Grippoz - new wheelchair push-rim covers

This is our first blog post on Bespoken. We're in the process of crowd-funding to get a great new wheelchair product into production - at least we think it's great! - and would value any feedback or advice from the Bespoken community.

We're a small charity in Eastern Perthshire which helps individuals and groups with enterprise ideas - and last year Paul & Diana came to see us. Paul had created a new push-rim cover for manual wheelchairs to help his partner, Diana, to self-propel. She had been very ill, with a stroke and heart attack following a thrombosis - resulting in a leg amputation. She didn't have the strength to self-propel her wheelchair and was completely dependent on Paul, even to get round the house. With a background as a joiner and mould-maker, Paul made a prototype pair of Grippoz with a wooden mould in his garden shed. 

Made from silicone, with dimples for grip, the covers slip easily onto the metal push-rim. As soon as Diana put them onto her wheelchair, she was able to self-propel and gained her independence. She also found that people wanted to stop and speak to her because of her bright pink Grippoz!

So many people expressed interest in getting a pair, we put our heads together and decided to set up a social enterprise to produce and market Grippoz across the UK and beyond. To raise the funding for the steel injection moulds, we set up a Kickstarter campaign. And from now until 8th December, we want to encourage as many people as possible to pledge small donations or pre-buy Grippoz to reach our target of £22,500. Please share the link with your friends and family and help us to make Grippoz available to all wheelchair users:

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Comment by Diana Stewart on November 27, 2014 at 14:22

Hi Linda.

Thanks for your comments.

Grippoz do so much for Diana i couldn't not try & bring Grippoz to the market as so many people stopped & asked us where we got them from, because of the lack of products on the market for propellers as Diana would say.

The feel is what any wheelchair user would crave for & being anti microbial 99.9% germ free this will help will health & hygiene issues for people who have problematic issues with they're hands for whatever reason. Just resting your hands on Grippoz is awesome to touch & feel yourself moving without the effort required to move with the smooth shiny push rims they expect you to propel with. These people who make chairs obviously don't use they're own apparatus for long enough to understand the issues related to being in a wheelchair.

Diana & I got with Growbiz our Enterprise support company to help us set up a Social Enterprise to help the community in Perthshire, to create jobs & invest in making new products for the disability market & other markets that need a little bit of silicone here & there. I've seen the problems with some items we come in contact with everyday that need an addition to help, just like Grippoz for wheelchair users. There is so much i see that needs re invented because it's time is up & needs replaced with a better product.

Hope you've managed to have a look at our kickstarter campaign Linda & spread the word as Grippoz will make a difference to anyone who uses a wheelchair, Diana is living proof after a heart attack 2 strokes an amputation lives with Diabetese & Coeliac to throw in to the mix, oh, one more, osteoporosis aswell. Lets hope there is no more to come in our path, as a break would be good. That is how it all started by going to Cyprus in 2004, a year after we got together. Then the knock on effect happens when dealing with issues of any kind of transformation in your health, from being up there to down here. I understand the issues Diana has & want to help as many people who want to feel free & independent and dream of that day when they have a air of Grippoz on they're chair.

We visited the Lynch sports centre in Dundee to see the Dundee Dragons last Saturday where the kids tried out Grippoz which i have too say brought a tear to both our eyes as it was an event we had waited so long to see. It touches at the strings seeing children benefiting from Grippoz & enjoying themselves. Hopefully we will succeed in bringing Grippoz to the market for wheelchair users who want freedom & independence to all ages, especially our children as they are our future. So lets hope & pray to the Lord we are successful.

Thanks for viewing Linda. Take caare



Comment by Linda Jane McLean on November 21, 2014 at 16:35

Really great idea.

When I worked as a ward Sister in an orthopaedic ward, a patient came to me with a brilliant idea.

He was severely disabled by a spinal injury, and found self - propelling difficult. Being from an engineering background, he realised that he would achieve more forward thrust if the wheelchair spokes  were larger. (Just looking at the chair in your picture reminds me of how skinny they are!) He also understood that he had to manage this without making the chair considerable heavier.

He gathered a few of his engineering friends together, and they produced and fitted  hollow lightweight spokes, which did very little to alter the appearance of the chair, but which allowed him far greater propulsion, and changed his life.  He took the idea to Bioengineering where they said: "very good! You've solved your problem!"

There was no interest in the fact that this might - just MIGHT - be useful to others. I'll never forget his disappointment: so well done for listening and understanding!


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