Firefly launches specially adapted shopping trolley for disabled kids
The Co Antrim firm behind the Leckey Upsee walking aid has launched a specially adapted shopping trolley for disabled children and their families.
It has already sold 3,000 units of the product, adding sales of around £0.5m.
More than 1,500 of the trolleys are already being introduced across supermarket chains, including Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Dunnes, with a further 1,500 to be added in coming months.
And the Lisburn company behind the innovative design, Firefly by Leckey, is hoping to win further contracts with other supermarket firms including Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons, as well as expanding into mainland Europe and the US.
The GoTo Shop Trolley has been designed to make shopping easier for parents and carers of children with disabilities and more comfortable for the child.
The trolley seat comes with a secure five-point harness, padded seat and open front for easy transfer.
Claire Smith, Firefly community manager, said: "We are delighted that shopping excursions are being transformed for many families.
"It is wonderful that families now have access to this trolley at a number of supermarket chains.
"We would also love to see other companies take on the new trolley.
"We'd love to see this happening at M&S in particular because they have recently launched a clothing range for disabled children, so we believe our trolleys represent the ethos of and the direction in which the company is moving.
"Further afield, we are looking to find trolley manufacturers in America and Europe and we're also taking into consideration any minor design changes that may be required to make the trolley suitable for retailers in other countries."
Louise Watson, whose five-year-old daughter Bethany has a rare condition that impairs her mobility, said she had been campaigning for her supermarket to introduce the GoToShop trolley.
The Bangor explained that the importance of the shopping trolley could not be underestimated. "For parents of disabled children, it is the little things that make a big difference," she added.
"Shopping trips can often be a major - if not impossible task - for parents and this trolley is exactly what is needed.
"Shopping used to be such a stressful experience for me, but the new trolley makes a genuine difference.
"It's great to see that supermarkets across Northern Ireland and beyond are recognising the vital need for these trolleys.
"I asked my local supermarket to offer the trolley and they were very obliging, so I would encourage families to ask their local stores and join the #everysupermarket campaign."
Firefly by Leckey has also created an app that shows where the trolleys are located.
The company hit the headlines two years ago when it manufactured the Upsee walking harness.
The device, which was invented by Israeli mum Debby Elnatan and is manufactured by Firefly by Leckey, is being shipped to 100 countries across the world.
Claire added: "As we have seen with the Upsee, it is the simple products that improve everyday life that are the most effective."