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What if you can’t afford the means to your own independence?

News   •   Jan 15, 2014 10:30 GMT

“If Aspire Grants had not contributed towards the manual wheelchair, I would have been stuck in the chair from Wheelchair Services and would not have been able to live my life.”

After sustaining a high level spinal cord injury in a mountain biking accident, Martin Perisi (pictured) was provided with a powered wheelchair. However, as is too often the case, the wheelchair he was provided with did not meet his needs. Due to its size and weight, it restricted his ability to get out and about. However, Martin is not able to propel himself in a standard manual wheelchair.

“I heard about Aspire whilst I was in Stoke Mandeville and an Aspire Independent Living Advisor called Geraldine used to come and see me and we would talk about wheelchairs and she told me about Aspire Grants. I wanted to wait until I was discharged and at home before I made any decision on a wheelchair. I had been given a powered wheelchair but wanted a manual wheelchair as I did not feel independent and it restricted me on where I could go.”

Aspire Grants is a service available to people like Martin who are in need of equipment to increase their independence.

“Once I was home I then applied to Aspire Grants for a manual wheelchair.  I was successful in my application for part funding and I felt very relieved when I heard it had been agreed.  I have since given the powered wheelchair back to Wheelchair Services as I now have the manual wheelchair with [a power pack] which enables me get out and about much more easily and I feel more independent.”

Disability is expensive and even essential equipment such as the right wheelchair is out of reach for many spinal injured people. Every year, Aspire funds over £100,000 worth of Grants and we continue to strive to meet the ever increasing demand.

Last month, we were delighted to receive funds of £20,000 from the Monday Charitable Trust to provide more Grants to people in need of not just wheelchairs, but a wide range of equipment such as Assistive Technology and car accessories. The Trust has supported Aspire over the last two years and we are highly honoured to be chosen as one of the few charities that it funds.

Applications are now being accepted for the next Grant meetings in January and March.  Please contact Kim Elliott, Aspire Grants Administrator, on 020 8420 6707 or email

Find out more information on how to apply for an Aspire Grant.

Support the Aspire Grants service and help more people like Martin to access essential equipment by setting up a regular gift.

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