The right wheelchair is the real difference: our new campaign

Join us to celebrate real-life stories of the difference we should all care about

Whizz Kidz has known since we started 33 years ago. Now, with the launch of our new brand campaign, we're determined to tell the world that the right wheelchair is the real difference. 

We’re doing this with a stunning campaign film that brings to life the journey many young people and families who come to Whizz Kidz take. It focuses on 11-year-old Jasper, a real-life Whizz Kid the charity has worked with for seven years. Starting with the heavy, ill-fitting wheelchair provided by local services, we see how the wrong equipment can lead to dependency, as his parents have to push him everywhere. But after attending a Whizz Kidz mobility clinic and getting his new orange lightweight chair, he’s seen whizzing off with his Tri-Ride power assist, keeping up with his brother’s scooter, showing how, with the right support, he’s on a roll.

Jasper shares the key messages of the campaign with a voice-over for the audience, starting in the second half of the video:

This captures the video's message perfectly. It’s a visually stunning film with a positive emotional ending. Jasper looks up, hopefully, and smiles with self-assurance as the screen fades to the Whizz Kidz logo.

Tamsin Haines, Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Whizz Kidz, explains the importance of the new campaign film and its core messages.

She said: “At Whizz Kidz, we have an important story to tell. It’s the story of why we’re vital for thousands of young wheelchair users and their families. Working closely with Manifest, who are experts in powerful storytelling, we set out to raise awareness of our work but also to shift the narrative of how young, disabled people are represented. The young people we support aren’t “superhuman”, and they don’t need our pity. Their lives aren’t so different.

"Building on the strong foundations of our recent brand refresh, we’re incredibly proud to launch our first ever brand campaign which celebrates the independence and freedom of the young people we support in a way which is relatable for our target audience."

Meet Jasper – a real star

The star of the campaign, Jasper, first came to Whizz Kidz when he was four to get the right wheelchair for him. The wheelchair he got through local services didn’t meet his needs. “it was amazing to first use it after the huge, ugly black one that the NHS offered,” he said. “It felt incredible, and I felt really free to zoom around finally. My current one is orange and bronze, my favourite colours.”

After watching the film for the first time, Jasper said: "I was happy because they did such a great job. It was good to show how important Whizz Kidz has been in our lives."

Tamsin added, "Jasper and his family were just wonderful from the moment we raised the idea of them potentially being involved with the film. They went out of their way to make it possible, and we hope the end result really speaks for itself."

We asked the campaign hero about the making of the film.

What was it like actually making the film, and were there any bits you particularly enjoyed?
My favourite part of the filming was when the cameraman on the rollerblades filmed me whizzing around with my Tri-ride.

What did you think when you first watched the film?
I was happy because they did such a great job. It was amazing how it took all day to make just one short film.

What do your friends think about you being in the film for Whizz Kidz?
My friends who got to be part of the filming were so excited, and they thought it was fun seeing all the lights and cameras.

I understand that before you made the film, you were thinking of a career in acting or TV presenting. Is that still the case?
Yes, but I also want to be a pilot. Maybe a travel presenter!

Making a real difference for decades

Whizz Kidz’s Senior Mobility Therapist, Sarah Wallace, appears in the campaign film to fit Jasper’s new chair in the clinic scene. However, she says it could have been any of her therapist colleagues “in the yellow polo”. Despite this modesty, generations of children and young people have grown up with Sarah’s combination of care and expertise over 26 years at the charity. She’s seen how the campaign message of the right wheelchair, at the right time is the real difference, is reflected in her work with people who are “young, disabled, but not so different”.

When did you first realise that young people weren't getting the right wheelchair from local services?
I used to work in a wheelchair service [before Whizz Kidz], and you were very much tied to limited chair options. If you wanted a higher performance chair, you had to make an amazing case to get one. Things have improved - children who are full-time users and can only use power chairs, most get them eventually. Wheelchair services do the best they can with limited money. Even if it's a cheap chair, it needs to be the right fit - seat depth, width, proper support and wheel position.

What is the biggest, most surprising difference the right wheelchair has made in your experience?
The right wheelchair gives value to each child in their life. With it, a child can fulfil their potential and become an included member of society, possibly get a job, and pay taxes. That's what we all want, for them to feel equal to everybody.

I saw a teenager. She was one of twins. She had mental health problems and cerebral palsy. We put her into a Rogue [wheelchair], and her face lit up when she realised she could move it on her own and get around school without being pushed. I wish I could have bottled it. Her twin sister couldn't believe she was out moving independently.

What makes the most difference?
Give the child the right chair, and they can do it themselves. I think children who need powered chairs, especially the ones with learning difficulties, they're never going to pass the NHS wheelchair test. But a lot of them can become very competent drivers. A 9-year-old I know drives independently and communicates with the same joystick. She can go out and talk to people. But give her another year, and she'll just be another child because that's what we've done.

Can you put a price on being able to move independently?
No, absolutely not. If you're pushed by somebody as a teenager, how do you have a strop? You can't go to your room and slam the door...

Is it important for younger children to learn that they can be naughty?
Definitely, be naughty. I remember delivering a powered chair to a boy. His mum said, 'Don't go over the daffodils,' so that's the first thing he did. But it's only by being naughty or making mistakes that we learn...It gives a chance to be told off, which is more normal. You know, being good because you can't be naughty is not really a great option. I think many parents would say that they like seeing their children being naughty or just pushing the boundaries a bit.

So, when a young person gets the right wheelchair, how does that make you feel?
I feel warm inside and smile when a young person gets the right chair.. We had another little boy called Peter, who is four. He's got SMA type one, and he's had gene therapy. We said to his mum, "Has it made much difference?” And she said, "Oh, yes, when he was born, he could only move his eyes.” And now he can self-propel. And he could, I mean, not very far. But he can do it. And he was so pleased. So pleased.

Today, we had another one, a little boy, who had a chair and a Tri-ride. And I said, "Oh, drive up the other end, Charlie, and see what you can see out the window.” He discovered there was a park at the back of the clinic. So then, of course, he didn't want to be with us anymore, thank you very much. He wanted to go to the park. They said, "Oh, well, if you drive around, you can.” So off he went. But he couldn't do himself before that.

What's the best thing about your job?
Those kinds of moments. One of the things I love most about my job is seeing the same child more than once, seeing them grow from tiny into teenagers and then adults. I gave a mum her son's old harness covered in important badges, as it had its day. It's very rewarding and shows what can be done with the right wheelchair.

Can you sum up how the right wheelchair is the real difference for the young people you work with?
It helps them meet their potential and gives them the best chance of an included life.

Follow us on social media and check the website for more real stories about how the right wheelchair makes a real difference.

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