Skip to content

I’m Sarah and I live in Manchester. I have type III and since around 14, I’ve been using a wheelchair since I was about 13 for long distance walks. Then, more permanently since I was 25 years old.  

You won’t be surprised to read that it’s an extension of me! Choosing wheelchairs throughout my life is like choosing new shoes, an outfit, or hairstyle. It needs to make me feel happy, comfortable and allow me to lead a busy personal and professional life.  

I’m Head of Communications and Policy for the brilliant national charity, Activity Alliance. I must travel about, be at high level meetings and deliver workshops among my tasks. The charity is all about disabled people’s inclusion in sport and physical activity, so representation matters. And for that, I need a reliable wheelchair to truly show what good inclusion looks like in action.  

I have relied on the wheelchair voucher scheme for my last three wheelchairs. This gives you some money towards your chair, but this voucher also needs to cover the maintenance and updates. It’s never been enough to cover the whole chair. Every five years, stress levels are high as I need to save and go through the long process of seeing what support I need this time round. It’s a £5,000 wheelchair so it’s not an easy cost to cover.  

I’m a proud SMA’er and want more people to know about the condition and have followed SMA UK for a long time. Having delayed my latest renewal due to COVID pandemic, my chair was seven years old and it was time for a new one. 

As if by magic, appearing on my insta one day in October, I saw the new SMArt Moves grant promotion appear. I couldn’t believe my luck and the process seemed easier than most applications I’ve applied for in my lifetime. After applying, the team was back in touch to say if anything was missing and to tell me the timelines.  

Within weeks, in early December, the golden email arrived – the best Christmas present ever. I’d been successful. Not only that, but the wonderful Ally also didn’t want me to miss the email, so sent me a text too. The personal touch has been the best thing about the whole process. People who just get the stress and needs of someone with SMA.  

The SMA team did the rest, sorted the invoice, and communicated with the supplier if needed. The only important task I had was to choose the colour! (Very important!).  

I can’t tell you how delighted I am with my new chair. As with any custom-made item, I was told to expect it in 14 weeks. Imagine my face when it was ready a month later!  

Readers let me present to you my new, silver sparkle chair. It’s even more loved as it’s come from the people who understand SMA and raise awareness every day.  

Thank you SMA UK!  


Find out more about SMArt Moves here