£1m awarded to project benefitting young wheelchair users

A project to improve the lives of young disabled people has been awarded £1 million

A project to improve the lives of young disabled people has been awarded £1 million from People’s Postcode Lottery.

Part of the lottery’s Dream Fund initiative, the award will fund a partnership between researchers at the School of Engineering and Edinburgh College of Art, and charities Whizz-Kidz and Duchenne UK. The team will be led by the School of Engineering’s Professor Ian Underwood and design expert Dr Arno Verhoeven.

Their Wheels of Change project will research and develop wheelchair technology to integrate with and enhance mobility equipment for young people.

Key partner Whizz-Kidz has helped more than 20,000 disabled and young people in the UK since 1990.

The charity supports people between the ages of two and 24 with disabilities by providing mobility equipment, support and life skills to help them fulfil their potential and achieve their goals.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy charity, Duchenne UK, will support the project with additional funding to improve technical and device support for disabled children and young people.

“We are delighted to be working with Whizz-Kidz and Duchenne UK as a lead partner in this ground-breaking research project intended to enhance the quality of life of young wheelchair users. Our participatory approach will put young disabled people at the heart of the project by listening to their needs and aspirations.”

Professor Ian Underwood
School of Engineering

“Freedom of choice, dignity and personal control are hallmarks of Scotland’s ambition to ensure all citizens are able to live independently. A key part of our vision is making a socially responsible contribution in promoting health and wellbeing, both locally in Scotland and further afield. This award will allow us to move from dreaming to demonstrating the powerful impact interdisciplinary research and development can have on the lives of everyone, making things better.”

Dr Arno Verhoeven
School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art

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