Belfast Telegraph

Website aimed at parent inventors

Parents who modify everyday products for children with special needs could see their inventions on sale worldwide, it has been claimed.

Leckey and Firefly, the Northern Ireland-based company behind the Upsee and GoTo Seat, want families to collaborate with professional designers through its new website, Hatch.

Chief executive James Leckey said: 'Hatch is where creativity meets the real life challenges of special needs families.

"If the right idea comes along - we will try to make it a reality."

The Upsee, a walking harness invented by mother Debby Elnatan for her son who has cerebal palsy, is now sold in more than 100 countries.

The GoTo Seat, developed with charity Cerebra, is also helping transform the lives of severely disabled youngsters.

Mr Leckey added: 'We've learnt from experience that we're better together. We receive ideas for new products on a daily basis from a wide range of people including therapists, parents and designers. These ideas show remarkable creativity and skill.

"Hatch will give us the structure needed to properly review these product ideas, but more importantly find out from the special needs community which of them will change lives."

Members of the public will be asked to vote on submitted ideas and the most popular will be reviewed by a panel of expert designer engineers, therapists and parents.

Claire Smyth, whose six-year-old son Daniel is profoundly disabled, said: " As parents we're already modifying existing products to suit our own child's needs, when in fact many other families might also benefit from these adaptions.

"Finally we have a voice and an opportunity to influence the type of equipment available to our children.

"I know many parents will be excited by Hatch and will have many life changing ideas that can make a real difference to kids with special needs across the world."

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From Belfast Telegraph