Law firm step in to fund hospice’s new wheelchair weighing machine

Staff at a much loved North Wales children’s hospice have had a weight taken off their shoulders thanks to an impressive piece of kit paid for by a leading law firm.

Tŷ Gobaith, in the Conwy Valley, which cares for youngsters with life-threatening conditions from across the region, have just taken delivery of a new wheelchair weighing machine worth £750 thanks to a donation from the Swayne Johnson Charitable Trust.

It means that young people in wheelchairs can simply drive their chairs or be pushed onto the specialist scales and the new acquisition has been welcomed by staff and by one of the first residents to test-drive the new weighing machine.

Fifteen-year-old Carson Jones, from Rhyl, who lives with Muscular Dystrophy, confidently piloted his advanced wheelchair onto the weighing machine and pronounced himself delighted.

The keen wheelchair footballer said: “I struggled to get my chair onto the weighing machine we had before but this one is much better, wider and easier to drive on and off, so it’s a big help for me.”

Hospice Physiotherapist Gene Foulkes added: “For a lot of our young people the wheelchairs they use have become more advanced and versatile and this has also meant they have become bigger which has created a problem as it is important to keep track of their weight.

“A lot of the bigger wheelchairs just couldn’t be ridden up onto the old weighing machine which meant our young people would have to be taken out of their chairs to be weighed, involving a lot of manual handling and the use of a sling.

“But the new machine can cope with any size of wheelchair which makes it easier for us and for the clients and much more dignified for those who are more able and aware.

“For someone like Carson it is important to be able to keep track of his weight as it’s an indicator of his general health but fitness is important for everyone and that very much includes those in wheelchairs.”

Swayne Johnson solicitor Kaye Jones, from Deganwy, who is based at the firm’s Llandudno office, admitted she had played a small part in helping Ty Gobaith secure the funding.

She said: “A friend of mine is a Ty Gobaith fund-raiser and I suggested to her that they apply to the Swayne Johnson Charitable Trust and it has worked out well for them.

“It is a fantastic charity and along with its sister organisation, Hope House, does such wonderful work with young people.

“I’ve visited the hospice on their open day and been given the full tour and the work they do in such a beautiful setting is just amazing.

“It’s such a great facility and it’s very moving to see the work they do here.

“It was brilliant to see Carson just drive his wheelchair up onto the weighing machine with no fuss at all.”

Swayne Johnson, who have offices across North Wales and at Tattenhall, in Cheshire, set up their Charity Fund to provide a pathway for local organisations and good causes to apply for funding.

Director Lynette Viney-Passig, Head of the firm’s Private Client department, said: “We’ve been delighted to help Ty Gobaith with the fantastic work they are doing with young people like Carson.

“We have a strong tradition of supporting local charities and good causes and last year set up the special Swayne Johnson Charity Fund to make it easier for applications to be made to us for help.

“The aim was to enable us to identify local charities and those serving North Wales and Cheshire and it has worked very well and already we have helped a number of worthy recipients and are looking forward to receiving more enquiries.”

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