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Could You Make a Difference?

Could you spare a little time?

The Disability Resource Centre invites you to join its Board of Trustees and share your experience, thoughts and ideas to help the Centre be the best it can be.

The Centre was founded to assist disabled people, together with their families and friends, to maintain a safe independent lifestyle in their own homes and with their outdoor mobility.

We are now recruiting Trustees to help the Centre continue to provide its valuable service and to assist in moving it forward to meet the ever changing needs of its clientele. Being a Trustee is a way to give back to the community and can also be a great career boost!

If this is something that you feel may interest you, ring 01745 341967 and have a chat to Sue Edwards, Centre Manager.

omeo powerchair

Omeo by Adapt Ability: How The Access To Work Scheme Could Help You

If you haven’t already seen it, the Omeo is a revolutionary new power chair that moves following your body movement. This two-wheeled self-balancing chair allows you to explore the outdoors in a completely new way. 

They may be out of budget for many people, but there are other ways you could secure your Omeo. The Access To Work scheme is a government scheme, available to help people get or stay in the workplace if they have a physical or mental health condition, illness or a disability. Regardless of your income or most benefits, you may be eligible for support to get your very own Omeo. 

Don’t worry about applying on your own. This can be a daunting step, but there is support out there who can guide you through the process of applying for government funding, which you can learn more about here. 

mobility scooter

Pros & Cons Of Buying A Second-hand Mobility Scooter

There are many reasons why you should buy a second hand mobility scooter. Typically, when buying secondhand, you can receive the item quickly, whereas when purchasing new, you may have to wait for a period of time for manufacture and delivery. It costs less and very often there is no delivery charge. In these days of climate change, it is more environmentally friendly to reuse.

Environmental Impact

When buying second-hand, the item already exists, so you are giving a new life to a product. In today's push for environmental improvement, reusing items that already exist reduces waste, giving the mobility scooter a second life.

When buying a mobility scooter, there are many factors to consider before choosing;

  • Where are you going to use it? 
  • Where are you going to store it?
  • Is there an electrical socket close by for charging purposes? 
  • Will you need to put it into the car? If so, is the car boot big enough? Will you be able to lift it in and out? Have you used one before? And if not, where can you get some training?

History of the Mobility Scooter

Another factor you will need to check is the history of the scooter. Questions to ask include;

  • How old is it? And what condition are the batteries in? 
  • Has it been serviced regularly (it should be serviced annually) are the tyres, brakes and horn ok? 
  • Does it have all its original paperwork with it? Ask the owner if you can take it for a test drive. This way you can check the brakes, lights and horn are all working.

It is very important to go and see the mobility scooter before you purchase it. Ideally, if possible, take along someone who has some knowledge of the subject. An extra pair of eyes is always good and best not to meet a stranger when you are on your own.

Personal Requirements

It’s important to make sure the scooter you are buying is suitable for your individual needs and is fit for purpose. You will also need to know that it is the correct one for you as there are various sizes and types of mobility scooter it pays to do your homework before spending any money. Check that it is suitable to carry your weight as different scooters have different weight carrying capacities.

Remember you do have rights when buying second-hand. If the seller makes a specific claim about the item, whether it be about the quality or usage of the item, and this is untrue, you can ask for a refund as it was misrepresented, and could have the potential to be dangerous.

If you get it wrong and choose a mobility scooter that doesn’t meet your expectations, it can be costly to repair. Batteries alone can cost over £100, so it’s always a good idea to get an engineer to test them before you make the purchase. If you do get it right, it can enhance your life giving you much more freedom to get out and about to the shops, the hairdresser, and to meet friends or just to get out into the world again. If you would like further support on choosing the right mobility scooter for you, get in touch on 01745 341967.

The DRC on the BBC

The Disability Resource Centre and LIMB-art were featured on BBC Wales Today, May 17th 2023. Press play below to view the clip.

guide dog

Owning A Pet Whilst Having A Disability 

Having a pet can be one of the most rewarding and loving parts of life, and having a disability doesn’t stop that. There are many other benefits to having a pet whilst having a disability. Our pets can have an advantage on our mental and physical health, making everyday life that little bit better. But, what can our pets actually do to help those with a disability? Let’s find out!

Mental Health

Over 40% of those with a disability have depression, so finding ways to improve their mental health is always a positive step in the right direction. A pet can bring great companionship and allow the powder to create a personal bond. They will have a great responsibility to care for their pets, allowing them something to focus on. 

Relaxation Of Fish

When we think of pets to support our mental health or disability, we often think of dogs, but fish can also have an impact on how you are feeling. Looking at fish in a tank can relieve anxiety and can also slow down heart rate if you watch a fish tank for around 30 minutes a day. This choice is great if you aren’t able to care for larger animals such as cats and dogs. 

Guide Dogs

A guide dog can completely transform a blind person's life, from giving them the confidence to leave the house to completing simple tasks around their home. Guide dogs can also relieve depression and improve cardiovascular health too. Having a pet that needs regular exercise, this will invite the owner to walk more often outdoors, providing additional health benefits. An individual's independence can also increase, as they won’t feel as though they need to rely on another human being to get around, but can put trust on their new furry companion. 

Wheelchair Users

Being in a wheelchair shouldn't stop you from the enjoyment of owning a dog, but there are some things you may have to think about. Adapting the way you walk, play and care for your dog will need to be considered, but it is possible! If you are able to hold a dog lead, then your pet will be able to walk comfortably beside you outdoors. If your pet loves to play outdoors, such as fetch a ball, there are tools such as a tennis ball launcher. Your pet will still be able to run free, plus you can easily pick the ball up when they return the ball (that’s if they do return it).

If you have a small dog who doesn’t require much walking, they may be able to sit on your lap whilst you get some fresh air outdoors. 

Don’t Have A Pet?

If you aren’t able to have a pet due to living situations, cost or any other reason, there are ways you can enjoy the company of pets to improve your mental health. One option is to visit friends and family who have a pet. You could ask to take them for a walk, or simply play with them in the comfort of their own home. 

Alternatively, you could look into fostering pets if you don’t want the full commitment of keeping a pet for a long period of time. There are a plethora of cats and dogs that need foster homes, and you could be the one to give that support to them.

holiday

Going On Holiday With A Disability

Travelling when you have a disability can be a little challenging. Particularly, if you have a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you have to check how you can easily enter, leave and store these. However, there are many other factors you need to consider and address before leaving for your next holiday. So, what else do you need to tick off your holiday checklist?

Communicating Your Needs

Different countries will have different services for those with a disability. Some may not have the suitable facilities that you require. It’s important to speak with the hotel you’re staying at, and the travel operator too. This will allow them to give details on what services they currently have available, and if they can support your mobility needs during your stay. It’s advised to do this before booking your room. You don't want to arrive and find that you can’t access your room! 

Charities

If you need help booking your holiday or need support while you’re away, there are charities available that can arrange holidays for those with a disability. They may also provide volunteer helpers for the duration of the holiday. 

Flying

If you’re travelling abroad via flying, it’s important to tell the flight operator any requirements that you will need. When booking, you will be able to note your disability here, including any seat requirements, etc. An airline will ask that you travel with a companion if you are not self-sufficient. This is to ensure that all your needs can be met, alongside someone who knows you. 

If you need to take medication with you whilst travelling, you may have to ask the Embassy or High Commission of the country you are flying to. This is to ensure you avoid any surprises through security. 

Travelling by Road

If you are travelling via a bus, car, or train, operators will have a legal responsibility to provide a safe space for those with a disability to travel. Checking what facilities they have before you book tickets or travel is a good way of ensuring you can comfortably travel using these services. 

Equipment

If you are travelling with mobility equipment, it’s a good idea to get these insured for loss or damage whilst you’re away. Larger equipment, such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters may need to be insured on a higher priced insurance policy. 

Choosing A Policy

As well as the usual things that should be covered in an insurance policy, such as flight delays and theft, you may need additional cover in other areas if you have a disability. As most insurers don’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, you will have to find one that will cover any medical costs that may be needed due to your disability.

Vehicle adaption at The Disability Resource Centre, North Wales

Vehicle Adaptations Engineer

Job Title: Vehicle Adaptations Engineer
Salary: SP 14-16
Working Hours: 37.5 Hours per week
Reports to: Vehicle Adaptation Manager
Responsible to: Centre Manager

Context of Role

The purpose of the Centre is to assist disabled people who experience recent or long-standing conditions to achieve an optimal and safe independent lifestyle within their own homes and with their outdoor mobility.

It aims to promote and provide services for individuals, families and carers who are experiencing challenges to their mobility and/or daily living. Services include information and advice; equipment for use within the home; the community; and in vehicles; and training that promotes increased independence, safety and wellbeing, potentially, reducing social isolation

Purpose of Role

Although responsible for the maintenance, servicing and repairing of a wide range of equipment that helps people maintain their independence, the post holder will primarily be adapting vehicles to a high standard within an agreed timescale.

Key Tasks

1. Identify materials and parts required for all allocated jobs to enable vehicles to be adapted and ensure that equipment is installed correctly to the standards required.

2. Carry out fabrication/welding to industry standards including MIG/TIG and MMA (Metal Inert Gas/Tungsten Inert gas and Manual Metal Arc)

3. Ensure compliance with safe working practices, ethos statements and DRC policies and procedures at all times e.g. for the workshop

  • Maintain tools and equipment ensuring they are clean, serviceable and stored correctly at the end of each working day
  • Ensure that personal knowledge is current to maintain safe working practices around battery and electrical equipment
  • Ensure that safety equipment including PPE is used correctly at all times.

4.  Be responsible or attending emergency/breakdowns of equipment within normal          working hours and some out of hours as necessary.

5. Carry out any rectification work as required under warranty

6. All equipment must be checked for correct assembly and operation before a task is deemed completed and returning to client

7. Keep concise and accurate records of work planned and undertaken and ensure all administration, paperwork and telephone calls are completed in a timely professional manner.

8. To organise and carry out regular maintenance of the company vehicles ensuring that the correct and safe procedures are adhered to.

9. Undertake risk assessments and monitor agreed risk management plans for the Centre.

10. Be responsible for maintaining a clean and safe working environment and general appearance of the Centre

11. Monitor productive efficiency and identify areas of potential improvement

12. To uphold and promote the highest standard of confidentiality in line with current data protection legislation and guidance.  This includes customers, staff and Board. 

13. Report any concerns or complications that arise that are outside the post holder’s area of responsibility to the Manager

Health and Safety

The Health and Safety Policy contains arrangements for ensuring a safe working environment.  All employees should familiarise themselves with these arrangements under Health and Safety legislation, all employees have a duty of care to act responsibly so as not to endanger themselves or others

In addition to the duties listed above, the post holder is required to perform any other duties assigned by the Manager that falls into the grade and remit of the post in line with the strategic requirements of the DRC.

Person Specification – Vehicle Adaptations Engineer

Personal Characteristics

  1. Disability Awareness
  2. Ability to work as a member of a team and independently.
  3. High quality standards and workmanship
  4. Motivated, flexible, and enthusiastic
  5. An ability to embrace the Centre’s corporate values, mission, and vision in everything that is done as a charitable organisation.
  6. Positive and professional attitude

Essential skills

  1. Suitable level 2 or equivalent qualification in engineering, mechanical engineering or operations and maintenance engineering
  2. An ability to understand and implement a variety of engineering practices e.g.
    • Be conversant with and commit to maintaining current safe operation of vehicle workshop equipment including lathes, pillar/bench drills, grinding wheels and milling machines. 
    • Understanding of safe working practices around battery and electrical equipment.
  3. To hold a clean full UK driving license
  4. Good diagnostic and problem solving skills
  5. Excellent customer service skills
  6. Time management skills
  7. Safe manual handling practice
  8. Good customer service skills
  9. Basic IT literacy

Desirable skills

  • Suitable qualification at level 3 or equivalent in  e.g. mechanical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering
  • Welsh speaking
  • Experience of working with people who have a disability or long term conditions

Get in Touch!

For full job description and application form, please contact Sue Edwards on sue.edwards@thedrc.co or call 01745 341967

wheelchair exercises

Exercises For Wheelchair Users

It’s important for everyone to get an active lifestyle, and this can also be achieved for wheelchair users too. Through regular aerobic exercises, wheelchair users can implement low impact exercises to support their mental health and wellbeing. So, let’s take a look at just some of the exercises wheelchair users can use. 

Cardiovascular Exercise

This type of exercise aims to increase your heart rate and get you warmed up. If you’re new to exercise, performing these for 10 minutes to start will help lead your way into this new exercise. 

Cardiovascular exercises include sitting, whilst lifting weight, a rowing machine adapted for wheelchair users, and sports too! If you’d like to learn more about adaptations, such as vehicle adaptations for mobility support, read our latest blog post. 

Weights Exercises

There are a number of weight training exercises you can perform whilst in a wheelchair, including bicep curls, chest expansions and overhead press. 

To note, you can also perform these exercises without any weight to begin with. Then, slowly build up to a comfortable weight of dumbbells. 

The repeated motion of moving your wheelchair can result in injury, as the chest and shoulders are continuously being worked. Due to this, it is advised that you focus on smaller muscle groups to support motion. 

Where To Go

Whether you enjoy performing exercises alone, or wish to find a group you can exercise with, there are many places you can go to keep active. If you have a local gym, it will be a great idea to get in touch and see how they facilitate wheelchair users. This could include, ramp entrance to the building and lifts if there is more than one floor level.

If you’d rather exercise in the comfort of your own home, there is an abundance of video content you can train along too! Regarding equipment, a resistance band is great for performing muscle-strengthening exercises too! 

Sports

There are many wheelchair friendly sports today, and this is a great opportunity for wheelchair users to not only get active, but meet new people too! You can also enjoy the swimming pool if you’re a wheelchair user too, which is a good exercise alternative. 

Some wheelchair sports that have been celebrated in the Paralympics include tennis, basketball, badminton and archery. Having a disability shouldn’t stop individuals from enjoying the excitement of sport, and today they don’t have to.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to get active whilst using a wheelchair, there is an option for everyone to enjoy. Good luck finding your new favourite! 

Wheelchair

Ways Your Vehicle Can Be Adapted for Mobility Support

If you require mobility support, adapting your vehicle to suit your needs may be the best option for you. Vehicle adaptations can include alterations to the steering wheel, pedal area and adaptations to support you whilst getting in and out of the vehicle. 

Hand Controls

To make it easier for you to control the vehicle, hand controls can be added to the steering wheel area. These can also be added to avoid having to use legs to operate the vehicle. Hand controls are used alongside steering aids too. This allows the driver to accelerate and brake with their right hand and steer using their left. 

Typically, hand controls are fitted as a push or pull lever. There are also air compression and electric systems available for vehicles too. 

Seat Adaptations

To assist when entering and leaving a vehicle easily, seat adaptations can be added to your vehicle. These can include swivel chairs, a carony system that lets you transfer from wheelchair to car seat without the need of lifting, and space for extra leg room. 

Rotating Car Seat

For easy entrance in a vehicle, adaptation can be made to the seats. The seat can rotate out so the user doesn’t have to twist their body entering and leaving the vehicle. 

Swivel Seat

A swivel seat has the variety to electronically raise and lower, as well as rotate out of the vehicle so the user can get in the seating position comfortably. Your vehicle can be assessed to ensure the correct seat adaptation can be made to your vehicle and ensure these changes are tailored well for you.  

Extra Legroom

If you require additional leg room when inside a vehicle, you may have the option to adapt your vehicle for extra legroom, providing a more comfortable position for you when driving.  This adaptation can be made on either the driver or passenger side. 

Accessories

There are also a range of handy accessories to use in your vehicle, giving you a helping hand when entering and leaving. 

The Handy Bar

The Handy Bar is just one of them, which is used to assist when you exit from a car door. This bar fits the majority of vehicles, fitted with a “U” shaped striker. This item can also be used as a seat belt cutter for breaking glass for emergencies in accidents. 

Steps

A simple side step can also be added to your vehicle, which can be fitted just beneath your door frame. Electric options are also available too and can be used to simply and easily enter and exit the vehicle.If you need to transfer a mobility scooter or wheelchair in and out a vehicle, access ramps are also available for this. 

Hoist

Hoists are designed to help transport someone in and out a vehicle safely and comfortbaly. These are designed as a sling and can be used for two or three-door vehicles, as well as the option for boot hoists for transporting mobility equipment such as mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

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