a disabled parent to connect their manual wheelchair safely to a pushchair. Seeing this gap in the market, the Designability team have been working to create an attachment that makes that possible.
“As with all of our designs, we have been working closely with families every step of the way to ensure that we meet their needs and requirements”, comments Fiona Cromwell, Digital Communications Manager.
Designing An Innovative Powered Wheelchair For Physically Disabled Children
“We use components from Accu to help build our Wizzybug powered wheelchairs which we loan out to children under 5 across the UK”, Fiona explains.
“The parts we order from Accu are used in the seat assembly and fasteners that affix subassemblies of Wizzybug.”
The Wizzybug is Designability’s powered wheelchair, designed for children to use both indoors and outdoors, with adult supervision. Children can use Wizzybugs at home, school and when playing or travelling in outdoor spaces, including parks and playgrounds.
Fiona mentions, “As we only have a charity base in Bath in the south west, Designability works with the William Merritt Centre, based in Leeds, to deliver Wizzybug handover assessments.”
The William Merritt Centre acts as a partner organisation who Designability have trained up to be able to provide their charitable service for families based in the northern part of the UK.
Thanks to their involvement, Designability has been able to ensure that they can provide free Wizzybug powered wheelchairs to even more children and families who could benefit from them.
The Designability team builds their Wizzybugs onsite in Bath using both locally and nationally sourced components.
Accu Dowel Pins are used in the refurbished thoracic pads, working to aid in locating their positioning on their brackets or pins for the seat back handle. This allows for both the adjustment of the seat depth and angle and the locking of the handwheel.
In addition to utilising our range of standard engineering components, Designability have recently used the Accu Custom Manufacture service to procure custom designed Spacers - a crucial part of the implementation of the new motors.
Nailah Deer, Operations Engineer at Designability, explains that “The new spacers are positioned between the motor and the chassis plate surfaces. When the motor is fastened to the chassis plate, there is a gap of roughly 6mm between the two surfaces due to a shoulder on the motor.”
“Using the custom spacers provides a larger surface area of contact between the two surfaces, helping to; absorb the vibrations, distribute the load and ensure the motor remains parallel to the chassis plate when fastened.”
Why Designability Uses Accu For Engineering Components
“Designability chose to use Accu as a supplier due to the level of quality and finishing of parts, their variety of options, the fast delivery time and their excellent customer service”, says Nailah.
“They were an all-round fantastic choice and we’re pleased to have them as a partner organisation, helping us to build and assemble our Wizzybug powered wheelchairs that have to date helped over 1,000 young children across the UK”, adds Fiona.
See The Difference Designability Make To People’s Lives
If you’d like to find out more about Designability’s projects, including the Wizzybug Loan Scheme and Pushchair for Wheelchair Users, or explore ways to support the charity, please visit: https://designability.org.uk/
Accu would like to thank Fiona Cromwell and Nailah Deer from the Designability team for sharing their insights into how our components are being used to create their innovative solutions.