Able Magazine has been a media partner with independent living event, Naidex for many years. The delayed 2020 event was a great opportunity to get back out there and see what’s happening in the disability community.

Anybody who went to the delayed Naidex 2020 event in September will doubtless share with you just how great it was to be back. 

Sure, some things were different, though with good reason, including strict Covid measures at the entrances to the NEC as well as wider aisles to aid social distancing and a strange absence of the usual glad handshaking as customers thank organisations for finding solutions or exhibitors meeting up with old friends from the disability community.

Some things happily stayed exactly as they always were. The number of readers and commercial partners, for example, who had made the journey from all corners of the UK that dropped by our exhibition stand to say hello and pick up the latest edition was heartening. It did seem that the people that had travelled to be at Naidex, really were enthusiastic about being there.

Other highlights for us included Able Magazine editor, Tom Jamison being invited to host the Build Back Better seminar, designed to look at solutions to restoring independence and quality of living to disabled people to a greater level than they were, even before the pandemic started. 

A lively conversation took place between Tom and student accessible education campaigner Ruby Jones, as well as Jane Hatton, founder and CEO of employment advisory organisation, Evenbreak Career Hive, as well as Grumpy Gits podcasters, Chris Leasmith and Duncan Casburn, who as listeners of their hugely popular show will appreciate, aren’t quite as grumpy as you’d think. 

Once again though our main focus was taken up with our attempt to find a worthy winner of our Able Magazine Naidex Best In Show Award for 2020 from the thousands of products and services on display.

Here are some of our favourite entries…

AccessAble app

An amazing resource for when you’re out and about detailing every kind of public place with photos and trustworthy access explainers. 

From: www.accessable.co.uk

Price: free

Vegepod Raised Garden Kit

This ‘grow your own’ system comes in a variety of sizes and heights. Your plants will thrive in their own microclimate with the Vegecover that also includes irrigation. Pods can be raised on a galvanised steel stand or on a portable trolley. The pods allow wheelchair users to roll up to them with the centre of the pod easily within reach.

From: www.vegepod.co.uk

Price: from £248

ableDry

Covering specifically made for keeping your wheelchair seating area completely dry while doing water-based activities or for people managing incontinence. Available in two sizes for electric or manual wheelchairs. Each has an anti-slip base.

From: www.ablemove.co.uk

Price: £48.99

Kim-e

The Kim-e powerchair is completely controlled by upper body movements, rather than traditional joystick or other controls, leaving the user’s hands free. It can raise the user into a standing position and travel at 20km/h making it a great all-round day chair.

From: www.chronusrobotics.com

Price: £23,000

eFoldi Mk 1.5

This lightweight, road-legal mobility scooter travels up to 8mph with a range of 14 miles. It folds and unfolds in seconds and weighs only 17kg (without battery). It can then be stowed in a car or taken on public transport. It features a magnesium alloy construction and thoughtful features such as trolley wheels for use while it is folded.

From: efoldi.com

Price: £2,499

Peugeot Horizon WAV

Another excellent wheelchair adaptive vehicle from Allied, the Horizon features clever seating configurations to enable disabled people to drive from their wheelchairs. You’ll find all of the car comforts you could want including rear camera, privacy glass, Bluetooth, electric handbrake and plenty of other gadgets and options to suit.

From: www.alliedvehiclesgroup.com

Price: from £1,695 Motability advance payment

Paravan PR35 S

Small, compact, colourful and versatile – or in other words, made specifically for children that would otherwise be lumbered with mobility kit that’s not properly scaled to them. The PR35 S has a chassis that’s 30% smaller than an adult equivalent model and functionality that includes tilt, lying, and raising to a standing position – during which it can still be driven.

From: www.precisionrehab.co.uk

Price: from £23,000

Wheelchair Heaters, Hot Mat

Originally developed for sports fans using stadium seating, the cushion utilises two layers of foam and has three temperature settings. A plug-in battery slips neatly into a pocket. The cushion is available in a variety of colours and is UV and fire resistant.

From: www.wheelchairheaters.co.uk

Price: £155

Blazer Sling

The Blazer powerchair has been refreshed with a new look. One of the things that makes it a great choice for use both indoors and outdoors is a wheelbase that’s just 580mm deep. This contributes to making it more compact and agile than previous versions. 

From: www.karmamobility.co.uk

Price: starts from £3,000

BattBoost

BattBoost mitigates that most frequent cause of problems experienced throughout the life of a mobility vehicle – ‘battery trouble’.

Lithium power and special electronics ensure that there is a significant increase in the travel range of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, while at the same time maintaining optimised battery charge.

From: www.battboost.com

Price: £349

PAWS City

PAWs – or powered assisted wheelchair systems – come in several guises. The PAWS City can be ordered with either a 12” wheel for tame surfaces or 14” if you’re expecting a few more bumps. In either case, you don’t need any frame alterations or add-ons since manual clamping takes just a few seconds – but radically alters the nature and capability of the wheelchair. 

From: www.rehasense.com

Price: from £3,995

LoFric Elle

A simple and user-friendly solution for female self-catheterisation. The lubricated device is ready with an easy twist and operates at a convenient angle for women with reduced mobility – and independently.

From: www.wellspect.co.uk

Price: £51 for a box of 30

Optimus 2 RS powerchair

This is a robust front-wheel drive powerchair. It features single-wheel suspension and high climbing ability with large pneumatic tyres with studded tread capability, that’ll cope with a variety of challenging surfaces and environments.

From: www.electricmobility.co.uk

Price: from £6,000

Ki-Mobility, Little Wave Arc

The Little Wave Arc might be the lightest paediatric wheelchair (with gravity translation) on the market. Tilting the occupant has been made easier through an arc shaped roller guide system.

From: www.kimobility.com

Price: £2,795

Scoozy

TGA have come up with the quirky yet handsome, Scoozy, a stylish cross between a scooter and powerchair. 

Joystick steering with an active brake provides control and active safety, while semi-independent suspension and an ergonomically shaped seat placed directly above the low centre of gravity provide a comfortable ride.

From: www.tgamobility.co.uk

Price: £8,995

Sirus Ford Drive X

This is the first drive from wheelchair vehicle specifically designed to parallel the manufacturers’ driving position (on the original Ford Tourneo Custom). The latest Sirus conversion also offers multiple seating options with space for up to six.

From: www.sirusautomotive.co.uk

Price: from around £50,000

WINNER!BrightSign Glove

BrightSign is the only smart glove in the world that can translate any sign language into any spoken language – instantly, and it can provide two-way communication too!

BrightSign accommodates more than 30 different languages to translate their signs to, in real time, while signing, even if they don’t know the language themselves. With both spoken and text output, it even enables languages with different alphabets, such as Arabic or Mandarin.

This innovative and ingenious device was the worthy winner of the Able Magazine, Naidex Best In Show Award.

From: www.brightsignglove.com

Price: £945