Wizzybug powerchairs image

Designability, a Bath-based design charity, has launched a fundraising appeal so that it can help tackle the backlog of disabled children requiring powerchairs, who are currently facing long waiting times due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Entitled ‘We Don’t Want To Wait’, the appeal calls for donations to help reduce the long waiting times that disabled children are currently facing to get a Wizzybug powerchair.

Designed specifically for children under five, Wizzybug helps children with cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spina bifida or muscular dystrophy, as well as children with amputations or a rare developmental delay affecting their ability to walk.

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Designability offers its Wizzybug powerchairs free of charge to children across the British Isles through a loan scheme. After families or therapists request a Wizzybug through the scheme, children can keep the mobility aid as long as they need it.

The charity says the only real eligibility criteria is that a child is in need of greater independence, mobility and freedom.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Designability had to cease Wizzybug appointments for months during the lockdown.

Although Designability has restarted Wizzybug appointments, the charity says it is struggling to keep up with demand and the backlog created by COVID-19. Families are currently facing a wait of over seven months to get a Wizzybug powerchair.

To help tackle this backlog of appointments, Designability is urging people to donate so that it can fund extra resource to reduce the waiting times that disabled children and their families are currently experiencing.

Kathryn Earle, Children’s Occupational Therapist at Designability, said: “This year we have all had to put a lot of important things on hold and have been waiting to be able to see loved ones, return to the workplace and much more.

“But the wait for a powered wheelchair for a child who is unable to move themselves independently is something we do not want to delay any longer than we have to.

“Most children move on from Wizzybug by 5 years old so waiting 7 months or more could mean that some children will have almost outgrown it before they have even received it.”

“As a small charity, we need to be able to fund the extra resource we need to get the waiting time down quicker. We want to be able to see more children and build more Wizzybugs sooner rather than later.”

As part of the ‘We Don’t Want To Wait’ campaign, Designability provides an example of one family who would greatly benefit from a Wizzybug.

Kirstie is mum to Franky, 2, who has cerebral palsy and is waiting to get a Wizzybug. She said: “We can’t wait to get the Wizzybug for our son Franky as this will give him a whole new lease of life. He is a twin and will be able to keep up with his brother when we are out and about. It will give him some new found independence.

“I cannot wait to see the smile on my boy’s face when he is finally able to sit in his Wizzybug. Most of us take getting from A to B for granted but hopefully soon Franky will be able to do just that.”

To support Designability’s fundraising appeal, people are urged to donate or organise a fundraiser

Designability says any donations received above or below the amount needed to fund extra resource will be used to support the ongoing running costs of Designability.

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