It all started with a bloke in a bike shop...
Mike Dickson was in his bike shop when he saw a girl in a wheelchair looking up at a bike light on the shelf above her. Mike asked if he could help, but the girl politely replied, ‘No thanks, I can reach it myself,’ and pushed a button on her powered wheelchair and rose up to pick the light off the shelf.
It was at that moment that Mike experienced the difference that the right wheelchair could make to a child’s life. That small action of picking something off a high shelf meant something a lot bigger – it meant independence.
Mike had promised to run the London Marathon that year and remembering that moment in the bike shop, he pledged to raise money to buy a powered wheelchair for a child who needed it. At the end of the marathon in 1989 he’d raised £9,000 for a girl with cerebral palsy, and in 1990 he founded Whizz-Kidz.
What we’ve achieved so far...
Since then we’ve transformed the lives of more than 18,000 disabled children, providing them with life-changing mobility equipment – powered chairs, light-weight manual chairs, buggies, trikes and sports wheelchairs.
And that’s not all – we also run a number of life skills services for young disabled people. We run 43 youth groups (known as Ambassador Clubs) across the UK, where young people can meet up, make friends have fun, and campaign on issues that affect their lives. We also provide over 70 Wheelchair Skills Training sessions each year to help young disabled people to become safe and confident wheelchair users. We run residential camps (Camp Whizz-Kidz), and we help the young people we work with to find work placements – building their confidence and improving their employability.
The young people we help deserve a better service through the NHS, and that's why we're doing all we can to drive reform that will mean many more kids are helped. In 2007 we launched our first NHS partnership – working with Tower Hamlets to provide a more effective paediatric wheelchair service. This award winning partnership has achieved 100% satisfaction rates and we now run similar partnerships in a number of areas across the UK.
The future of Whizz-Kidz...
We are extremely proud of all we have achieved and are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who have made this possible, but we still have a long way to go. We will keep striving to reach more young disabled people to give them active childhoods and the chance to have bright futures.
There are an estimated 70,000 kids waiting for the right wheelchair to give them freedom and hope. Can you help us to reach them? Visit our Support Us section for ideas of how to get involved or donate now.