POWER PLEAS is a Wolverhampton based small registered charity that since 1987 has provided outdoor electrically powered wheelchairs and other aids for children with mobility disorders. Some seventy plus recipients have benefited from mainly wheelchairs that could not have been obtained under the state provision.
The charity has a committee that comprises local people from different backgrounds, Paediatrician, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Head Teacher, Parents and even one of our early beneficiaries. This group manages the charity and a sub-group assesses the youngsters and the suitability of both the child and the proposed wheelchair.
Financial support has been received from major sources such as Children in Need and the National Lottery, but local support has been a strong feature too. For example, after having a collection granted at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club in 1995 when over £2,000 was raised towards the first “Wolves Chair” the charity has been greatly supported every year since by an army of Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Tettenhall. Nineteen youngsters have received wheelchairs from this co-operative effort.
For over ten years there was been an occupational therapist member of the local wheelchair services as a volunteer on our committee. This has resulted in streamlining provision and joint funding in some cases that has worked very effectively.
In recent years the charity has provided four young people with Alber e-motion power assisted wheelchair. These youngsters have learned to mix self-propulsion with the powered wheels to master longer distances and greater gradients without requiring any other help with their mobility.
Our latest initiative is in the provision of adapted tricycles that offer an alternative means of mobility while having a therapeutic effect at the same time by strengthening muscles in the correct pattern of movement and increasing balance. Children using these tricycles can usually walk short distances with the aid of a walker and enjoy being on their feet, but when they try to walk longer distances their gait pattern deteriorates which has a detrimental effect on their physical abilities. Riding a tricycle helps improve self-confidence and increase independence as well as being great fun. It also an activity the whole family can enjoy.
The charity retains contact with the young person and has often funded a replacement machine – ensuring that teenage years are enjoyed with greater independence and enhanced dignity because of the gift of extra power!