We are a small and diverse group of individuals including healthcare professionals, teachers, fitness professionals, parents and carers who individually, and now collectively, work hard to further the work of Freedom For Wheels. We are all volunteers who give up our time during the working weeks to raise awareness, encourage donations, assess potential recipients, procure equipment and provide ongoing support for disabled adults and children.
Freedom For Wheels was created as a direct result of the experience founder Lu had following her loss of full mobility. At that time Lu was facing a sudden departure from the ability she was familiar with to a new world featuring walking aids and wheelchairs. Having been discharged from hospital with no information on where to turn for help or assistance, and having searched the internet for advice, it quickly became apparent that there is a distinct and harmful lack of information and resources available to the public. What's more, even when resources appeared to be available, accessing them was hard and confusing with each one utilising its own eligibility criteria and application process. Managing this alongside the additional stress and emotional burden of learning to live a life that suddenly seemed less familiar to her became exhausting both physically and mentally.
Turning to private companies for assistance proved just as hard - how are you meant to separate good advice from harmful advice? How can you trust what the salesperson is telling you? Why is there no list of approved companies who have been vetted and clinically trained?
Lu realised that if she was finding it hard, as a proactive businesswoman with an income and good friendship networks, how much harder must others be finding it. Resolving to make a difference Lu created Freedom For Wheels to act as a resource for the most in need - whether this be information, advice, support networks or money - and to this day has helped some of the most severely disadvantaged in Kent.
What was initially just about providing access to Wheelchairs, Freedom for Wheels has grown to provide a more holistic form of help. With its methodology rooted in the 'user centred approach model' adopted by all good healthcare providers, the charity is now able to ask 'what can we do to help'.