Active Hands device in use Rob Smith
Active Hands’ Rob Smith with his company’s gripping aid

For a second consecutive year, Active Hands’ director Rob Smith has been chosen as one of the UK’s most influential people with disability in the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list.

The award, which sees Rob amongst a wide range of influencers with disabilities including Baroness Jane Campbell and Lee Ridley (also known as ‘Lost Voice Guy’), celebrates Rob’s achievements in both business and his sporting success in wheelchair racing.

First conceiving of the idea for Active Hands in 1996 following a cliff fall resulted in tetraplegia, Rob grew frustrated by his reduced hand function and designed a gripping aid to enable him to rehabilitate in the gym, as well as to take part in other activities he missed.

His design proved both effective and popular, with friends asking for their own pair, leading to the creation of The Active Hands Company.

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Growing consistently over the years and winning multiple awards, the aids for daily living supplier has continued to release new ranges, including a multi-functional aid and specialist hook aid earlier in the year.

In October 2018, the company was also commended by the Government and bestowed a Board of Trade medallion and a framed certificate in recognition for its export activities, achieving 25 percent export growth in 12 months.

Alongside his Active Hands achievements, Rob’s place on the list also highlights his sporting accomplishments, having won a silver medal in the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships and Gold in the men’s T51/52 at the 2018 World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup.

In addition, Rob is currently training in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Active Hands Alex Brooker Power 100

Speaking about his nomination, Rob commented: “I am really honoured to be included again in this year’s awards, alongside some other hugely talented disabled people.

“Seeing the difference our products can make to people’s lives continues to motivate and inspire our work.  From my own experience, I know what a difference being able to take part in activities you are passionate about, can make to your overall well-being.”

The Shaw Trust Disability Power List 100 is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK and is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE.

Last year, Channel 4’s Alex Brooker topped the list of influential disabled people. Keen not to miss out on an opportunity, Rob presented Alex with one of the company’s Limb Difference gripping aids.

According to the company, Alex is a return customer, adding the company’s looped aids and a hook aid to his collection, enabling him to expand his workout routine and access gym equipment he could never use before.

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