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In 2016 we made Poppy’s dream come true by designing and making all of the equipment she needed to take her and dad Rob to the finish line of the Cardiff Triathlon in style. Despite being born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease, Poppy is a determined character and a real thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie! Huge thank you to everyone that helped us make these cool and unique products a reality, and make Poppy’s dreams come true.
The board was used by about 10 children over the course of the weekend and even got used by a dad sitting in the seat holding his young daughter.
Ross Head from the Cerebra Innovation Centre said: “It went down a storm with everyone saying about how great it was. They are the happiest bunch of humans I have every come across!”
Some great photos of the day were taken by Checkered Photography.
You can find out more about CIC’s work here.
If you think they can help you with a problem, contact the team at email@example.com.
Liz and Jim are parents to 15 month old Holly and they recently contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) with a challenge to complete in time for their daughter’s first birthday. They told us their story:
“We contacted the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) after realising the first birthday present we had bought for our daughter, when she was just a month old, was completely inappropriate. Holly loves rocking and we really wanted to get her a rocking animal for her first birthday and we found a dinosaur. The problem was that it was unlikely Holly would ever be able to use it as it had no harness or support.
Holly has a rare chromosome disorder. She has duplications on 2q24.2 and 2q24.3. This manifests as Holly having hypotonia, global developmental delay, visual impairment, Sandifer Syndrome and food allergies. She is at a high risk of developing autism and epilepsy but we are lucky that she seems to be ok at the moment. As Holly has hypotonia her core is very weak and so she struggles to sit unsupported.
Holly is a really happy, wonderful little person and we wanted her to be able to enjoy her rocking dinosaur. We approached Ross and the team at the CIC to see if it would be possible to convert her toy so she can enjoy it safely, as it is one of the few toys she has that is just for her to have fun and enjoy being a little girl. They rose to the challenge beautifully and added pieces to it so that we could attach the Firefly GoTo seat, which would keep her safe.
Holly loves her dinosaur, she can make it rock by herself and she is independent. We are so grateful to Cerebra for making this possible for Holly. It even arrived back in time for her first birthday!”
If you have an idea for a piece of equipment that you would like the CIC team to build, you can get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01792 483688.
We catch up with the latest news from our Innovation Centre, designing cool products to help children discover life and have fun alongside their friends.
“How fab is this? Cerebra’s Innovation Centre made my daughter Blisse a portable unit for her equipment ready for when we move to her bungalow. It means when Blisse is unwell I can take her to my bedroom or living room and not worry about having it laid on the floor etc with wires everywhere. It has extra shelves to put other things such a pads and toys. It will eventually also have a pole to attach her feed machine to as well. We love it. Her nurse last night was very impressed with it. Thank you so much to the team who made this and put such a girly stamp on it for us”.
— Laura, Blisse’s mum
Slumber Camp Bed
We’ve been asked many times recently for a product to help with changing children when out and about. Unfortunately this has had us stumped, as we have been unable to design something that we are able to make with the materials and processes (not to mention budget!) available to us. However, we have found a solution that might suit some people. The Freedom Trail Slumber Aluminium Camp Bed is a great little camp bed that folds away to 90x19x9cm but when assembled it is 40cm off the ground and long enough for an adult. Although it requires 5 minutes assembly, it will keep children off of the floor whilst changing. We appreciate that is only goes a small way to helping with a very difficult situation, but hope that it might be of help to some of you.
Prince Edward visits ALEX
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex recently officially opened the University of Wales Trinity St David’s Alex Building in Swansea, home to our Innovation Centre. He particularly enjoyed chatting with our team and meeting some of the families that we have helped with our innovative designs. You can read about his visit here and watch a short film of the visit here.
Congratulations to Ross Head, Product Design Manager at our Innovation Centre, who has been awarded the title of Associate Professor. So, it’s now Associate Professor Ross Head, Product Design Manager, CIC. Congratulations Ross!
Becca Davies recently joined our Innovation Centre team for a month long internship. Becca wanted to gain some design experience before going on to study 3D design at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle.
We gave Becca the task of developing our medical device holder. Using recently received family feedback, she went on to create this fun but functional rocket shelving unit to hold all manner of medical equipment at the bedside.
Becca told us:
“My time with CIC has been invaluable! The guys that work here and the families they help day in and day out have been a massive inspiration to me. Not only have they been an endless source of knowledge and talent to learn from – boosting my skills and competency as a designer. But they have also taught me about the great things that can be achieved through product design – happiness, excitement and making what people with disabilities once thought was unreachable, reachable.
I worked closely with Anna, mother of Osian to realise the design and form of my Rocket Medical Stand. She needed it to organise Osian’s everyday things so I designed it to be accessible and open, easing the interaction between herself and the equipment. Alongside this I wanted the stand to bring a little extra joy to their everyday lives hence the out-of-this-world rocket form!”
Good job Becca – and good luck with your studies!
Find out about some of the new products the team at Cerebra Innovation Centre have been working on.
We have just completed 6 more Big Bouncers for jump happy kids. These bouncers work in the exact same way baby bouncers would, but are a bit bigger so bigger kids can use them to jump around.
They are made from 18mm Birch Plywood which makes them very strong, they come flat packed, but with just the fixing of a few bolts (instructions included) they are ready in minutes.
Please get in touch if you think this will help your little jumpers.
These cool shelves were designed for a young boy and to help his mum who has to transport numerous medical machines whilst transferring him from room to room. They have been styled to suit a child’s bedroom and be more like a child’s toy rather than looking dull and medical! They feature 3 shelves, space to store an oxygen bottle, a 4 socket extension lead so all the machines are plugged in and you only need one wall socket, and 4 omnidirectional wheels so it can be moved around effortlessly. Additionally there is ample space to wind wires and store bits and bobs!
This is the CIC pimped-Maclaren Major! A family asked for something to help with access on the beach but which could also fold up and fit in the car with other holiday stuff and luggage.
Using a Maclaren Major Elite as a basis we added stainless steel axles and pneumatic tyres with plastic bearings and 3D printed spacers. We hope this will enable this family to access the beaches of South Wales for their summer holiday and many more to come!
On 15th June we held an open afternoon at the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) to showcase some of the amazing designs produced by our talented team.
Disabled children often encounter barriers to taking part in activities that non-disabled children take for granted. Our Innovation Centre designers are inspired by the children we work with to come up with brilliant ideas, that aren’t currently available, to help children have fun, play, discover and take part.
The Cerebra Innovation Centre is based at the ALEX Design Exchange in the heart of Swansea, part of the University of Wales Trinity St David School of Art campus. The Open Afternoon at CIC was an opportunity to talk to guests about the Innovation Centre’s work as well as give a tour of the first class facilities that are available to the team as part of this collaborative project between Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD).
Guests were welcomed by James Moxey, Director of CIRIC (Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre, UWTSD) and given an overview of Cerebra’s work by Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Cerebra. Rob Jones, who will shortly be competing in the Cardiff Triathlon with his daughter Poppy, spoke movingly about the difference CIC has made to Poppy’s life by enabling her to take part in this challenge (read more below).
Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC, spoke passionately about the positive difference CIC makes to the lives of children with brain conditions and explained, “I have had the opportunity to make a difference to fellow human beings simply by doing what I love to do. As a product designer, it is my passion to solve problems by the creation of a physical products, and to do that for such a worthy cause really does give me fulfilment in my work. As CIC work within UWTSD, we are immersed in a creative culture which drives the team to design beautiful yet functional products that help children and supply them with products that promote their individuality rather than highlight their differences”.
Guests also had the opportunity to take a tour of the Innovation Centre’s office, workshop and machine room which illustrated the journey from design stage to fully working bespoke products.
Some of the Innovation Centre’s recent designs include:
‘Poppy’s Dream’ which has been a huge challenge for the team who have designed and made the equipment needed to take Rob and Poppy to the finish line of the Cardiff Triathlon on 26th June. Eleven year old Poppy has cerebral palsy and is determined not to just take part, but to win!
The ‘tandem surf board’ with its supportive bucket seat that allows disabled children to surf whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor, and the ‘Surf Access Vehicle’ which enables wheelchair bound children to get to the water’s edge.
A bespoke riding helmet for 16 year old Tommy Lee so that he could fulfil one of his dreams to go horse riding with his friends. Tommy Lee’s unique head shape meant that a standard riding helmet would not fit.
Designs by the team have also been developed and made commercially available through retailers. After being contacted by a parent who needed help to get out and about in the snow with a wheelchair, the team designed a sledge with a supportive seat and harness built in. The sledge proved so popular that CIC collaborated with Gordon Ellis & Co to launch their very first commercially available product.
The GoTo is a postural support seat developed by Firefly and Cerebra that lets children participate in those moments that make family life special. Families worldwide use their GoTo Seats in supermarket trolleys, on planes, swings and Granny’s dining chairs. They make daily tasks easier, and mean kids don’t need to miss out. It gives a little piece of independence that lets them see the world from a new perspective and feel they’re at the heart of the action.
All of the Innovation Centre’s designs are in response to direct requests from parents and carers who are struggling to find the piece of equipment that would make their child’s life easy more, more inclusive and more fun. All of the designs are made free of charge for families. So if you would like to challenge the team to find a solution for your family please get in touch with them at email@example.com.
On 26th June 2016 Poppy Jones and her dad Rob will take part in the Cardiff Triathlon together to raise money for Cerebra. But they will face an additional challenge – ten year old Poppy has cerebral palsy and Rob will be pushing/pulling her around the course using custom made equipment specially designed by our Innovation Centre.
Ten year old Poppy was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. She can’t sit, stand, roll or support herself and life is a daily challenge for her. She has suffered many health problems over the years and there have been times when doctors didn’t think she would pull through. Dad Rob explains “there have been times when it has been very touch and go and we feel very lucky that she has been with us for the last 10 years”.
But having a life-limiting condition doesn’t stop Poppy having fun. Poppy is a determined character with a great sense of humour. Her sense of adventure knows no bounds. She is a real thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie and has a true competitive spirit.
Rob, meanwhile is facing a challenge of his own in getting fit for the event. He’s never taken part in a triathlon before and isn’t a regular swimmer, runner or cyclist. At Christmas he could only manage two lengths of the local swimming pool and is using his ancient bicycle to train.
The University of Wales Trinity St David, who are project partners in CIC, are also fully supporting Rob and Poppy’s challenge. The University’s renowned health and sports specialists Dr Peter Herbert and Nalda Wainwright, who coach elite athletes in their high performance laboratory, will be giving advice to Rob and Poppy on their training programme.
Mum Rachel, along with the rest of the family and friends, are right behind Poppy and Rob and are fully supporting them all the way, providing all the back-up and help they need. Rob’s motivation for doing this is simply to help his daughter: “taking part in this triathlon is so exciting for her and psychologically it will really benefit her. She gets so frustrated at the limits her condition puts on her and this will really focus her mind on what she can do. Poppy doesn’t think ‘I can’t’ but rather ‘with a little help I can’. I’ve got my work cut out though as Poppy doesn’t want to just take part – she wants to win!”
The project is also a huge challenge for Cerebra’s Innovation Centre who are designing and making the equipment that Rob and Poppy will need to take them to the finish line. Having seen one of CIC’s recent projects (the surfboard), Rob realised what it was possible to achieve with a little help and decided to set the charity the challenge of designing, engineering and manufacturing three unique sporting products.
In principle the plan sounded quite easy for the design team – Poppy and Rob need a chair on wheels and a boat. But Poppy wants to win! So they need a chair on wheels with suspension, every ergonomic issue addressed and resolved, it must roll well and true and must be comfortable for both users. It must be light, stiff yet comfortable. The “boat” will be a unique design, sleek, slender and with the least hydrodynamic resistance possible, yet it must also be stable, strong – and unsinkable! Engineering will be one of the biggest challenges, but the team have lots of friends who have already offered lots of help. They will be collaborating with V-Track seating systems, Loop Wheels, J.D.Marine for welding, and have been offered significant design advice by naval architect Richard Pemberton from Falmouth. Oh – and as Poppy’s favourite colour is yellow, that’s what it’s going to be!
Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC, explains “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of this challenge. It is incredibly humbling to be around someone like Poppy- she is bright, bubbly, smiles all the time, she doesn’t complain about her situation, she just gets on and makes the best of every situation. When we met with Rob he was very emotional at the level of support and enthusiasm we showed towards them. But it is the same for us, to be able to help them achieve this impressive task really will be a moment to remember”.
Welsh Triathlon and organisers of the Cardiff event, Always Aim High, are fully supportive of Poppy and Rob’s challenge. Amy Jenner from Wales Triathlon said “’Welsh Triathlon are committed to making sure everyone can achieve their Triathlon challenge. This is a dual challenge – both Rob’s amazing physical challenge and Poppy’s determination to experience life at its full. The Cerebra team designing the special equipment, the race organisers Always Aim High, and the support crew, have worked wonderfully together to make Poppy and Rob’s dreams come alive as well as raise money for charity Cerebra and other brain injured children”.
We’ll keep you updated on Rob and Poppy’s progress over the next few months.
You can watch a great video about Rob and Poppy on our YouTube channel.
If you would like to support Rob and Poppy please visit www.justgiving.com/Rob-Jones42
The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), along with the help of BSI (British Standards Institution) have taken the challenge to help a young boy with autism and a unique head shape to fulfil one of his dreams.
16 year-old Tommy-Lee from Brighton wanted to go horse riding with his friends but his unique head shape prevented him from wearing a riding helmet. Without a riding helmet he was not allowed to participate for safety reasons.
CIC’s mission is to design and develop products that will allow children to be included in activities and daily living. They focus on careful attention to the aesthetics of the product to ensure that the child not only fits in, but in some cases becomes the object of envy of the playground.
In conjunction with the MSc Industrial Design course at UWTSD, Swansea, the CIC team used high tech equipment to develop a bespoke riding helmet for Tommy Lee. Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC said:
“We knew that the basic principle of a helmet is quite simple but the journey to get to a safe and useable helmet was quite complex. The basic method has been to use a 3D digital scanner to scan in Tommy Lee’s head shape, the software helps to stitch the head form together so a perfectly accurate model is achieved. Then we used this data in our computer aided design software to draw the head shape. The helmet was styled around this shape, and then the cavity was removed leaving the exact shape for Tommy Lee’s head. This model was sent to a manufacturer to machine the exact shapes from the correct density of expanded polystyrene.
“Upon hearing of the project and the likely cost which would have prohibited us from continuing, a very kind gentleman, Mr Gordon Coventry from a charity called Claire’s Project, offered to help fund the cost of the helmet with a generous donation of £2200.”
Gordon Coventry explained why he was moved to donate to this project: “Watching Sophie Christiansen take part in the 2012 Paralympics dressage competition was inspiring. Her face when she claimed gold was pure happiness. There was a similar look on the face of the young boy on the surfboard recently designed by CIC. I was happy to support Cerebra to enable other children to take part in activities and sport they haven’t previously been able to access”.
CIC approached the British Standards Institution (BSI) for a quote for testing the helmet to ensure it meets the same standard that a regular helmet would be subjected to. BSI kindly agreed to fund the entire cost of the testing by way of support to get Tommy Lee horse riding and tested the helmet against the BSI Kitemark™ scheme.
Maureen Sumner Smith, Managing Director UK & Ireland, BSI said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support this really worthwhile cause through our testing services. It’s been very rewarding to work alongside CIC to help develop this bespoke riding helmet for Tommy and we’re sure that he will now get to enjoy many hours of horse riding from this.”
CIC created six helmets in total. Five of them were sent to the BSI headquarters for testing and the remaining one was finished to a beautiful standard so that, with the exception of its size, it would be indistinguishable from another riding helmet.
The team from CIC delivered the helmet to Tommy-Lee on 25th February and he couldn’t wait to put it into action. Sue Boyce of the Three Greys Riding School, Brighton, where Tommy Lee will be going horse riding said “I am very pleased that Tommy Lee will finally be able to go horse riding with his class mates, which is something he has been looking forward to for almost a year. I am sure he will love it. It is so lovely to hear that so many people have made so much effort to make this happen. We are really looking forward to it.”
Tim Schvetz, Tommy Lee’s teacher at The Cedar Centre in Brighton said, “I am absolutely thrilled that Tommy Lee is finally getting the opportunity to ride as a result of this project. He has been so keen to get on a horse and this is his chance. This will vitalise his independence. We are all so grateful to Ross and the team for their persistent hard work to get the helmet finished”.
You can watch a report on this story which was featured on ITV Wales.
Thank you to Terry Applin for allowing us to use the lovely photos below: