Press Releases 2014-2015

A Young girl’s Christmas wish is granted

11.12.2015

A collaborative team of academics and designers from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the charity Cerebra have granted a young girl who has Cerebral Palsy her very own Christmas wish.

Eight year-old Enna Thea Kul-Want from London has Athetoid Cerebral Palsy so has not been able to skate because she can’t wear conventional skates.

But this Christmas, thanks to the team at the Swansea-based Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) - a collaborative team working to enhance the lives of children with neurological conditions – Enna Thea has been ice skating with her family and friends for the very first time.

The product was designed after Enna Thea’s mum, Catherine, contacted the CIC team after her daughter had been invited to an ice skating party at the Broadgate Ice Rink in London’s Exchange Square.

Catherine didn’t want her daughter to miss out on the celebration so after discussing ideas with Dr Ross Head from the University’s Cerebra Innovation Centre, the team set about designing and creating an original product styled on Santa’s sleigh that would allow Catherine to skate behind and push Enna Thea along on the inside.

The sturdy stylish design has been manufactured from birch ply with a metallic red weather proof lacquer coating. It is fitted with polypropylene skating blades which have been machined with the same radius on the blade as regular skates allowing the sleigh to skate in a straight line, but also making it steerable. The product is finished with a beautiful jewel encrusted, royal blue velvet, fit for a young princess that will allow Enna Thea to direct her mum and “skate” wherever she wants.

Dr Ross Head of the Cerebra Innovation Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David said:  “We are so lucky to be able to do this as a job. I hope that Enna Thea really enjoys her skating party and many more hours of skating afterwards. Our job is to design and make beautiful products to help kids with neurological conditions, which brings an amazing sense of satisfaction for us. Our design skills are challenged but put to good use in making products that make children’s and family’s lives easier, and give them the same opportunities as other kids.”

Catherine Yass had already been in contact with Dr Ross Head regarding a different product and knew that the team’s designs are always beautifully designed as well as being extremely functional.

“I had written to Ross to thank him for his work on a different product and as a ‘by the way’ comment, asked him whether he had any solutions to ice skating.  He came straight back saying that he’d love to help us and has designed us the most amazing present.  We are over the moon – the sled is absolutely beautiful.  Enna Thea finds it all incredibly exciting,” says Catherine.

Catherine and Enna Thea tested the sleigh last Sunday, December 13th at Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square, London. 

CIC is a bespoke product design service offered by national charity Cerebra to its members.  Many of the products serve as daily living aids.  Since its inception CIC has been working to improve the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK.  Some of the products in the portfolio are now being commercialised in partnership with third party manufacturers under licensing agreements. Products include mobility and communication aids, products to enable IT access, supportive seating writing and drawing aids, and adaptions to existing products. All products designed or modified ensure that the child is included and that social stigma is reduced as far as possible.

Cerebra is a national charity supporting brain injured children and their families. To find out more about their work please visit www.cerebra.org.uk

Note to Editor

  1. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University.
  2. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University.
  3. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014.

Further Information

  1. For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 OR Sarah Jones, PR & Marketing Assistant at Cerebra by emailing sarahj@cerebra.org.uk or calling 01267 244226 OR Sian Morgan, Head of PR and Fundraising at Cerebra by emailing sian@cerebra.org.uk or calling 07966 965 143