Phone: 07482 151537
Skill wises - I’m doing pretty good. Mastered the kerbs - on even grounds. As the grass - lifting the front caster has really helped a lot especially when it comes to watching the nephews weekly when he’s playing football, but only on dry grass. Good pushing technique on the rims has saved me so much energy.
I’m off to start the wheelchair races next month - pretty excited. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
Physiotherapist. Royal Star & Garter Homes.
Stuart came to see one of our residents for an outdoor wheelchair driving lesson. He devised a comprehensive learning plan, carried out an excellent training session and gave good feedback. His follow-up phone call a month later was also welcomed. I now feel far more confident in supporting our resident to practise his skills in the local area.
Spinal Cord Injured, Fibromyalgia.
Statement taken from month follow up call.
I have been getting on really well since the training with Freedom Wheelchair Skills. I have not fallen out, balancing better, so well in fact my rear wheels have been brought forward. I have been getting out more and cobbles don't deter me. I feel a lot more confident.
Motor Neurone Disease
Since the NHS no longer provides any wheelchair training and being entirely new to using such a thing, I booked a session with Stuart Wheeler. He gave me a lot more confidence in using it and I have since managed a trip to the shops with it, under my own steam, as well as a trip to a local park.
Most people you see in a wheelchair are being pushed by someone else, but I am keen to be able to propel myself. Stuart showed me how to get the wheelchair over obstacles, such as a hose pipe, thresholds and kerbs. I made more progress in the session than I would have thought possible, particularly in being able to get the front castors off the ground, which is essential for getting over obstacles
Stuart gave me a useful pack of information at the end, including reminder sheets and useful contacts.
Stuart's ability to get around in an ordinary saloon, with hand controls, stowing his wheelchair on and around the passenger seat in bits, was impressive. His chair was lighter and stronger than mine, rigid rather than folding.
Spinal Cord Injured
The venue was perfect and with so much variety and good realistic situations to practice the skills. The training was very worth while, useful and good fun. I learnt Essential Skillls that I feel confident to now practice and master!
OT Healthcare Ltd
I approached Stuart at Freedom Wheelchair Skills for help with a number of children I have recently started to work with. They had all sustained spinal cord injuries in the last couple of years. We needed some guidance to build their confidence in their wheelchairs in the community.
Stuart put the children all at ease, took them back to basics and progressed them through their varying levels of skills in a lighthearted manner. It was a great day and I look forwards to arranging another. Stuart was extremely knowledgeable and approachable, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone looking to improve their wheelchair skills.
CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) 5 years
I use crutches every day but there is only so far I can get on them before I get too tired and the pain in my foot, ankle and leg becomes unbearable. Realising I needed a wheelchair to help me get about more was a bitter sweet. On one hand it allows me to get out more, access more and do more with my daughter. On the other hand I was terrified and felt pretty down about using one when I first got it.
My first experience trying to use my wheelchair was shocking! I didn't get any advice, or lessons, or even tips from wheelchair services, so my first attempt at using it was a dismal failure. I needed help! Pavements are not flat or smooth, curbs are like mountains when you're in a wheelchair, and although my hands and arms were used to crutches they were not prepared for pushing myself in the chair. But I was determined to be able to push myself for my own independence and exercise.
I asked Stuart to help. We had several sessions out in my wheelchair down my local park and the surrounding area, before working up to a trip out around town. Stuart showed me techniques and invaluable tips; even how to push correctly! Vitally important things that I was not shown by wheelchair services. Stuart showed me how to turn corners properly, how to push in a straight line (sounds silly, but no pavement is flat or straight), how to get up and down kerbs (without falling out!), tips for getting up steeper inclines, how to build up my strength and stamina. Most importantly Stuart helped me with my confidence when in my wheelchair, that there is way more I can do in my chair than not, that I can still live life and do all the things I want to do, regardless of being on my crutches or in my wheelchair.
Stuart's attitude to life is truly inspirational and I am so grateful for all his help!
Brittle bone disease
I have brittle bone disease, so learning wheelchair skills was something I was nervous about because my body can't take a fall. Stuart put me at ease and reinforced my belief that it's safer to have the skills than not have them. Stuart was a great help and I always felt safe. I'm much more confident in my chair now, and have a better feel of how my chair will react.
Health & Physical Wellbeing Advisor, Help for Heroes
Stuart is an exceptional trainer in wheelchair skills. Teaching beginners the basics, from pushing their day chair forwards and backwards as well as developing their skills and confidence in the manoeuvrability of their chair. Stuart is clear and concise with his explanations and demonstrations before letting people try. Stuart will also come alongside and do some 1:1 work with clients and help place hands in the correct position to push their chair. This enables clients to have different learning styles, which engages all learning styles whether visually, auditory or kinaesthetic.
Stuart is able to give practical advice of how to use a wheelchair, as well as examples of incidents that have happened to him. Stuart is a great role model for youngsters as well as adults. Stuart is keen to develop all clients to the best of their ability whether through communication or practically. All clients leave the sessions refreshed and enlightened having learnt new skills, whether it is from flicking their castors up in the air to backwheel balancing or going off kerbs or down stairs. Stuart always has a scenario to help with the clients learning to give them incidences to work out.
Sixth Form Student
I would definitely recommend Freedom Wheelchair Skills as I have learnt a variety of new techniques to help me be more independent in tackling everyday problems when out and about. Furthermore, it was good value for money and, overall, was a great experience.
Deputy SEN Manager
I approached Freedom Wheelchair Skills as we have a student in the 6th form who is a wheelchair user. Our student had never been offered proper training on how to use his chair and get the best performance out of the chair. I had spoken to Stuart from Freedom Wheelchair Skills for advice on how our student uses his wheelchair. Stuart was very helpful and informative; he was able to answer my questions and give us good advice. Our student was shown different ways to push his wheelchair, balancing on his wheels, using the techniques to access kerbs. The delivery of the training was friendly and Stuart soon built up a good relationship with our student, engaging in good conversation. Stuart was able to show our student things like going downstairs in his chair; this made him realise all these things are possible for him as well, even down to explaining how Stuart gets in and out of his car independently. We are looking to use Freedom Wheelchair skills again next term for our student for further training. We would highly recommend the service we received.
Spinal Cord Injury
I had my C6 injury 15 months ago so I had only had the basic wheelchair skills at Stoke Mandeville. With Stuart's tuition I was back wheel balancing down a slope and dropping off a decent size kerb within 3 hours. I also managed to get up a decent size one too. Stuart is very patient and would explain things in a different way if I wasn't getting it!
My session with Stuart has paid enormous dividends. Before attending, I hadn't the confidence or skills to use my wheelchair to negotiate slopes, kerbs or door thresholds. After three hours with Stuart at the helm, I now understand the mechanics of wheelchair mobility and can now begin to use it with confidence. Stuart has an extremely diligent and motivating attitude, he really cares. I encourage anyone to attend training with Stuart.. it's inspiring!
Mobility reduced after cancer surgery.
The one-to-one session on advanced skills that I had with Stuart was tremendous. The phone-based assessment beforehand covered not only my level of skill, experience and confidence, but also my chair, my height and weight, and a discussion about health issues that might affect my chair use. It was very thorough, and enabled Stuart to design the session very much around my specific needs. He's very friendly and easy to talk to.
On the day, he was careful to go through some of the basics to check on my technique, and to make sure that I really did have the skills I was claiming to have! And we moved on pretty quickly to the things I had come to sort. He was clear in his coaching, and specific with guidance, and as I made progress he kept stretching me a little, suggesting the next thing to try, and making the tasks a little harder all the time. He also took notes and sent me away with some practice sheets. And he followed up with an email containing, personalised advice based on the manouevres we had covered.
All in all, I was really pleased and feel much more confident about the techniques I'd been struggling with. Stuart was a pleasure to spend time with. I'd recommend the sessions without hesitation. In fact, I already have!
Wheelchair skills course covered everything from basics to how to drive a wheelchair. It is the best course I have done and now everybody wants to do this. Thank you Stuart. Great instructor, well done, first class!.
The Freedom Wheelchair Skills training improved my existing skills, learned by trial and error over the five years I've used a wheelchair. Stuart also taught me some new skills, improving my ability to handle stairs. When I first got a wheelchair in 2011, I couldn't get any training - I'm pleased to see Freedom Wheelchair Skills working to change this.
Although those suffering spinal injuries do seem to have access to training, for my condition (MS) I struggled to find any support when I started using a wheelchair. Stuart at Freedom Wheelchair Skills fills this gap. The session was very informative and gave me the opportunity to practice a wide range of skills. Where I could not manage some techniques Stuart adapted them until I could. He is very professional and the follow up report and technique cards are very useful. It has already made a positive difference to how I use the chair and also highlighted the limitations and risks involved.
I met Stuart where he booked a community centre to carry out the wheelchair skills training. We spoke several times on the phone prior to meeting and Stuart kept me up to date on the booking throughout, also carrying out an assessment on the phone, identifying the targets I wanted to achieve. I attended the training with my support worker (Hayley) and I was concerned that she may end up sitting around watching all day, but this was not the case. Stuart fully involved Hayley in the training which was really good as she can now support me in developing my skills. Stuart is an excellent trainer, being friendly, supportive and extremely knowledgeable around how to teach new skills. What was particularly good was Stuart's understanding of how learning new skills can be difficult and tiring, so ensured lots of variety and if something was proving difficult I'd try 3 or 4 times and then rather than having to keep trying and there being a risk of becoming despondent, he would get me to try something different, then come back to the skill that was particularly difficult later. The venue is excellent for learning new skills, having different doors and plinths, steps, a great hall, gravel outside, slopes, cobbles, grass, gates etc - it's absolutely perfect. Stuart taught me loads of new skills and techniques and I am considerably more confident in my chair, having now gone round the shops on my own, something I would never have done before. The skills he taught have also reduced the tiredness I would feel and specific techniques have totally stopped the neck and shoulder pains I was getting. I think the whole package - Stuart, venue, knowledge, skills and personality make this training exceptional and I would recommend any person needing to use a wheelchair either permanently or when required attend this training, it far exceeded my expectations and is affordable. I would happily have paid double the money as it's helped me so much.