Bath-based charity Designability are urgently appealing for support to reduce the waiting time disabled children are facing for their Wizzybug powered wheelchairs.
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that the small, national charity had to put Wizzybug appointments on hold for months.
The waiting list to get one has grown in that time and families are now facing a wait of over 7 months to be able to benefit.
Designability provide Wizzybugs free of charge to families across the UK. Although they have been able to restart appointments, they are struggling to keep up with demand and the backlog created by Covid-19.
Kathryn Earle, Children’s Occupational Therapist at Designability, said: “This year we have all had to put a lot of important things on hold and have been waiting to be able to see loved ones, return to the workplace and much more.
“But the wait for a powered wheelchair for a child who is unable to move themselves independently is something we do not want to delay any longer than we have to.
“Most children move on from Wizzybug by 5 years old so waiting 7 months or more could mean that some children will have almost outgrown it before they have even received it.
“As a small charity, we need to be able to fund the extra resource we need to get the waiting time down quicker. We want to be able to see more children and build more Wizzybugs sooner rather than later.”
Wizzybugs provide children with the vital opportunity to develop their spatial awareness and movement skills and ensure that they don’t miss out at playtime.
Kirstie Blanchard is mum to Franky, 2, who has cerebral palsy and is waiting to get a Wizzybug.
She said: “We can’t wait to get the Wizzybug for our son Franky as this will give him a whole new lease of life.
“He is a twin and will be able to keep up with his brother when we are out and about. It will give him some new found independence.
“I cannot wait to see the smile on my boy’s face when he is finally able to sit in his Wizzybug. Most of us take getting from A to B for granted but hopefully soon Franky will be able to do just that.”
To date, the charity has given 846 children in the UK their first taste of freedom and independence.
Wizzybugs benefit children with disabilities like cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy, as well as children who have amputations as a result of illness.
If you would like to support the charity to get Wizzybugs to disabled children sooner, visit: https://designability.org.uk/we-dont-want-to-wait/, email [email protected] or call 01225 824103.