The Bugzi handover at the QEF Mobility Services Community Games on Saturday 27th April was a huge success, attended by the Mayor of Sutton who presented the Bugzies.

10 Bugzies were given out to the lucky applicants of the Bugzi loan scheme.  Out of 24 completed applications 10 were selected at random and the children all assessed in April at the QEF Mobility Centre.  They will be able to keep the Bugzies for as long as they are needed, and then the loan scheme will refurbish them and re-issue them to more children.  The children’s progress will be monitored so that any adjustments can be made to their seating and control setups to keep the Bugzies working perfectly for them.

Bugzi gives these children the opportunity to be independently mobile for the first time in their lives.  They range in age from 3 to 5 (but younger children can also “drive”) and it is very unusual for children this age to have access to powered mobility.  However research has shown that mobility is vital to a young child’s cognitive and social development, and it has many other benefits, including stimulating communication, improving co-ordination, spatial awareness, trunk, head and upper limb control.  It also contributes to undoing the effect of “learned helplessness”, where young children learn to expect things to be done for them, even when they are able to do them for themselves.  And, of course, driving Bugzi is great fun and enables children to explore, learn, make choices and participate in the everyday activities that the rest of us take for granted.

The loan scheme will be growing in the near future, with funding for 8 more Bugzies already secured.  We hope to add 20 Bugzies to the QEF fleet later this year, and then to consider, subject to funding, expansion to other sites around the country.  We know that there are thousands more children across the UK who could benefit from Bugzi and our vision is to make them available to any child in the UK who needs one.  This is an ambitious long-term goal, but we feel that it is achievable and very necessary.  Please support the loan scheme by making a donation to MERU today.  It costs £5000 for a Bugzi and the support required to enable, on average, 4 children’s lives to be transformed by every one.