Whizz-Kidz’ #DreamWheelchair competition has inspired some inventive and fantastic ideas from young wheelchair users who are frustrated with the current equipment available on the market.
The competition, which was launched in partnership with Duchenne UK, asked wheelchair users aged up to 25, to draw or write about their dream wheelchair.
The competition was promoted to over 27,000 schools and open to all young wheelchair users in the UK.
Entries were judged in three different age categories and the winners were chosen by a panel of wheelchair users, led by the actress and campaigner Samantha Renke.
First prize went to Hannah Bishop, a 23-year-old wheelchair user from Horsham, West Sussex. Hannah’s design featured stair climbing and ‘hover’ capabilities, which were inspired by her frustrations of trying to access places like her friend’s houses or going to the beach in a wheelchair.
Speaking at the awards reception, Hannah said: “I have been to Littlehampton, Worthing and Brighton and it is still very difficult to get to the seafront. This made me think about how a wheelchair could be improved. My design would allow me to go to the beach and to use stairs.
“This competition has inspired me and other young people. I believe that disabled people can achieve anything they want and should never give up trying! Planners can make things a lot easier for us, but all of the technology I imagined in my design may really be possible in ten or twenty years.”
Organisers said that the entries showed that young disabled people want far more than just a set of wheels to move around in.
Samantha Renke said: “The standard of entries was high and showed that every young person wants their wheelchair to be unique and different. There shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to mobility.
“Hannah’s design stood out because of the innovative ways she wanted her wheelchair to help her navigate an inaccessible world. We hope this competition will give food for thought not just about what a wheelchair can be, but also how wider society needs to be more accessible and inclusive.”
As part of her prize Hannah receives a 3D printed model of her design created by engineering firm Frazer-Nash Consultancy.