MERU was founded in 1973 by William Bond, a senior lecturer in Engineering Design and Trefor Llewellyn Bowen, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Both were concerned by the lack of clinical facilities that could provide equipment for disabled children so decided to raise money to build a Department of Medical Engineering at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Carshalton, Surrey.
A growing need
Further funding led to the purchase of equipment and materials and the employment of highly skilled engineers. This allowed MERU to provide new types of equipment for surgery and innovative technologies to help young people with disabilities. Trefor Llewellyn Bowen continued to work with MERU until his death in 1974.
Over time, MERU became a registered charity and expanded its services into the community. William Bond eventually retired after a long and distinguished career, serving as the charity’s President until he died in 2007.
Over subsequent years MERU’s services expanded substantially and the charity moved to bigger premises in June 1993. Increasingly MERU adopted a more modern and far-reaching approach to assistive technology for disabled children.
In January 2009 MERU moved from Orchard Hill in Carshalton, to a more suitable industrial unit in nearby Epsom. The new building is larger and better equipped, with improved disabled access – allowing MERU to meet the needs of disabled children and young people to maximum effect.
The name MERU
MERU has been through a number of name changes over the years. We started life as ‘the Helpers of Queen Mary’s Hospital (Medical Engineering Unit)’ until we began helping children from all over the South East, so changed our name to the ‘Medical Engineering Resource Unit’ in 2002 and people started to shorten this to ‘MERU’.
We are still registered under our full name on the Charity Commision website , however now that the work we do is called Assistive Technology rather than Medical Engineering the name is no longer as representative as it used to be. To avoid confusion and of course to save the cost of a brand overhaul we have decided to stick with MERU. It has proved popular with our clients and supporters, and perhaps because it is a little unusual, it seems to stay with people. We just can’t imagine ourselves being called anything else!
On April 1st 2012 MERU joined with Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People to become part of their family of charities.
MERU continues to exist as a charity in our own right with our own charity number and constitution. However merging with a much larger charity has given MERU the financial stability it needs to concentrate on designing, developing and manufacturing equipment for disabled children whilst being able to share many of the behind the scenes functions such as HR and finance.
By joining the QEF family we have been able to initiate a number of joint projects which enhance both charities services and so continue our work started at Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children almost 40 years ago.