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August 22, 2018

Grant amount: £3,000

Go Kids Go (Association of Wheelchair Children)

  • Grant programme: Positive Futures
  • Region: South East

Towards the cost of Wheelchair Skills Workshops in the South East

About the organisation

Go Kids Go are a small national charity and have been running wheelchair skills training for young wheelchair users since 1990. Our inclusive family friendly training sessions are open to all young wheelchair users aged 18 months to 18 years and are free of charge to families attending. Our unique program of wheelchair skills training has been carefully developed to help improve attendees independence and confidence.

Organisation’s objectives

Go Kids Go aims to ensure that as many young wheelchair users as possible have access to free wheelchair skills training across the uk. Our training is designed to enable independence and ensure that young people who have a physical disability are able to reach their full potential.

About the project

Wheelchair Skills Workshops- South East England

Across England & Wales when a physically disabled child is provided with a wheelchair they are given very little, if any, training on how to use their chair. There is absolutely no statutory responsibility for the NHS/Wheelchair Services to provide training. This very often leaves the child completely dependent on their parents/carers and relatives to push them around, greatly restricting their mobility and independence. We are the only charity in the UK providing this inclusive training and know that there is a real need for our specialised workshops.

The workshops cover all essential wheelchair skills such as back wheel balancing for manual wheelchair users (essential for negotiating small bumps, rough ground, kerbs and single steps), manoeuvring skills for both manual and powered wheelchair users, road safety, emergency evacuation skills and general safe wheelchair use. A key feature of our wheelchair skills workshops is that they introduce children at a very young age to wheelchair sports and many of our service users have gone on to great sporting achievements.

Impact of PHF’s support

With the support of the Peter Harrison Foundation we were able to deliver 4 wheelchair skills workshops in the South East in 2022/2023. We had a total of 108 beneficiaries across all 4 workshops, including 36 young wheelchair users, their parents/carers and siblings. We were able to deliver workshops in Surrey, Oxfordshire, Sussex and set up a new workshop in Kent. When possible we aim to return to areas with proven need once a year, funding and capacity allowing.

The young wheelchair users in attendance presented with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and various rare genetic or neurological conditions. The youngest participant was 3 and the oldest 18, we work with young wheelchair users from age 18 months to 18 years. Of the 36 young wheelchair users who joined us, 22 were new to us and received wheelchair skills training for the first time. Many of our families attend year on year and develop skills. Many young adult wheelchair users who have benefitted from our training as a child return in a volunteer or peer support capacity. We believe this is an important opportunity for them, giving them a chance to inspire the next generation.

How does the organisation exemplify PHF’s values?

The Go Kids Go strives for excellence across all areas of the delivery of our workshops. Using feedback to inform our practice we ensure that our workshops are nothing short of excellent and benefit our service users holistically. Based on feedback from across all regions, 100% of parents reported that their child enjoyed the workshop, 97% reported that they saw an increase in their child’s wheelchair skills with 96% reporting increased confidence and 99% would recommend the workshops to other families/young wheelchair users.

The training program has developed from the identified need in the 1990s for wheelchair skills training for young people. We have developed and adapted this program over the years to meet the needs of families across the uk. In addition we have developed a program of wheelchair skills awareness sessions, which we deliver in school and community settings. Our work is informed by the feedback from families and young wheelchair users who access our training.

The charity has invested in its own office and storage facilities in Beverley, East Yorkshire and we maintain good running cost reserves to ensure sustainability.