A CROWDFUNDING campaign has been launched to help produce a simple device that will transform everyday life for the world’s wheelchair users with a unique invention called ‘Grippoz’, a wheelchair push-rim cover that will enable more users to propel themselves with greater ease and comfort.
The brainchild of Paul Lawson from Alyth, Perthshire, whose partner Diana has been wheelchair-bound for six years, Paul made a prototype of his invention after seeing how pain and lack of grip frustrated Diana in completing everyday tasks. Fitting her wheelchair with Grippoz has given her a greater degree of independence.
The plan is for the invention to go into full production, with the push-rim covers made from colourful, durable silicone with antimicrobial element. The social enterprise that has been set up to market the product will sell Grippoz online, with profits being used to help other small businesses and new products in the area. The initial funding needed for the injection moulds is being raised through the established crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. The campaign will run online until 8th December and aims to raise at least £22,500.
Speaking about how Grippoz has changed her life, Diana said:
“I always had to wait for Paul to come and push me along. When I first I went out with my Grippoz on, I realised I didn’t have to wait for him and went off myself into the hospital for my appointment. Every few metres people were stopping me to talk about Grippoz. The colourful push-rims really make my chair stand out more. For the first time people saw me and were speaking to me in my chair and not the person pushing me. It was just wonderful.”
Grippoz are made from injected silicone which offers users additional protection from germs and infection, and their robust design helps to protect furniture from bumps and scrapes. The product is designed for adult wheelchair users and will be produced initially in black or pink to fit a 24-inch diameter wheel (21-inch push-rim).
Paul and Diana want the benefits of Grippoz to help others and are licensing the product to a social enterprise managed by GrowBiz, a successful community-based enterprise support organisation in Perthshire, Scotland.
There are estimated to be 67m wheelchair users globally with around 750,000 wheelchair users here in the UK. Self-propulsion is a highly repetitive task for wheelchair users, frequently resulting in musculoskeletal disorders. It is estimated that nearly 70 per cent of manual wheelchair users will experience upper extremity pain or overuse injury at some point in their lifetime. The ability to self-propel can make a key contribution to quality of life. Having a sense of control, feeling respected as an individual and retaining dignity are all regarded as central to quality of life.
To contribute to Grippoz crowdfunding campaign, visit www.grippoz.com/kickstarter
For interviews or comment, please contact Tricia Fox on 07989 955039 or email@example.com
Background Notes to editors:
The Grippoz crowdfunding campaign is hosted by Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com
Grippoz is active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Grippoz ) and Twitter: (www.twitter.com/grippoz1)
If the campaign achieves its target of £22,500, it will then aim to raise additional funding to produce Grippoz for children’s wheelchairs.
Contacts for further information:
Jackie Brierton, GrowBiz:- E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 07718 955267
Tricia Fox, Volpa: 07989 955039 or email@example.com
There are estimated to be 67m wheelchair users globally with c750,000 here in the UK.
Self propulsion is a highly repetitive task for wheelchair users, frequently resulting in musculoskeletal disorders. It is estimated that nearly 70 per cent of manual wheelchair users will experience upper extremity pain or overuse injury at some point in their lifetime.
Yet the ability to self propel can make a key contribution to quality of life. Having a sense of control, feeling respected as an individual and retaining dignity are all regarded as central to quality of life.
Conversely being less able to participate in the community can lead to isolation and depression. Less than half of working age disabled people are in employment and over one quarter feel that they often have no choice or control over their daily lives.
Around one third have difficulty when accessing public or leisure services and are significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure and sporting activities than non- disabled people.
Less than one in five disabled people are born with impairments. The majority of disabled people acquire their impairments during their working lives and nearly one in every two people over the state pension age (currently 62 for women and 65 for men) are disabled. By 2020 it is estimated that two in every five people over 50 will have a long term health issue.
Research and statistics
Handrim wheelchair propulsion is a highly repetitive and constraining task. Thus, the upper limb of handrim wheelchair users is frequently the site of musculoskeletal disorders. Most exposed joints are the shoulder and the wrist.
To prevent and limit upper limb pain, optimal wheelchair configuration is very important.
Wheelchair propulsion kinematics in beginners and expert users: Influence of wheelchair settings
Gorce, P. ; Louis, N.
Clinical Biomechanics, January 2012, Vol.27(1), pp.7-15 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
Nearly 70 per cent of manual wheelchair users will likely experience upper extremity (UE) pain or overuse injury at some point in their lifetime. One of the main activities that contribute to the development of UE pathology is wheelchair propulsion.
Individual muscle contributions to push and recovery subtasks during wheelchair propulsion
Rankin, J.W. ; Richter, W.M. ; Neptune, R.R.
Journal of Biomechanics, 29 April 2011, Vol.44(7), pp.1246-1252 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
The themes of dignity and sense of control were identified as central factors most closely related to overall quality of life in all domains. Having a sense of control in some aspect of daily life and feeling respected as a valued individual (dignity) had the largest influence on overall quality of life. Dignity was similarly central to quality of life.
Prominent negative factors included threats to dignity and sense of control, experiences of pain, and depressive symptoms.
As elderly adults are faced with greater disability and decline in function, they become less focused on what they cannot do and shift to assessing quality of life by what they can still do. Quality of life for these elderly adults is most closely related to dignity and a sense of control in daily aspects of their lives.
Those using wheelchairs may feel inferior because they are less likely to participate in activities outside of their homes. When they are unable to participate in the community, a large part of the ‘human experience’ is lost. Feelings of isolation and dependency on others are reported. Additionally, males using wheelchairs have described their experience as feeling vulnerable, powerless, and depressed.
The Experience of Being Grounded: A Phenomenological Study of Living with a Wheelchair
Barlew, L ; Secrest, J ; Guo, ZB ; Fell, N ; Haban, G
Rehabilitation Nursing, 2013, Vol.38(4), pp.193-201 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
In 2012, 46.3 per cent of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4 per cent of working-age non-disabled people. There is therefore a 30.1 percentage point gap between disabled and non-disabled people, representing over two million people. The gap has reduced by ten percentage points over the last 14 years and has remained stable over the last two years despite the economic climate (Papworth Trust, Facts and Figures 2012)
Over a quarter of disabled people say that they do not frequently have a choice and control over their daily lives. (Office of National Statistics, Opinions Survey, 2011)
Disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work than non-disabled people. In 2008, 19 per cent of disabled people experienced unfair treatment at work compared to 13 per cent of non-disabled people. (Fair treatment at work 2008)
Around a third of disabled people experience difficulties related to their impairment in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services. (ONS opinion survey 2012)
Disabled people remain significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure and sporting activities than non-disabled people.
Around one third of disabled people experience difficulties related to their impairment in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services. (Office for Disability Issues; Taking Part Survey, 2012)
A substantially higher proportion of individuals who live in families with disabled members live in poverty, compared to individuals who live in families where no-one is disabled.
19 per cent of individuals in families with at least one disabled member live in relative income poverty, on a before housing costs basis, compared to 15 per cent of individuals in families with no disabled member
21 per cent of children in families with at least one disabled member are in poverty, a significantly higher proportion than the 16 per cent of children in families with no disabled member. (Office for Disability Issues; Family Resources Survey 2011/2012)
The poverty rate for disabled adults in the UK (30 per cent) is twice as high as that for non-disabled adults. (Papworth, Disability in the United Kingdom 2013
Around a fifth of disabled people report having difficulties related to their impairment or disability in accessing transport (Office for disability issues 2012)
60 per cent of disabled people have no car available to the household, compared to 27 per cent of the overall population. (Parliament Environment Audit Committee, Written evidence submitted by Transport for All, 12 September 2012)
In 2012, 37.4 per cent of disabled people who don’t work reported that they would like to work (Office for Disability Issues, Disability Equality Indicators, last updated 13 December 2011)
One in six of those who become disabled while in work lose their employment during the first year after becoming disabled. (Disability in the United Kingdom 2012 IPPR report: Work for Disabled People)
80 per cent of all those who become disabled are in employment at the time they acquire a disability, only 60 per cent are employed the following year, and 36 per cent the year after that. (Disability in the United Kingdom 2012 DWP in-house Report No.109)
750,000 wheelchair users in the UK ( Papworth Trust 2011)
Estimated to be 40k people paralysed in the UK ( Right at Home)
1,200 people are paralysed each year from a spinal cord injury in the Uk. (Right at Home)
5.3 million Disabled men in the UK. (Disability in the United Kingdom 2012 (DWP Family Resources Survey 2010/11)
5.9 million Disabled women in the UK. (Disability in the United Kingdom 2012 (DWP Family Resources Survey 2010/11)
Almost one in five people in the UK have a disability. (Legacy for disabled people case, October 2012)
Around one in 20 children are disabled compared to around one in five working age adults, and almost one in two people over state pension age. (Family Resources Survey, ODI Life Opportunities Survey 2011)
Only 17 per centof disabled people were born with impairments. The majority of disabled people acquire their impairments during their working lives. (English Federation of Disability Sport, Papworth Trust – Disability in the UK fact and figures, September 2012)
At least 56 per cent of all disabled people have an impairment relating to mobility. liveability.org.uk Office for disability issues
four out of five disabled people acquire their disability during their lives. liveability.org.uk NHS
By 2020 it is estimated that nearly 60 per cent of people over 50 will have a long-term health condition. liveability.org.uk NHS
In 2012/13, disabled people (29.3 per cent) were far less likely to participate in sport compared to those without a longstanding illness or disability (51.4 per cent). Ons taking part survey
Global numbers of wheelchair users
2002 US census shows 2.8m people ( young and old) use wheelchairs. This is c one per cent of the US 300m population
2011 research by Papworth Trust shows c750,000 wheelchair users in the UK. This is c 1.1 per cent of the UK population of 61m
Assuming a similar distribution across the globe would give c69m
Based on a world population of 6.9bn, source UN world population prospects 2012 revisions.
7m carers in the Uk and numbers predicted to rise.
950,000 carers aged over 65
290,000 carers aged 16 – 24
4.2m carers are of working age
employment rate is for carers is 67 per cent
Based on the above c1.39m carers are not in employment
Source for all : Carers Trust
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Contact: Tricia Fox