Partnership expands free paediatric powerchair loan scheme to children under five
A new partnership between the Mae Murray Foundation and Designability is providing children in Northern Ireland under five years old with access to fun powered wheelchairs for free.
The charity partnership will see families be able to access Designability’s Wizzybug powerchairs through a loan scheme funded by charitable donations for the first time in Northern Ireland, ensuring families can have the device for as long as their child can benefit at no charge.
Alex Leach, Early Years Powered Mobility Manager at Designability, said: “We have wanted to extend the reach of the Wizzybug Loan Scheme to families in Northern Ireland for some time and we are so pleased to be partnering with the Mae Murray Foundation, an inspiring charity based in Larne, to finally get there.
“I am so looking forward to seeing the first child in Northern Ireland enjoying their independence with a Wizzybug!”
Formed of engineers, designers and healthcare professionals designing assistive technologies, Bath-based Designability developed the Wizzybug back in the 1990s and has continuously improved and enhanced the design over the years.
Designed specifically for children living with cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spina bifida or muscular dystrophy under the age of five, Designability currently has over 400 Wizzybugs in its fleet which it loans to children in the British Isles for free through fundraising initiatives.
Alix Crawford, Chairperson, Mae Murray Foundation, said: “As a ‘lived experience’ and membership led charity, we are delighted to be able to respond to requests from families to introduce Wizzybug in Northern Ireland. Championing another ‘first’ for the province, by linking with the experienced professionals at Designability, we can’t wait to see the impact this will make.”
The Mae Murray Foundation has been set up to allow people of all ages and abilities to take part in activities, experience the world and enjoy friendship together in an inclusive environment.
The Wizzybug Loan Scheme is open to disabled children aged 14 months to five years old living with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy, however, Designability says the only real eligibility criteria is that a child is in need of greater independence, mobility and freedom.