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March 2023 Newsletter

null • 5 min read • May 21, 2024 4:21:42 PM • Written by: The Wheelchair Alliance

Can you start a newsletter with a question?

It seems that we already have! Why is the 1st March so important? There are two reasons we can think of, although there are many more of course – and Happy Birthday if that is one of your reasons.

Our reasons are:

  1. International Wheelchair Day is always 1st March and is an annual day of events and activities which take place around the World when wheelchair users celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has on their lives.
  2. The second reason is our first newsletter is being launched on International Wheelchair Day! We are starting small, and with your help will grow every quarter. In this issue we will tell you a little about who we are, what we are up to and exciting news for the coming year.wheelchair-alliance-birthday-image-1
Who Are We?

The Wheelchair Alliance is a not-for -profit community interest company. We were originally known as the National Wheelchair Leadership Alliance and were formed in 2014. We are made up of a Board of members and our patron is the Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. You can find out all about us here.

  • 44% of our Board members have lived experience of life using a wheelchair.
  • 115 years and counting! This is the number of years of expertise the non- wheelchair using members of the Board bring to help strengthen your voice.
  • 145,000 wheelchair users (and rising) represented on our Wheelchair User Engagement Group.wheelchair-alliance-patron-Baroness-Tanni-Grey-ThompsonOur patron Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
What do we do?

Our vision is to transform the experience for wheelchair users in England through improved access, quality and effectiveness of services.

To achieve this we will work in partnership with all relevant organisations and influence at the highest level to ensure that wheelchair users can lead qualitative, independent lives.
This will be done by making sure wheelchair users are listened to and have confidence that every wheelchair service provides the choice and capability to fully deliver the outcomes of each individual person.

What does that mean for wheelchair users and their families?

We thought a few examples of what has been achieved and what it means for you might be interesting.

  • The Wheelchair Charter was revised in 2021. The Charter is targeted at wheelchair services and is a document that can be used to improve the provision of wheelchairs in England and is supported by NHS England, the body that ensures NHS wheelchair services are funded and delivered through the new Integrated Care Bodies.
  • We launched our website on International Wheelchair Day last year. You can find out about us, see a version of of the Wheelchair Charter adapted especially for wheelchair users, their families and carers, helping them to have constructive conversations with their wheelchair provider about their needs and life goals.
  • We collaborated with Motability last year and commissioned an independent piece of research. Frontier Economics, the research body, produced the ‘Economic assessment of wheelchair provision in England’ which was formally published in September 2022. It is the first time we have had evidence to support the challenges you have been raising. You can see the full report and which areas you have asked us to prioritise on our website.
  • Our Wheelchair User Engagement Group met for the first time in January 2023. Each member of the group represents a wheelchair user group or forum around the country. They consider the key issues they may be experiencing, or the way they have worked with their local services to improve challenges, and bring these back to Engagement Group to agree a course of action. We cannot address individual issues, however we can look at how we can make a difference for the majority of wheelchair users.
Would your organisation like to be involved in supporting the Wheelchair Alliance?

Would you like to strengthen the voice of wheelchair users? Would you like to see a website that either signposts people to relevant sites or provides useful information without the stress of ‘trawling the Net’? Would you like to help influence the provision of wheelchair services and ensure the right wheelchair is provided at the right time, no matter where you live in England? If you answer yes to any of these questions, maybe you would like to become a member of the Wheelchair Alliance. If so pop your details into this contact form to express your interest.

‘Stop Press’:

NHS England are keen to hear your experiences and have asked us to share this opportunity as widely as possible with our networks — please do get involved as the latest NHS Planning Framework has highlighted moving to self-referral where GP intervention isn’t clinically necessary and this mentions wheelchair and community equipment services. Solving Together has a specific ‘wheelchair challenge’ section which provides the opportunity to get involved and provide best practice examples, feedback and experiences.

Support The Wheelchair Alliance by making a donation, partnering with us or becoming a sponsor

The Wheelchair Alliance