Category Archives: Disability

Product News – Garden Scoot

Mobile garden stool with wheels and tray beneath

Garden Scoot – Gardening Seat with Wheels in Lilac

Gardening is a hugely popular hobby that many people enjoy and it can be a great activity in retirement, to keep you fit and healthy.  Spending time in the fresh air is a wonderful form of relaxation, but gardening can be physically hard on your back and knees, and it can be quite challenging for anyone with reduced mobility or who are unsteady on their feet.

Gardening seat with wheels in Pink designed2enable.co.uk

Garden Scoot – Gardening Stool with Wheels in Pink

Garden Scoot  is lightweight yet sturdy, it makes light work of gardening, and can be manoeuvred around the garden with ease. Available in a wide range of fun colours, with solid tyres for easy maintenance, the Scoot can move in a sideways direction and it has a handy removable tray beneath the seat for holding tools, bulbs or small plants.

garden scoot gardening stool with wheels in orange

Garden Scoot – Gardening Stool with Wheels in Orange

Garden Scoot would make a great gift for any keen gardener. Read more about it here

Guest Post – Accomable recommend their top accessible city breaks

Accomable logo

Srin Madipalli, CEO and Co-founder of Accomable.com, the ‘Airbnb for disabled people’, shares his top tips for the best accessible city breaks in 2017.

Wheelchair accessible Barcelona

Barcelona City Centre

Barcelona –best for couples, culture vultures and foodies

Travel as a wheelchair user is rarely straightforward, but last summer I came to the conclusion that Barcelona is probably the most fun and accessible place in Europe I’ve visited.

First up: Barcelona has it all: iconic sights (tick!), a beautiful beach (tick!), lovely people and even better food (all present and correct!). Flights are plentiful and cheap and once you arrive, pretty much all of these attractions are accessible – from easy access to Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia to wheelchair friendly walkways along the beach (and free beach wheelchairs available too!).

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

There is an awesome adapted apartment in Barcelona: MICs Sant Jordi is a block of cool, brilliantly adapted accessible apartments near the city centre of Barcelona. It’s simple, stylish and budget friendly too.

Finally, lots of the public transport is wheelchair accessible, including the Metro. This actually blew me away.

Discover more Barcelona accessible accommodation online.

Winchester – best for nature lovers, history buffs and foodies

Winchester was voted the best place to live in the UK last year, and it’s easy to see why, with its grand cathedral, excellent independent shops and thriving foodie scene.

The best way to explore is to follow the mile long accessible trail through Winchester, which takes you along the high street, into the cathedral (the ground floor is accessible) and onto Winchester College and Wolvesey Castle.

There is a good, budget accessible hotel in Winchester city centre, but if you have a car, there are some fantastic luxury options in the surrounding countryside, including one of my favourites, Wallops Wood.

Accessible accommodation  Winchester

Interior of Wallops Wood, Winchester

Discover more Winchester accessible accommodation online.

Amsterdam – best for art lovers, activity junkies and easy Eurostar access

city of Amsterdam

What with all the crazy cyclists, cobbled streets and tram tracks, you might not consider Amsterdam to be a great accessible destination. But think again, because the city has some brilliant accessible offerings, with many wheelchair-friendly trams and buses, and easy access to world class museums like the Rijksmuseum.

Check out the Blue Boat Company for accessible tours on the canals or join the locals with one of Star Bikes’ specially adapted cycles.

Star Bikes amsterdam

Star Bike Hire

There’s lots of good accessible accommodation in Amsterdam to fit a variety of tastes and budgets. Plus, if you’d prefer not to fly, you can get there by ferry from Harwich or by train by taking the Eurostar to Belgium and then changing trains and taking the Thalys service to Amsterdam.

Discover more about Amsterdam accessible accommodation online.

For more information on Accomable or to book an accessible stay, visit www.accomable.com

3D Screen Printing For Disability

Bespoke 3d prosthetic

Bespoke 3D Prosthetic

Nowadays, anyone can pick up a plastic 3D printer for a couple of hundred pounds and start printing their own limbs. To a certain extent.

Amazing technological advances are allowing scientists to take a 3D scan of an amputee’s arm, 3D print a custom fitted socket for the defective limb overnight, and create a bio-electrically controlled limb with sensors on its muscles which can pick up signals from the brain, so that the hand moves in response to those signals.

Scientists are able to mirror the side that exists and undergo “virtual planning” on the computer, whereby they take data from the functional side and reflect it onto the other side. This process will make prosthetic surgery much more efficient time-wise, with less risk involved and improved outcome.

There are also new materials on the prosthetics scene which complement the 3D printing technology and allow for better integration into the body, such as a honeycomb structure which allows bone to grow and merge with 3D printed scaffolding. In the future, developers hope to print and grow complete organs for our bodies, and print using human stem cells, which are the building blocks for any other cell in our body. Currently, they are able to print basic living structures such as liver cells, and this is significant in regards to drug testing, meaning they can test on 3D printed cells rather than on animals or humans.

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

There are a number of strategic industrial design agencies forging the way in intelligent technological research, improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and amputations. One of these agencies is LayerLAB and their inaugural project “GO”, a made to measure 3D printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles. The custom form of the seat and foot-bay is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support. The accompanying GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying their preferences of colour, elements and patterns.

This is a wonderful example of how we can use 3D printing to offer customisation to the individual customer, and a personalisation of products which allows the wheelchair users to have a greater sense of control around their situation, feeling that the wheelchair is made for them, rather than them having to mould to fit the wheelchair.

 

3d printed wheelchair gloves

Go Gloves Materialise 2016

From this project and the research and interviewing process around it, LayerLAB discovered that a great mental and physical stress for wheelchair users was the strain and effort involved in self-propelling. They developed the GO glove alongside the GO wheelchair, where the glove grips more efficiently to the wheelchair push rims. The user can lock into the push rims and get a greater power-to-push ratio, taking some of the strain of their arm, neck and shoulder muscles, and reducing the exhaustion and injury induced by self-propelling, which so many wheelchair users suffer from.

 

Philip the duck 3d printing

Philip the duck with his 3D printed feet

The story of Phillip the duck is another example of the far-reaching potential of 3D printing technology. Phillip lost his feet from frostbite, and was rescued by a teacher in Wisconsin, who was considering having him put down, due to his immobility. A local teacher had recently purchased a 3D printer and, with the help of his students, was able to design Phillip some new prosthetic legs from flexible plastic. The simple design allows the remnants of Phillip’s legs to slot in the top of the prosthetic legs, with flat artificial webbed feet underneath providing stability.

Now Phillip the duck is able to walk again, not quite as nimble as before, but a pretty incredible feat..

Hugh Herr – Double Amputee & Bionics Inventor

Hugh Herr Amputee - Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Hugg Herr; Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Have you ever wondered whether something that is perceived as your shortcoming, something that stops you from living life in a “normal” way, could actually be seen as an opportunity to push past conventional boundaries?

Hugh Herr is doing just that. He has created bionic limbs that are more flexible, more versatile, and much stronger than normal biological limbs, and is challenging our understanding of disability as something that hinders us from doing the things we love. Through his creations he is managing to bridge the gap between disability and ability, and at the same time exploring human limitation and potential.

Herr had both legs amputated below the knee after tissue damage from frostbite in a mountain climbing accident.  He was very well known in climbing circles, and at 17 years old, he had scaled cliff faces that no adult had ever attempted before. As a teenage climbing phenomenon, he met fellow climber Jeff Batzer and together decided to scale Mount Washington in New Hampshire. As they set out, avalanche conditions set in, but they kept going in the snow, believing it mild enough to manage, enjoying themselves. The conditions got worse, visibility was poor, and they got higher and higher on the mountain and further north, meaning further away from civilisation. They realised they needed to turn around, but Herr fell through ice during a river crossing and lost body heat and precious energy. After three days on the mountain they were eventually rescued, but Herr’s legs were severely frostbitten and gangrene was threatening to creep into the rest of his body. Seven surgeries later and doctors were still unable to get blood flowing back into his feet. His legs were amputated just below the knees, and he was fitted with legs made from plaster of paris. He cried every day for two years, his main focus not so much walking again, but whether he could climb. All he wanted was to feel normal again.

Image: Heinz Award

Image: Heinz Award

A few months after his surgery, he was fitted with a pair of acrylic legs, and took himself back into the mountains. As he climbed he realised that the real parts of his body got colder and achier, while his artificial limbs had no muscle fatigue whatsoever. He could also move a lot more quickly, because the amputations had left him 14 pounds lighter. This was when he had the realisation that fake limbs could possibly outperform real ones. A life changing realisation and one that set him on the path to creating dynamic bionic limbs that moved and felt better than real ones.

He realised there was a gap in artificial limb technology for bionic limbs – data driven creations rather than artisan crafted. So he filled that gap.

hugh herr double amputee

image: Shaun G Henry for Forbes

How do his legs work? There are three interfaces – mechanical, dynamic, and electrical.

Mechanically, he discovered a way to attach the limbs to the body in a comfortable and durable way – a relief for anyone who wears an artificial limb and endures the pain where the artificial and biological limbs meet. Where the body is stiff, he made the synthetic skin soft, and vice versa. This was done through a combination of MRI scans, robotic data and experimenting with different synthetic materials.

Dynamically, it was necessary to understand what each muscle does, how they connect with each other, and how those muscles are controlled by the spine.

Electrically, he realised that to make the limbs feel real, they needed to be a real part of the body, connecting with other processes, most importantly, the nervous system. He modelled the artificial limb on the biological limb, and researched the spinal reflexes and connections between the limb and the brain. He even went a step further, realising that through motor channels we can sense how a person wants to move. He now wears synthetic limbs that move and FEEL like flesh and bone.

Over half the world’s population suffers from some kind of cognitive, emotional sensory and motor condition, and due to poor technology these conditions so often end up as some form of disability.

Herr believes every person should have the right to live life without disability. To be able to see a loved one even with impaired sight, to be able to live without severe depression, to walk or dance in the case of limb paralysis or amputation.

Herr is shifting our viewpoint on disability and amputation, from the belief that a person is broken, to the idea that our environment is disabled and inadequate. A broken body is not a broken person.

He is passionate about bringing this innovative technology to the people that need it.

For more information on Hugh Herr and his work, see his Ted Talk, “The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb and Dance”:

 

 

Surf Therapy

Adapted Surfboard for disabiity

Image: Surfability

Surf’s Up!

An exciting new development in surf technology is making headway for wheelchair users to experience the waves first hand.

Cerebra Innovation Centre,  in partnership with Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy, have begun designing bespoke surf boards for people with limited mobility and neurological difficulties, allowing wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water.

Kai Lewis is a thirteen year old boy from Port Talbot, who suffered a stroke at age one and consequently lives with cerebral palsy.  He helped to test out the new products recently out on the water at Llangennith Beach in West Wales. Onlookers watched as Kai surfed his first wave, with a little help from his tandem surfer, a trained surf instructor riding on the back of his board. The board is a pioneer surf product, with a supportive “bucket” seat and space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. Kai had a very successful day out on the water, catching waves with a huge grin on his face and his mother looking on proudly.

Adapted surfboard

Image: Surfability

Surfability UK (surfing for disabled children) and Tonic Surf Therapy (working with surf and ocean therapy programmes in the UK and the USA) have teamed up with Cerebra Innovation Clinic to develop this product. Surfability UK was founded in 2013, as a response to increasing demand for inclusive surfing lessons that would allow people living with disabilities to experience the surf first hand. They design specific surf lessons and experiences for groups and individuals based on their needs, in a safe and supportive environment. Amongst their equipment are Tandem Surfboards, Surfing Helmets, Buoyancy Aids and Beach Access Wheelchairs. They also use innovative communication with IPad software to ensure clear communication and instruction between teacher and student.

They aren’t the first to make progress in making surf more accessible to wheelchair users, but they are the first to create individualised products for specific conditions.  Ross Head, CIC Product Design Manager, says that “since its inception, CIC has made a tremendous difference to the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK. The unique strategic vision for CIC means that we are able to respond to individual requests for help and can make small numbers of bespoke products that focus heavily on individual requirements and inclusion into society.”

Overall, the day was a great success, supported by top weather conditions and a supportive team by Kai’s side. His mother,  Leanne Lewis, expressed her pride, saying “hopefully it’s going to get more children out of their wheelchairs… The more you can get them out the better.” Most exciting is what these continuing innovations in surf and mobility technology represent for the future, for wheelchair users, and for surf lovers alike. If you’re a surfer, or you simply love the water, you’ll know the thrill of the wave, and the residual calm, and how the water becomes like a meditation when you immerse yourself in it. Everyone deserves to experience that feeling, and now they can, thanks to CIC, Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy.

For more information on innovative surf technology and therapy, take a look at the following:
Surfability UK:  http://www.surfabilityukcic.org/
Cerebra: http://w3.cerebra.org.uk/
Tonic Surf Therapy: http://www.cynnalycardi.org.uk/

Author credit:  Rosie Moreton for designed2enable.co.uk

Product News: Treat-Eezi Pressure Sore Mattress Topper

 

Treat-Eezi Pressure Sore Mattress Overlay

Treat-Eezi Pressure Sore Mattress Overlay

Pressure ulcers or bed sores are an injury that breaks down the skin and underlying tissue. They are caused when an area of skin is placed under pressure and the circulation to that area is restricted.

People over the age of 70, are more likely to develop a pressure sore as they have restricted mobility and ageing skin. Those with type 2 diabetes, spinal injury and other health conditions are particularly vulnerable to pressure sores. Pressure ulcers can range in severity from patches of discoloured skin to open wounds that expose the underlying bone or muscle. Once they have developed, pressure sores are incredibly hard to treat and repair can take months.

Pressure ulcer mattress

Pressure ulcer mattress

Prevention of pressure sores is therefore the best approach and the new Treat-Eezi Mattress has been designed to be compact, portable and comfortable. Treat-Eezi is deceptively soft but provides the correct cushioning and pressure relieving support. The breathable fabric technology regulates the body’s temperature and wicks away moisture, reducing the problems of friction and chaffing caused by sweating.

The thousands of polyester fibres in the multiple layers of the Treat-Eezi pad combine to conform to the natural body contours in both supine and seated positions thereby offering pressure relief well below that of normal capillary blood flow hence skin breakdown and shearing, plus friction are simply diminished.

Treat-Eezi also doubles as a chair pad for additional protection whilst seated. We recommend that pad is folded and always used on a foam based chair.

Further information on Treat-Eezi Pressure Sore Mattress Topper can be found HERE

 

Top & Derby: The Design Interview

designed2enable has a few words with Matt and Ben of Canadian design company Top & Derby, the people behind our beautiful new Chatfield Canes and Compression Socks.

Trendy contemporary walking stick

Top & Derby Canes 

Ben: Matt and I met while working for the international furniture retailer, EQ3. I did store planning and design for the each of the company’s corporate stores and independent retail partners around the world. Matt worked as an independent product designer, and designed many of the company’s top selling upholstery and casegood items.

We saw there was a gap in the home healthcare market for well-designed products, and from this little spark, Top & Derby was born.

d2e: What inspired you to focus on healthcare products and on the Chatfield cane as your launch product?

Matt: Although we would have loved to design and launch a large portfolio of products, we decided to focus initially on one product in order to test the market. Since walking canes were once used as a fashion accessory, and they are currently the most frequently used mobility accessory, we decided to launch a cane as our first product.

Additionally, the Chatfield was designed to be a simple and beautiful product, crafted of premium materials. We wanted people to be excited by the cane that they use, since many people are embarrassed to use a cane. Essentially, we started with a product that we felt our customers would be proud to own.

Top & Derby 3 canes resize

d2e: Was there a particular person who inspired you to produce such a dandy cane?

Matt: We didn’t have one particular person in mind when we designed the Chatfield. We thought about every person who uses clinical looking home healthcare products and how we could enhance their lives; we didn’t think it was fair that there was limited choice in the products that they were using. Overall, our goal with Top & Derby has been to make an impact on the industry with unique, design-driven home healthcare products.

Medical socks for tired legs

Top & Derby Compression Socks

d2e: Why did you choose compression socks for your second product?

Ben: We decided to launch compression socks because they represent a meaningful product extension for the Top & Derby product range. Like canes, compression socks are also fashion accessories for people who use home healthcare products. We’ve been delighted with the reception to our decidedly different sock designs.

d2e: You launched your products with Kickstarter funding. Did you have an overwhelming response to the Kickstarter campaign? Can you give us any insight into the pros and cons of the crowdfunding process?

Ben: Kickstarter is a topic that we could write a book about; we’ve launched two crowdfunding campaigns and have become quite intimate with the process of it. We have been fortunate to receive funding through both of our campaigns, but we don’t take for granted the hard work that goes into planning a successful campaign.

In a nutshell, the pros of crowdfunding are twofold.

1) It gives people the opportunity to access capital, test the market with an idea, and generate pre-sales for a product before it goes into production.

2) Crowdfunding provides people the opportunity to gain exposure in the market – sometimes through press and other times through organic site traffic – which helps to generate awareness for both a product and company.

Often, the biggest pitfall for crowdfunders is underestimating the capital required to launch a project. Underestimating capital can compromise a person’s ability to be able to deliver on his or her promises further down the road. Fortunately, we have not encountered these issues. Prior to launching each of our campaigns, we have been quite diligent in fully understanding the strategy and economics of crowdfunding.

Compression flight socks

bare black2_S[2]

d2e: Can you share any information on the design process and how long it took to design the canes.

Matt: The design process for our canes, and for all of our products in development, is often quite long. Ben and I often jam on product concepts, then I start drawing rough sketches. Eventually these sketches are turned into renderings and we will build some rapid (rough) prototypes before finding factories that we might want to work with to produce our designs. Once we narrow down the factories that we want to work with, we get some pre-production prototypes built and refine them until we are happy for them to go into production.

d2e: What challenges/setbacks did you come up against in manufacturing the products – or did the whole process run very smoothly? 

Matt: The most challenging thing about manufacturing any type of product is finding high quality manufacturers that can deliver on the vision we have for a product. Since our products often combine multiple materials, it can be challenging to find one manufacturer with the capabilities to produce products that use many different materials and manufacturing processes.

d2e: How do you select the manufacturers that produce your products? Did they have to meet certain criteria?

Matt: We spend a great deal of time finding the high quality manufacturing partners. Once we design rough prototypes, the longest part of the development cycle is finding manufacturers that we want to work with.

d2e: Have you had any specific feedback from retailers/design institutes and the general public? Are the larger department stores buying into the idea?

Ben: The general public (who use home healthcare products) seem to really resonate with the T&D brand and what we are trying to achieve. Larger department stores are not as open to the idea, since they don’t believe that consumers want design-driven home healthcare products. However, we believe that it will only be a matter of time before the market demands it.

If you would like to know more about Top & Derby’s products, check out the Chatfield walking cane and compression socks at designed2enable.co.uk

 

 

National Arthritis Week: 12th – 18th October

Arthritis Research logo

In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis.

Arthritis Research UK are a charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This National Arthritis Week, you are asked to share your stories of living with arthritis to help more people get closer to living free from the pain of arthritis.

Arthritis Research are also raising awareness that on the 25th November, the Government will set out its spending plans for the country in the Comprehensive Spending Review. This will decide how much money is spent on everything: from welfare to healthcare, to support for research. They urge you to tell your MP they must fight for a fair deal for people with arthritis during the Spending Review. Register or sign in to email your MP, and give people with arthritis in your community the champion they need.

The fair deal that is being campaigned for is to make arthritis a public health priority, demanding a commitment  to protect and increase the amount of money councils receive to maintain the health of local resident. Protecting the welfare benefits for disabled people with arthritis and committing to protect and then increase investment in medical research to support the fight to cure arthritis.

You can lend your support to National Arthritis Week by sharing your story here. Your stories will be used to guide the research Arthritis Research UK fund in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Lacing Shoes and Footwear for Disability

Putting on a pair of shoes can be a daily struggle and a chore if you are disabled or elderly.  But shoe designers are coming up with some interesting, futuristic designs that could help make life easier.

As a result of an open letter sent  by a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Nike have developed a cool pair of trainers designed for people with disabilities. Matthew Walzer, then 16, wrote asking Nike to make a pair of accessible shoes that would provide support and a closure system that could be used by everyone.

Nike Flyease

Nike Flyease trainers

In his letter, Matthew said “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday”

In response to his plea, Nike have developed Flyease, a trainer that uses a wrap around zipper system to secure the shoe, whilst a larger opening has been created to make it easier to slide the foot in and out.

In a posting on the Nike website, designer Tinker Hatfield said “While varying levels of mobility make it difficult to provide a universal solution, we feel this is a significant development for anyone who has ever struggled with independently securing their foot within Nike shoes.” Matthew responded by saying “There are not enough ‘thank yous’ in the world to express my undying gratitude.”

Limited quantities of the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE are now available on Nike.com website.

 

Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto has joined forces with Italian shoe maker Vibram to create the Vibram Furoshiki; a minimalist piece of footwear that has been described as Origami for the feet.

Vibram-furoshiki shoes

Vibram Furoshiki

Furoshiki-Vibram-shoes-stretch

Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese technique of cloth wrapping which is still used today for gift wrapping and transporting goods. This ancient technique has been used to create a minimalist piece of footwear with an innovative and anatomical grip sole that literally wraps the shoe in place. This is a really interesting concept which may help those with limited hand dexterity. You could imagine they would feel like second skin footwear; whether they will be waterproof or more of a slipper shoe is unclear but we will watch the shoe’s progress with interest.

 

Later this year, Nike is planning to release the Nike AIr MAG, a pair of self-lacing shoes, inspired by the time travel film  ’Back to the Future II’ worn by the fictional character Marty McFly when he is transported in the movie to 2015.

nike-mag-2015-release

Nike Air MAG

Rollers embedded in the sole of the Nike Air MAG  would be activated by a control system which senses weight in the sole of the shoe. The power laces then respond by tightening and wrapping themselves around the shoe. Teasers have been dropped recently by Nike’s designer Tinker Hatfield as to the launch date later this year for the Air MAG so watch this space…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog: By Gemma Flanagan for Models of Diversity #disabilityfight4fashionright Tour

 

Gemma Tour2

Gemma Flanagan

I am like most Liverpool lovelies, I love fashion and feeling glamorous is not just a description, it is a way of life. Things changed a bit for me in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS), which left me in hospital for the best part of a year fighting against it and then in intensive rehabilitation. As a result of my illness I can no longer walk or stand unaided & rely mainly on a wheelchair. Throughout my life, fashion has always been a massive part of who I am and something I enjoy spending time on, so why should it not still be now. Like millions of others living with disabilities, I buy the magazines, brands and products but we are in no way represented by them…why not?!? In this day and age it is crazy that we are still discriminated against in this way.

It is so hard to believe that in 2015, we are still having to fight against discrimination and inequality. But this is exactly what we at Models of Diversity (http://www.modelsofdiversity.org) are doing. The amazing Angel Sinclair (CEO of Models of Diversity), started up MOD in 2008, and since has been tirelessly campaigning for more diversity within fashion. I discovered this not for profit organisation a few years ago, and it has really been a saviour to me. Meeting Angel and all the team, I discovered that despite my outward appearance and abilities changing, I was still me and was able to pursue modelling now as a model with disabilities.

Chelsey Jay, from Essex, the Director for disabled models has used a wheelchair for a number of years as a result of a condition she developed called POTS (Postural Tachycardia syndrome), through which she faints if she attempts to stand up. Chelsey has worked so hard in trying to bring about change for the better, through pushing boundaries with brands and labels, arranging meetings with head offices and getting our name out there through media. Despite her determination unfortunately we are still battling.

Gemma Tour4

Gemma and Chelsea Jay

To try and stop the inequality for good, Chelsey and Angel came up with the idea for a campaign which will hopefully change the inequality in fashion for good. The campaign will involve us touring around the UK to major cities, gaining the support of the public. Chelsey has got the backing of Kate Green MP who has helped put together a petition, meaning once we obtain enough signatures and present it to parliament, attention will have to be given to this matter. This would mean that disabled models would be used as regularly as any other model. Once we have the signatures required we can present it to parliament showing we have the support of the public and we would then need to be listened to seriously.

Gemma Tour1

Together with Chelsey and myself, our #disabilityfight4fashionright tour is made up of two other gorgeous models. Elesha Turner, from Hastings who relies on a crutch after having major surgery to battle cancer in her thigh bone has had a major successes worldwide since becoming a model with disabilities. And also Katie Knowles, from Newcastle who uses a crutch after spinal surgery a number of years ago for treatment of disc degenerative disease and spinal stenosis, who is passionate about being a part of this change and making people take notice of us as models with disabilities.

As we are a not for profit organisation, nothing that any of our team do is funded in any way, so in order for this tour and campaign to go ahead we are in need of support. As we all live in different parts of the UK, there will be substantial travel that needs to be funded so we can get this tour up and running. We are looking for organisations, businesses or individuals who can provide financial support to the tour to simply fund travel costs or indeed help us with travel in any way. We will have both local and national press coverage in each location which will be amazing publicity for any company wanting to help us. We will ensure your organisation/business receives credit in any press that we do, and can discuss brand promotion etc too if applicable. The cities we will be touring are; Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Essex, Birmingham and Brighton (though we would love to add more cities depending on funding). In return for any support, we would also (where appropriate) provide ourselves as models for photo-shoot to promote your organisation, brand or products completely fee free.

Gemma Tour3

We have set up a ‘go fund me’ page (http://www.gofundme.com/vrusu7q), which any kind hearted individuals can make donations to. Literally we are truly grateful of any donation no matter how small or large. Please feel free to get in touch if you can help and please share to others, who you think may be interested in helping in any way:

 

Gemma@modelsofdiversity.org

Social media handles:

Twitter – @modsofdiversity

Instagram – @modelsofdiversity

#disabilityfight4fashionright

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