Wheelchair Handling For Absolute Beginners

ARC Informatics staff experience life from the perspective of a wheelchair user

On, Wednesday January 17, 2018 two of ARC Informatics’ staff, Karen Cole and Maizee Wilde, experienced basic wheelchair skills training to learn about life from the perspective of a wheelchair user, in Chelmsford city centre. Stuart Wheeler of Freedom Wheelchair Skills who has himself been confined to a wheelchair for some 20 plus years, following a car accident when he was 17, undertook the daunting task of teaching basic skills to two absolute beginners.

The wheelchairs were kindly provided by TGA Mobility, based in Sudbury in Suffolk, for the day’s training and Essex County Cricket Club very kindly offered space for the basic skills training at the Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford. Essex Live covered the story and Maizee and Karen were invited by BBC Essex to share their thoughts and experience from the day.

Karen Cole explains, ‘The idea for this day came from going to a meeting with Stuart at a hotel in Buckinghamshire. We were horrified at the hotel’s view of ‘wheelchair accessible’ and decided we could do something to help ourselves and others better appreciate the reality of getting around in a wheelchair while raising awareness of the obstacles in everyday life for wheelchair users.”

Maizee commented after the training, ‘“It really has been an eye-opening experience which filled me with a wide range of emotions. I was left feeling very drained and tired. When I walked into town the next day I really saw things differently. I have had a small taste into the challenges wheelchair users face every day.”