Get motivated with Backwell charity UPDATED

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By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 11:27

The Paralympics has stimulated fresh interest in a disability charity based at Backwell.

Motivation is an international charity which operates from a mismatch of old farm buildings off a country lane near the A370.

Its story starts in 1989 when Royal College of Art students David Constantine and Simon Gue were tasked with designing a wheelchair suitable for use in developing countries.

Their winning wheelchair design had to be robust enough to cope with tough terrain and affordable.

The pair won the Frye Memorial Prize and with a bursary travelled with friend Richard Frost to Bangladesh where they built their wheelchair for a disability organisation in Dhaka.

Two years later David, Simon and Richard established Motivation.

This month members of Backwell Mothers' Union enjoyed a talk about its work.

Motivation communications officer Alexandra Vernon shared stories and films about the charity's work with disabled people around the world from Afghanistan to India to Uganda.

The films went down particularly well, with the ladies commenting that it was inspiring to hear the voices of Motivation's beneficiaries.

Motivation was also invited to contribute to a humanities discussion at Backwell School about euthanasia and the quality of life.

The students cited the success of David who despite breaking his neck in a diving accident which left him a quadriplegic completed a computing degree Oxford Brookes, co-founded the charity and went on to win many awards including an MBE in the 2010 New Year's Honours List for services to the disabled.

Motivation has recently linked up with the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust to give Paralympians of the future their first go at wheelchair sports.

Motivation's sports chairs are a fraction of the price of those used by Team GB and they have been enabling thousands of disabled people in more than 50 countries to play wheelchair basketball and tennis.

Motivation's Flying Start – a low-cost racing chair which was launched at the London 2012 Paralympics – is going to do the same for disabled people who want to try out wheelchair racing.

The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust has pledged £50,000 to enable UK clubs, schools and charities to acquire Motivation's sports wheelchairs with successful applicants having to pay only 25 per cent of the cost.

Motivation has its  high-quality, low-cost wheelchairs specifically made for use in poor countries in China as flat packs.

The admin team at Brockley Lane dispatch wheelchairs all round the world and has set up innovative training programmes in far-flung countries teaching local people how to assemble the kit-form wheelchairs.

During the past 21 years Motivation has reached more than 130,000 people around the world.

Motivation is ending 2012 on a high as The Telegraph newspaper has chosen it as one of the charities benefiting from its annual Christmas appeal.

David said: "This is absolutely fantastic news for us.

"Hundreds of thousands of Telegraph readers will learn about our work with disabled people around the world.

"Not only that, the appeal will give us a much-needed financial boost.

"This will enable us to provide more people with the wheelchairs and support they need to live active, independent lives."

The appeal, which launched this week, will run stories about Motivation throughout December and January.

To find out more go to 

If your club or group would like to book a talk from Motivation or adopt it as your charity of the year contact Beth Windsor on 01275 464012.

  •  At the moment only one in six disabled adults plays sport regularly - but after a summer of sport including the Olympics and Paralympics there has been a surge in disabled people looking for sport clubs. The All Stars Sport Club in Weston-super-Mare has been running for several years now. It is an inclusive multi-sports club for those aged 16 and above with learning, physical, visual or hearing disabilities. The club runs every Monday at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre between 5-6pm and costs £2 to attend. Family and friends are also welcome to come along. Experienced local sports coach Gene Sprague takes the weekly sessions which include various sport games and activities to suit all interests and abilities. For further information about the club and to book your first free session call Rebecca Stathers of the sport and active lifestyles team at North Somerset Council on 01275 882733 or email  If any North Somerset sport clubs would like support to offer and promote inclusive or dedicated disability sport activities in the area then the council's sports and active lifestyles team wants to hear from you.
  • Disabled people in North Somerset will have more opportunities to get involved in sport after North Somerset Council's new Sportarray project received £34,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England's Inclusive Sport fund. The money will be used to provide disability awareness training for sport clubs and promote clubs that welcome disabled young people and adults.  Existing local sports clubs will be supported through the project to provide inclusive and dedicated coaching sessions for disabled young people and adults. North Somerset Council was one of only three local authorities in the South West to successfully bid for funding and over the next three years the Sportarray project will help to encourage 570 disabled young people and adults in North Somerset to play sport regularly. 



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