Christmas is a time for joy and for making dreams come true. At our Innovation Centre we believe that all children can achieve their dreams, however big or small. This Christmas we are celebrating twelve fabulous ways our Innovation Centre have made dreams come true this year:
The surfboard designed by our Innovation Centre especially so that disabled children can experience the thrill of the ocean, is making waves on the other side of the world in Japan.
The team at CIC designed the surfboard in partnership with Roger Cooper for children with limited mobility and brain conditions. It allows wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water. The tandem design includes a supportive seat for the child and plenty of space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. They have been a great success providing endless hours of fun to thrill-seeking children who could not otherwise experience the benefits and thrill of catching waves.
Following its successful launch in 2016 the board has been popular across the UK, and now, the world. Cartan McLaughlin, an Irishman living in Japan, bought a Cerebra Surfboard for his own organisation called Sean’s Club. Sean, Cartan’s son, is 10 years old and has Down’s Syndrome and Sean’s Club is dedicated to helping children with Down Syndrome reach their full potential.
They have just held a launch event on Tatadohama Beach in Shimoda, Japan which was a huge success. Cartan McLaughlin said: “It was amazing! A brilliant day. Can I get another board? Many Thanks to the Cerebra Team and especially to Dr. Ross Head – Associate Professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)”.
Dr Ross Head explains that the surfboard is essentially a very large, purpose designed and built board, 12ft long, 30 inches wide and 6 inches deep. This gives it the flotation and stability required for the bucket seat to be positioned on top. The seat is attached via an adjustable laser-cut aluminium wedge which allows the seat to be positioned and angled correctly. This can be altered on the beach between users; the heavier the user, the further back the seat can slide to enable the board to glide smoothly at the correct angle.
To date there are Cerebra Surfboards in Aberavon and Caswell in south Wales, Cornwall, and the Isle of Wight with The Wave Project, one in Larne in Northern Ireland, and now one in Japan. Cartan plans to add another two boards this year, and five in 2019.
Dr Head commented: “We are so happy and so proud that our surfboard has brought happiness to another bunch of children and to be so far away on such a beautiful sandy beach in Japan adds a magical element to the story. The surfboards are a real work of art and very time consuming to build by the whole team, including Roger Cooper who shapes the board itself. Cartan has already asked if he can order another!”
The team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are dedicated to designing and making bespoke products that enrich a child’s life, giving them new experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. If you have a challenge for them, get in touch at [email protected]
The team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are dedicated to designing and making bespoke products that enrich a child’s life, giving them new experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Created in partnership with Roger Cooper, our surfboard was designed for children with limited mobility and brain conditions. It allows wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water. The tandem design includes a supportive seat for the child and plenty of space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. They have been a great success providing endless hours of fun to thrill-seeking children who could not otherwise experience the benefits and thrill of catching waves.
The latest to try one of the boards was 11 year old Alex who has quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy. Alex is from Eastleigh in Hampshire and was on holiday with her family in south Wales when she took part in a session organised by The Wave Project.
Following Alex’s session her mum Charlene told us: “Thank you so much. Alex absolutely loved it and even asked if we could move to South Wales so she could surf more often. The photos of the day are amazing and, to be honest, brought a little tear to her eye. To watch her take part in something we thought she would never be able to access is just incredible and we really cannot thank you all enough.”
The Wave Project brings people together through surfing. Their evidence-based surf therapy programme is proven to help young people feel less anxious and more positive. They also run beach school projects to help children feel more engaged in education. Working with partner organisations and some amazing volunteers they are changing lives together.
Holly Sayce, South Wales Coordinator at The Wave Project said: “The boards have been essential to us as a charity in making our service fully inclusive of all abilities and disabilities. Used alongside our beach wheelchairs we can offer young people with mobility issues the chance to participate in our surf therapy courses or one-off private sessions.
The board most recently given to our Cymru project by Cerebra was used during our summer sessions and even on a chilly day at Aberavon beach just last week. We are looking forward to our next surf therapy year starting in Spring 2019 to see even more young people use the board and take part in our sessions.
Kindly stored by one of our partner surf schools, we are able to take the board to both of our delivery locations at Aberavon and Porthcawl. We now have three amazing Cerebra boards across our UK projects allowing young people in many locations to access surf therapy and experience the many benefits.
We are super grateful to Cerebra for this amazing piece of kit and for their determination and enthusiasm around improving accessibility for children and young people.”
Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. At Cerebra we believe that every challenge can be overcome.
Our Innovation Centre is a partnership project with the University of Wales Trinity St David.
On 15th June we held an open afternoon at the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) to showcase some of the amazing designs produced by our talented team.
Disabled children often encounter barriers to taking part in activities that non-disabled children take for granted. Our Innovation Centre designers are inspired by the children we work with to come up with brilliant ideas, that aren’t currently available, to help children have fun, play, discover and take part.
The Cerebra Innovation Centre is based at the ALEX Design Exchange in the heart of Swansea, part of the University of Wales Trinity St David School of Art campus. The Open Afternoon at CIC was an opportunity to talk to guests about the Innovation Centre’s work as well as give a tour of the first class facilities that are available to the team as part of this collaborative project between Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD).
Guests were welcomed by James Moxey, Director of CIRIC (Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre, UWTSD) and given an overview of Cerebra’s work by Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Cerebra. Rob Jones, who will shortly be competing in the Cardiff Triathlon with his daughter Poppy, spoke movingly about the difference CIC has made to Poppy’s life by enabling her to take part in this challenge (read more below).
Dr Ross Head, Product Design Manager at CIC, spoke passionately about the positive difference CIC makes to the lives of children with brain conditions and explained, “I have had the opportunity to make a difference to fellow human beings simply by doing what I love to do. As a product designer, it is my passion to solve problems by the creation of a physical products, and to do that for such a worthy cause really does give me fulfilment in my work. As CIC work within UWTSD, we are immersed in a creative culture which drives the team to design beautiful yet functional products that help children and supply them with products that promote their individuality rather than highlight their differences”.
Guests also had the opportunity to take a tour of the Innovation Centre’s office, workshop and machine room which illustrated the journey from design stage to fully working bespoke products.
Some of the Innovation Centre’s recent designs include:
‘Poppy’s Dream’ which has been a huge challenge for the team who have designed and made the equipment needed to take Rob and Poppy to the finish line of the Cardiff Triathlon on 26th June. Eleven year old Poppy has cerebral palsy and is determined not to just take part, but to win!
The ‘tandem surf board’ with its supportive bucket seat that allows disabled children to surf whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor, and the ‘Surf Access Vehicle’ which enables wheelchair bound children to get to the water’s edge.
A bespoke riding helmet for 16 year old Tommy Lee so that he could fulfil one of his dreams to go horse riding with his friends. Tommy Lee’s unique head shape meant that a standard riding helmet would not fit.
Designs by the team have also been developed and made commercially available through retailers. After being contacted by a parent who needed help to get out and about in the snow with a wheelchair, the team designed a sledge with a supportive seat and harness built in. The sledge proved so popular that CIC collaborated with Gordon Ellis & Co to launch their very first commercially available product.
The GoTo is a postural support seat developed by Firefly and Cerebra that lets children participate in those moments that make family life special. Families worldwide use their GoTo Seats in supermarket trolleys, on planes, swings and Granny’s dining chairs. They make daily tasks easier, and mean kids don’t need to miss out. It gives a little piece of independence that lets them see the world from a new perspective and feel they’re at the heart of the action.
All of the Innovation Centre’s designs are in response to direct requests from parents and carers who are struggling to find the piece of equipment that would make their child’s life easy more, more inclusive and more fun. All of the designs are made free of charge for families. So if you would like to challenge the team to find a solution for your family please get in touch with them at [email protected].
The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) recently took on their latest challenge and converted a surfboard so that children with physical disabilities can enjoy the experience of surfing safely.
One such board was sent to the family of young J and their feedback has shown that the surfboard has been a huge success!
The family received the board just before their summer holiday and Mum provided us with some feedback before testing:
“We are all so excited! The board is absolutely amazing, we have all been jumping around the house as we are so thrilled! Fingers crossed this makes him independent and boosts confidence.”
J’s reaction to his new surfboard was definitely a positive one and he told the Innovation that they had sent him “the most coolest board (better than my parents’!).”
According to J’s mum, the surfboard was indeed a success and really made the family’s holiday.
“The surfboard worked wonderfully. Having it with us reallymade our hols. J independently body boarded at Saunton sands, Croyde, Putsborough and Woolacombe beach! All three of us even caught the same waves!”
The guys at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are currently looking for new challenges. Do you have a need for equipment that isn’t already available on the market or doesn’t quite meet your needs? Maybe you have a completely new idea that you think would benefit your child. Either way, get in touch with the team at [email protected] or 01792 483688.