A group that reconditions and recycles mobility equipment before selling it on is seeking a larger organisation within the industry who is able to continue its concept, which includes a retail arm, after its boss announced he would be stepping down.
Peter Cousins, who founded Brighter Future, is calling on anyone who is able to support it, including manufacturers, to help continue its recycling initiative which helps disabled people from deprived areas access equipment they would normally be unable to afford.
He said that he has brought Brighter Future, which sells brand new equipment in addition to recycled aids, to a level where it is ready to move forward and roll out to other areas.
“[Brighter Future] needs a bigger organisation to back it. I would first like to see a Brighter Future in Stafford and Birmingham, so all the local discarded mobility equipment can be brought to them.
“Around the country thousands and thousands of pieces of equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is being thrown away.
Cousins has approached manufacturers for support but has so far been unsuccessful. He maintains however that the concept would not impact on the sales of suppliers as its recycled equipment is aimed at the very lower end of the market. It sells reconditioned wheelchairs for £60 for example.
Brighter Future is now 92% sustainable but has been struggling with costs in the last year, which amount to around £700,000 a year.
The group believes it can alleviate some of the pressure on NHS and community equipment services by supplying good quality but cheap aids to people stuck on waiting lists or unable to afford equipment privately.
Cousins added: “My vision is that Brighter Future spreads to each area and you have the same system in each region where equipment is brought in and recycled by technicians and disabled people, and then it’s sold.
“We’ve had people come from all over the country wanting to set Brighter Future up in a franchise format, but it’s enforcing our standards and ethos.
“It could quite easily be turned into a money-making racket as things often do instead of the focus going on helping people.
“I don’t want to the focus to be making a profit and it’s difficult to find the right person to trust. We can’t risk our reputation so there needs to be a Brighter Future standard across all areas.”
The group has recycled more than 35,000 pieces of mobility equipment and achieved more than 100,000 training hours to date.
Its Motability-accredited retail arm has accounts with major suppliers including the likes of Sunrise, Pride, Drive, Invacare, Kymco, Roma and others.