The Sequal Trust is a national charity that fundraises to provide communication aids for disabled people of all ages, with speech, movement or severe learning difficulties. These disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, stroke, cancer and people that have experienced road accidents, to name but a few.

Any individual with disabilities within this remit, solely in receipt of benefits or on a low income and requiring a communication aid, can apply to us for assistance either personally, through a friend or family member or by referral from their speech and language therapist or special educational needs tutors. These healthcare professionals will then be asked to supply us with an assessment of need.

Once funding has been secured, the equipment is provided on a lifelong loan basis with Sequal remaining responsible for all necessary repairs and upgrades for the lifetime of each particular device. If and when an item becomes outdated or no longer serviceable, we then fundraise again to provide a replacement. Membership of The Sequal Trust means lifelong help and support.

Sequal does not receive any statutory funding, so in order to supply these aids we rely on donations from fund giving charities and organisations and from the public sector.

Promoting independence

This year is the 50th anniversary since we were established in 1969. Since then, Sequal has worked to promote independence and self-help for people living with many types of disability.

The equipment we provide is by no means limited – from iPads with specialised software up to eye-operated systems with wheelchair mounts at a cost of over £12,000, and every device in-between that aids either speech or mobility issues. With the use of these aids it is possible to stimulate learning, independence and reduce the sense of isolation so often experienced by people unable to ‘speak’ for themselves.

While NHS services can offer help in many ways, not all requirements can be met for one reason or another. Sequal is a charity which exists to step in and fill that void; offering a service which will change peoples’ lives for the better, by providing augmentative speech aids to children and adults who are prevented from expressing their thoughts and feelings or who are perhaps, socially restricted.

If Professor Stephen Hawking, who was one of our patrons, had not been initially provided with an aid similar to the ones issued by us, we may never have experienced his full genius. Who knows how many more individuals there are out there that have as much to offer given the chance, such as our newest patron, Lee Ridley, aka ‘Lost Voice Guy’ who uses an iPad and Lightwriter to achieve success as a stand-up comedian.

Sequal exists to offer a service that will change peoples’ lives for the better.

About The Sequal Trust

Disabled people still need our help to obtain communication equipment. By providing such equipment The Sequal Trust has helped people to rebuild their lives and re-connect with the world. We have enabled children and young adults to study and further their careers and given numerous individuals the means to communicate their most basic thoughts and needs; something most of us take for granted. We achieve this by constant fundraising – our support is lifelong and we maintain all issued solutions at our own cost.

The Possum Users Association (forerunner to Sequal) was launched in the early 1960’s. Possum is Latin for “I can” or “I am able” and seemed an appropriate name for the organisation. The initial management committee was made up entirely of disabled people, who, it should be said, had very active minds and the determination not to let disability stand in their way. It was dedicated to the financial and social improvement of conditions of its members and other disabled people by providing communication equipment which would transform peoples’ lives.

Prior to The Sequal Trust there was little acceptance of the potential of people experiencing communication difficulties.

Vision

It was the vision of research chemist, Reg Maling and electronics engineer, Derryck Clarkson that triggered the movement towards the use of technology to provide greater independence for people with restricted speech and physical ability. Their experiments were the forerunners of the ‘Possum’ – the first environmental control unit that enabled disabled people to control a wide range of domestic electrical items.

As time went on technology advanced and a range of products designed to alleviate communication challenges of all kinds was developed and a whole new world was opened up. Sequal, or ‘Special Equipment and Aids for Living’ was established.

Technology is ever-changing and the variety of equipment we provide ranges from simple handheld iPads with communicational apps to sophisticated eye-gaze systems. It is vital that each person receives the best solution for their particular needs, and we do our best to ensure that this happens by liaising with each person’s speech and language therapist who can recommend the equipment best suited to that individual’s needs.

Our main aim is – and has always been – to ‘Set lively minds free’, so if you need our help or can support us with donations or by holding fundraising campaigns, we would be extremely grateful.

More: www.thesequaltrust.org.uk