The idea to brighten up wheelchairs came after a visit, in late 2010, to a fashion show featuring disabled models. The models’ clothes were colourful, the make up magnificent and the hair styling superb. However, in contrast, the wheelchairs were predominately black or grey, hence the idea to ‘Pimp my Chair’.
After discussions with a number of wheelchair users, it was apparent that most people wanted to personalise their chairs and make them more attractive. Thus in March 2012, the eBay store of SpokeGuards was launched, and by far the most popular design sold to date is the option where clients send in their own design to print and truly personalise their own wheelchair.
At this time, the SpokeGuards were assembled in the Remploy factory in Haringey, North London; Remploy had 54 factories in the country and all were Government funded. In July 2012 it was announced that the Government had accepted the recommendation of a previously published review and funding terminated with immediate effect. The Haringey factory in North London closed for business on 17th August 2012.
The SpokeGuard business had only recently started trading, with very good reviews from clients who had purchased the products and excellent support from various charities and other organisations. In October 2012 the ownership of the SpokeGuards business transferred from Remploy to Diversity & Equality Limited, which now trades under the name of SpokeGuards.
The future of SpokeGuards is protected and being managed by husband and wife, Frank and Hilary Rodgers who are committed to expanding the choice of designs and improving ‘Fashion for Wheelchairs.’