Staff from Jenx, Jiraffe and US-based partner Rifton
Staff from Jenx, Jiraffe and US-based partner Rifton

15 years on from forming a successful partnership which has helped change the lives of children around the world, Sheffield-based Jenx and New York-based Rifton have marked the occasion with a special event held at Hillsborough Football Stadium.

A family-run company, Jenx was founded by husband and wife Clive and Catherine Jenkins – a paediatric physiotherapist and product designer respectively – in 1982, with the aim of enriching lives and changing perceptions about disability.

In 2005, the company partnered with Rifton, helping the sales team at Jenx and its UK distribution division, Jiraffe, grow by more than 300 per cent since it was first established.

Having been manufacturing adaptive equipment for children and adults since 1977, Rifton Equipment General Manager Joe Keiderling discussed the long-term partnership with the Yorkshire paediatric equipment specialist.

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“Our relationship with Jenx is unique,” he commented.

“We work with distributors all over the world, but we always look for our partners to share our concern that children with disabilities deserve the very best equipment we can possibly provide.

“We’re involved in this business for so many reasons, among which is that it is an extremely honourable profession but also probably the most rewarding work we can do.”

Holly Jenkins – Clive and Catherine’s daughter and Director at Jenx’ UK distribution division, Jiraffe, said: “Jenx has made a positive difference to so many people and for me personally, is more a and a privilege passion to help than a job.

“To work with Rifton, who share our key values, is a phenomenal opportunity and to have that partnership which is so strong and changes the lives of so many people – is hugely rewarding.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to go home each day knowing that you’ve made a difference.”

Celebrating the success of the partnership, the anniversary event saw more than 100 delegates in attendance from the businesses along with others from other local organisations, charities and schools.

The anniversary event saw representatives from Rifton, Jenx and Jiraffe discuss how the companies are ‘anticipating the needs’ of children and young people over the next two decades and beyond.

“We have lots of plans over the next few years, and lots of product development being discussed with our friends at Rifton,” continued Holly.

“There are exciting projects in the pipeline that are going to allow us to make a difference to even more children and their families.”

Kate Allatt – a Sheffield-based Locked-In Syndrome survivor, global activist, internationally published author, TEDx speaker and researcher – was the event’s special guest, and praised Jenx and Rifton’s products for helping to ‘open up the world’ for children.

“I’ve got experience of what it’s like to exist in a wheelchair, and how society isn’t geared up for wheelchair users,” said Kate.

“I’ve seen it by going shopping with my daughter – the way clothes are hung out, the pain you feel sitting in a wheelchair, the posture issues. Everything Jenx, Jiraffe and Rifton do is about enabling children to be the best they can be, and if they believe really hard, they can do anything.”

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