Mobility Equipment Provision & Family Support

Why is mobility equipment so important?

Mobility equipment will allow an individual greater freedom of movement, and in the case of powered wheelchairs, will often free them from needing someone to push the wheelchair from place to place. This will give family and friends a break from the physical work of transporting someone with a physical disability. Often someone will be using equipment that is old and unsuitable, and causing physical pain; Action For Kids will help to find equipment recommended by an Occupational Therapist as being the most suitable to their physical needs.

How do I apply for mobility equipment?

You can email or write to our Family Support department at Action For Kids, 15A Tottenham Lane, London N8 9DJ or call us on: 020 8347 8111.

What is Family Support?

Family Support is there to provide advice, support, or just a friendly ear for people who are affected by disability. It can be hard sometimes, whether for a disabled person, a family member, or a carer, and our Family Support is there when needed, whether by phone or email, and sometimes in person.

How long does the application process take for mobility equipment?

We cannot give a definitive time scale on applications, however we endeavour to process completed applications as quickly as possible, waiting time is approximately 6-8 months.

Is there an age limit on applying for mobility equipment?

Yes. Eligibility on mobility equipment and maintenance support applications is up to the age of 26.

What sort of mobility equipment do you provide funding for?

We provide funding for a range of mobility equipment including customised powered wheelchairs and tricycles, walkers and specialist buggies, adaptive seating, other therapeutic aids and communication aids.

Do you provide funding for the full cost of the equipment?

In certain circumstances we can provide full funding for mobility equipment in two distinct ways:

Permanent Loan - this scheme applies to more sophisticated, customised mobility equipment, such as powered wheelchairs. We provide them on permanent loan, which enables the Trust to assist with maintenance and repair. The scheme also enables Action For Kids to update equipment when required and to pass on pieces of equipment to other beneficiaries if and when the initial beneficiary no longer requires it.

Gifted outright - this applies to equipment that does not generally require on-going maintenance and repair and is therefore gifted outright to the beneficiary and their family.

Joint funding proposals are encouraged.

What are the benefits of providing mobility equipment to disabled children and young people?

A sophisticated powered wheelchair and other mobility aids, in conjunction with support and advice offered via our Family Support means simply that a disabled child or young person is more able to realise their full potential. The effects can be profound - with greater levels of freedom and personal independence their self-esteem, confidence and ability to participate in everyday family life changes dramatically.

Having the facility to move around more independently, go out to play with friends, take a more active role in school or college life, and get involved in social and sporting activities, often for the first time, has a massive impact on their lives and personal development. This newfound independence has a similarly profound effect on parents and carers, alleviating some of the pressures associated with caring for siblings with profound, physical disabilities.

Does the National Health Service provide mobility equipment and offer support to children and their families?

The NHS, via their Wheelchair Services, offer a basic range of mobility equipment and services for disabled children, but unfortunately, due to financial restraints and ever growing demand, these services are often unable to cater for individual needs, in particular when addressing the needs of children with profound conditions. Action For Kids do work closely with the NHS wheelchair services, when possible, to improve the diversity of provision and to increase the number of children we can help.

How do Action For Kids establish which piece of mobility equipment is most appropriate for a child's needs?

Action For Kids works closely with experienced therapists across the country. All qualified physio and occupational therapists have specialist knowledge in addressing the mobility needs of disabled children and young people. As part of the application process, a comprehensive assessment of a child's needs is carried out to make sure the equipment we provide best addresses their individual needs. Working in close partnership with these professionals ensures that the advice and support our Family Support team offers to families is thorough and comprehensive.

Why are electric powered wheelchairs and other mobility equipment so expensive?

Customised equipment is expensive. It is not mass-produced as it has to meet individual needs. A limited marketplace and a lack of competition can push prices even higher. However, Action For Kids have over 20 years of experience in the provision of mobility equipment and in that time have developed a strong network of relationships with suppliers, which enable us to negotiate significant discounts.

Why is the number of disabled children increasing in the UK?

With a greater number of children surviving premature births as well as advances in medicine and with more individuals living with injuries caused by accidents the number of children and young people with disabilities is increasing. As our own service provision statistics show (see our Impact Report 2006), demand on all our services continues to grow.