Nearly 400 young people in south east Essex who require a wheelchair to help them with their long term mobility needs are to benefit from an innovative partnership between NHS South East Essex Community Health Care (CHC) and the national children’s mobility charity Whizz-Kidz, whose motto is: “A child in a chair in a day”.

The partnership means faster access to wheelchairs for local people. People under the age of 26 will receive specialist care from Whizz-Kidz at the wheelchair service base in Southend, freeing CHC’s therapists to focus on the needs of older adults living in the area who require a wheelchair.

Katherine Kirk, Chairman of NHS South East Essex PCT said: “This is a wonderful partnership that is already bringing real benefits to local people of all ages. It makes such a huge difference to people’s lives – and to their families – when you help them to become independently mobile”.

Ruth Owen, CEO of Whizz-Kidz said: “The collaboration between us and NHS South East Essex sets a standard for wheelchair services across the country, as we all believe that children and young people shouldn’t have to put up with long waits, or struggle with inappropriate equipment.

Pam Sabine, Director of Specialist Services for NHS South East Essex Community Healthcare said: “We are delighted with this partnership with Whizz-Kidz. Combining our skills and expertise in this way means that our service for local people of all ages who require wheelchairs in the long term will be greatly enhanced”.

“We believe that young people deserve the right equipment – at the right time – in order to grow up with independence and confidence – and the freedom to achieve what they want”, she added.

As part of the agreement, Whizz-Kidz will also be setting up an ‘Ambassador’s Club’, which aims to develop an active local support network across south east Essex for younger wheelchair users and their families and carers.Whizz-Kidz has changed the lives of nearly 11,000 disabled children since 1990 – often literally overnight. The charity supports young people to access the right mobility equipment – including powered wheelchairs – at the right time; and delivers wheelchair skills-training, work placements, and other life-skills to help their transition from childhood to adulthood.

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