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Equipment Matters…’cos people matter

Two people chatting in a kitchen

Angela Catley, Community Catalysts Associate, speaks about the potential of community equipment to change people’s lives for the better.

We really want strategic decision makers to understand that good community equipment services are key. It’s not just about ‘items’…it’s people living their life their way.

Over the last 18 months or so Community Catalysts has been privileged to support the development of Equipment Matters, a citizen-led coproduction group with a focus on community equipment. The group was started by Medequip, a large community equipment provider, and has developed in a really positive and inspiring way. The group describes itself and its purpose in a much better way than I can…

Equipment Matters is a group run by people who use community equipment. It is linked to Medequip but does its own thing. It aims to do two things: to push Medequip to do better, and shake up the whole community equipment scene.

Group members strongly believe that ‘nothing about us without us’ principles are essential. They are also clear that these principles have not been embraced by the community equipment sector to date.

It often feels like plans and decisions about equipment are focused on things, not people. About someone’s idea of efficiency, not my idea of effectiveness!

Members also believe that community equipment has the potential to change people’s lives for the better, to help them live their life their way, get out and about and stay independent.

I use a range of equipment…having the right equipment, equipment that works well is really important to me. It can change a person’s life, it changed my life.

They know that many councils and health organisations are working in more personal ways that value people and help them live their lives, but they feel that this has yet to impact on community equipment services. Evidence given by members reflects their experiences. Issues include unclear information, assessment and prescribing; a limited choice of often ugly equipment; poor design; and inflexible delivery and equipment servicing.

…often people have made decisions about equipment that haven’t included me and the equipment has, at times, made my home feel like an institution.

This week group members are proud to attend and present at the National Association of Equipment Providers (NAEP) conference in Warwickshire.

This should provide people who use equipment with a real opportunity to share their experiences, ideas and to challenge the sector in a constructive way. Remember that Equipment Matters…’cos people matter.

If you are interested in learning more about Equipment Matters contact: