An initiative which sends mobility equipment from the UK to needy people in places like Syria, Egypt and Greece managed to move more than 1,000 pieces of equipment totalling £80,000 in its first year of operating.
The Phoenix Project, which is led by the Warrington Disability Partnership, shifted a total of 1,337 pieces of new and refurbished equipment to places affected by war and poverty.
Walkers, hoists, medical beds, chairs, walking frames and other specialist aids were sent to areas after the first shipment to Egypt in February. The project collects its equipment from a supply chain of local authority and NHS community home loans stores, hospitals, national wholesalers and retailers and individual donors.
The Warrington Disability Partnership has been working alongside charities including Care UK, St Mark’s Universal Copts Care and 1step2step, who have helped to raise money for the project.
Chief executive and co-founder of Warrington Disability Partnership, Dave Thompson, said that the project was all about trying to supply vulnerable areas of the world with equipment that was being sent to landfill in the UK, according to a newspaper report.
He told the Warrington Guardian: “On one hand we’re enabling items that were previously going into landfill to be salvaged and, secondly, the refurbishment process has actually created jobs here in the UK.
“Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s providing vital pieces of equipment to enable people overseas to become independent. To date, countries including Egypt, Syria, Thailand and Syrian refugees in Greece have been helped.”
The project has already outgrown its current unit and has opened another one to cope with its expansion.
Thompson said: “You couldn’t get in the original unit at the moment because there’s that much equipment in there.
“We’ve got another shipment of 100 wheelchairs going to a children’s cancer hospital in Cairo leaving before the end of the month and, before that, we’ve got two more shipments going to Syria.”