Innovative sling for disabled passengers wins prestigious award
Able Move, a start-up company that has developed a portable sling for disabled travellers on aeroplanes, has won the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018.
easyjet Founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou awarded Able Move’s founder, Josh Wintersgill, with a £30,000 prize at a ceremony in London.
Josh said he created the “Able-Move” sling so people with mobility issues can be transferred safely, comfortably and with dignity to and from aeroplane seats. The Founder, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, says he faces many physical challenges himself, but is determined to help disabled people overcome the difficulties associated with travel.
On winning the Award, Josh said: “I’m overwhelmed with emotion. Able Move now has the best possible start to its mission of improving accessible air travel for people with reduced mobility.”
The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire, started 12 years ago and recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs in the UK.
Sir Stelios commented: “I am delighted for Josh and Ablemove being the overall winner this year. I think his invention can help many people travel with more dignity and comfort.
“I wish him the best of luck as he will trying to scale up his business to serve the 1.3 million passengers of reduced mobility travelling in and out of the UK each year and many more all over the world!”
Applications for the Award came from a diverse mix of sectors, including fashion, retail, sport and leisure and tourism. According to the Stelios Awards, a record number of candidates applied this year, up 12.5 percent from last year.
Past winners have come from the travel agency, building and IT sectors as well as businesses specialising in disability and mobility aids and services.
CEO of Leonard Cheshire Neil Heslop concluded: “Congratulations to Josh and indeed to all this year’s candidates. The record number of applications proves how much passion, talent and innovation lies in the disabled community around the UK.
“Whilst many are following their dreams, it’s also important to recognise that some disabled people pursue the entrepreneurial route not only because they have great ideas, but also because they face significant barriers to employment.
“As well as inspiring others, these awards remind us that there are different ways of working, and show employers the talent they are missing.”