A national design charity has received a grant of £54,000 to provide free powerchairs to children whose mobility is affected by conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, and muscular dystrophy.

Designability received the grant from Somerset Masons. In June, representatives of Somerset Freemasons visited Designability’s workshops in Bath to discover the fantastic work it is doing.

Designability provides free powered wheelchairs called Wizzybugs nationwide for children aged from 14 months to five years. The children are loaned a Wizzybug wheelchair for as long as they need, which provides them with mobility and independence indoors and outside.

In the handover, the Wizzybug is tailored to the user, with Designability adjusting the seat, positioning the joystick control to suit their grip, and tweaking its sensitivity.

It costs £6,000 for the full lifecycle of the loan, including handover, delivery, and maintenance. Thanks to the Somerset Masons’ grant, nine children will receive a Wizzybug.

Genevieve Arney, Director of Fundraising and Communications from Designability, said: “We are very grateful to Somerset Freemasons for their generous grant. Getting a Wizzybug is great for the children concerned but also has fantastic benefits for the whole family who can engage and interact in a way they couldn’t before.”

There is typically no NHS funding for powered wheelchairs for children under five years, and so Designability helps fill a gap in the market. The help provided by the grant gives a “much-needed” boost to that provision.

When a child using the Wizzybug becomes old enough to qualify for NHS funding, Designability guides them through the intricate process of obtaining NHS funding and assistance.

Graham Puddy, Provincial Charity Steward for Somerset Masons, commented: “I am very pleased we have been able to help Designability provide their wonderful Wizzybugs to children who need them. By making them mobile, these wonderful machines transform the lives of the children and their families and they are also great fun, as any child who has used one will testify.”

Designability contributes to the lives of people from early life through to adulthood who need help with their mobility, such as, working in partnership with Motability to make public electric vehicle charging points more accessible for people with a range of different needs.


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