The Bolton Bulls wheelchair basketball club provides wheelchair basketball to people of all ages, disabilities and gender from all over the North West of England including Bolton, Bury, Blackburn, Wigan and Stockport.
As a treat to ourselves Chairman Steve and I visited
Birmingham yesterday (2nd May) to visit Naidex 2012. The UK’s
largest disability, homecare and rehabilitation event.
I know a lot of you will be thinking that it hardly sounds like an outing you’d do for funsies. But, it actually was. We got a night away in a fabulous hotel (just the two of us and no mini bulls) and 24 hours of being able to wander where we wanted, when we wanted. It was great! The Arden Hotel and Leisure Club where we stayed is located only 1/3 mile from the National Exhibition Centre and 1/2 mile from Birmingham International Airport and Railway Station, being just off Junction 6 of the M42. And it's only a 5-10 minute walk to the LG Arena and the NEC's entrance at Birmingham International Station.
It was easy to find even for my stupid sat nav and there was loads of
parking. The hotel is really nice to look at, the rooms were comfortable and there was a fabulous bar for us to chill out and have a drink after the drive down.
Anyway, I digress. Naidex, that’s what this blog is about. Both Chairman Steve and I confess to being ubergeeks and the thought of new technology to play with and investigate was what prompted us to go.
Having signed in and got our badges, we duly hung them around our necks like little schoolchildren on a class outing and off we went. It was packed! There were people, stalls, equipment and technology
to play with everywhere. Of course, I couldn’t find the map so we just decided to go with the ooh that looks interesting approach. At least initially that was the plan. However, we soon got lost and had to find a map. What an interesting day.
We met up with our friends Jacqui and Carl Alban of I Need A Holiday
Too (in fact we took them coffee and cakes a couple of times during the
day) and had a natter, generally haranguing the visitors to Naidex. We duly entered their competition to win a week’s free holiday although several people declined to enter? Why would you decline? It’s a free competition, how very odd some people are. Unfortunately we didn’t win but we’re still going to visit them in August anyway. .
Just around the corner from their stall was Disabled-Signs where we spent a very amused ten minutes reading the T-shirts with slogans such as; I’m not disabled I just really really like wheelchairs, sniggering at the signs and generally making arses of ourselves. Thanks for putting up with us guys. Mind you they have now set up a Twitter account which I’m taking the credit for ;-) .
During further meandering (I knew where I was going even if Steve didn't) we looked at cars on the motability stands (did I mention I want a new car?), underwater treadmills, actually it was just the side of a 6 ft tub
we saw (there were steps up to it) with a video of a bloke on a treadmill (he wasn’t actually in the pool, they just pretended he was). We saw gadgets and gizmos galore and Chairman Steve was baffled at the fact he still didn't have to queue for the disabled loos for a change.
Steve was most impressed with the Thera Trainer produced by MedicoTech and now wants to save up and get one. We both liked the poolpods that allow people in wheelchairs easy access to a pool without the hassle of using hoists. I could have spent a fortune but we’d need a bigger house to put everything in.
We also came across OttoBock who are looking at breaking into the UK Sports and Basketball Chair market having previously dealt exclusively in prosthetics (see the cunning link to basketball in a basketball blog there?) and Steve decided the only way to see if the chair was any good was to get in it! So he did. Apparently it was a nice chair that could have done with being a smidge wider to fit his backside in (obviously it was a one size fits all on the day job). Other than that, with the limited space available to test it out Steve says it seems to be a decent chair but it definitely requires more investigation and demonstration/testing
in a basketball environment. We are available if they wish to provide us a
chair to test ;-) The day ended at 5pm when the exhibition closed and everyone got thrown out.
We took the executive decision at this point not to go and join the car park on the motorway and went back to the hotel for grub instead, whereupon I fell out the taxi and hurt myself. All in all it was a great day away (apart from me getting damaged of course) and we’re definitely going to go back next year. You should too, it’s well worth it.
Our thanks go to Naidex and the NEC for hosting the event and to all we saw on the day that have contributed to the writing of this blog.
Jeff Gosling Hand controls http://www.jeffgosling.co.uk/
Fittleworth http://www.fittleworth.net/ @FitMed1
Disability Now http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/ @DisabilityNow
Chiltern Invadex http://www.chilterninvadex.co.uk/
Wolturnus http://www.wolturnus.com/produkter/sportskoerestole OttoBock @Ottobock
UK Cyclone http://cyclonemobility.com
Holidays for All http://www.holidaysforall.org/
Naidex http://www.naidex.co.uk @NaidexNational
Maison Des Landes http://www.lionsclubofjersey.co.uk/documents/maison_des_landes_hotel.html
Prism Medical Uk @PrismMedicalUK http://www.prismmedical.co.uk/ Disabled Signs. http://www.disabled-signs.com @DisabledSigns
Arden Hotel http://www.ardenhotel.co.uk/
Cloud Massage http://www.oncloud9.uk.com/