Here we share what’s going on with us. From charity events, to eco initiatives, to MBEs… you’ll find it all here.

Active Hands becomes VAT Registered

VAT stamp

Active Hands has been growing swiftly as a company and it has therefore been necessary to become VAT registered. This means that as of 1st July 2012 purchases made from within the EU are subject to Value Added Tax at 20%. As our products are designed principally for use by those with disabilities, however, we imagine most of our customers will qualify for exemption from VAT. This would apply if you “have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities” or you are purchasing for someone who…

Best in Business

'Stelios Award for Disabled Enterpreneurs in the UK 2011' logo

Disability is no barrier to determination as two entrepreneurs living with mobility issues have clearly shown. Last month wheelchair users Rob Smith, 36, who has a spinal injury, and Huw Thomas, 64, who has muscular dystrophy, were named joint winners of the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2011, run by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Mr Smith injured his spine 16 years ago after falling 40 feet down a cliff. While adapting to the radical lifestyle change he spotted a gap in the market for specialist equipment that would…

Travelling Skyward!

'Stelios Award for Disabled Enterpreneurs in the UK 2011' logo

After being a finalist in 2010 The Active Hands Company and company director Rob Smith have won the prestigious Disabled Entrepreneur Award 2011! Sponsored by Disability Charity Leonard Cheshire and easyJet owner Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the award ceremony took place in the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London on Wednesday 14th Dec 2011. The award for this year had already been narrowed down to the final twelve, with judges further choosing three finalists. A video of these finalists (including Rob) can be seen on Youtube. In the end judges were unable to pick a single winner and awarded the £50,000 cash prize…

Active Hands Offering Help for Heroes

Headley Court crest

In recent years stories of military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have been all too common. But equally frequent have been tales of great courage and bravery, especially among those injured in action and recovering back at home. In the UK the charity Help for Heroes has helped to keep the profile of those injured in service high, but what goes on behind the scenes? Over the last 18 months Active Hands has been privileged to work with DMRC Headley Court, assisting with the rehabilitation process for military personnel through demonstrating and developing gripping aids. It’s been an exciting relationship…

Stelios Scholars and Entrepeneurs Collaborate in a Unique Initiative!

Rob at Entrepreneur awards

Last week marked the launch of the innovative Win-Win Stelios Scholars and Entrepreneurs Initiative at the British Library’s Business and IP Centre, bringing together gifted scholars from LSE and Cass and the three finalists for last year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK. Under the supervision of a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and academics, the students have volunteered to devote 10 days over the next 3 months to craft a strategic review and come up with actionable suggestions for ways that the entrepreneurs can grow their businesses. A programme piloted by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation last year, the…

Inventive Businessman Up for Award

Rob, our company director

(Article appeared in the Leamington Observer, 16th November 2010) A disabled entrepreneur from Leamington has been shortlisted for a prestigious business award for an invention which offers a helping hand. Rob Smith’s product allows disabled people to which allows disabled people with limited hand function to grip a wide variety of items, from gym equipment and snooker cues to Nintendo Wii control sticks. In turn it allows them to live more independently. After discovering there was a huge gap in the market, Mr Smith designed the unique gripping aid with the help of his mother, and they started up their…

Brazilian Adventure Pays Dividends for Leamington Handbiker

Rob and Jo bike riding. Rob using Looped aids to hold handbike handles

Gruelling is not a word to apply lightly to a charity bike ride, but during Regain Trust’s recent adventure competitors were certainly made to work hard for their reward. Regain is a charity for sports tetraplegics, and organises bike rides to help raise awareness and vital funds. This year’s adventure took over forty competitors, including three hand cyclists and one Lady Penny Mountbatten, to Brazil, on a five day, 250 mile road trip from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro. Fabulous views there were, but as handbiker Rob Smith explains, the conditions were far from idyllic. “The first two days it chucked…

Into the Great Wide Open

General Purpose aids holding handles on adaptive off-road bike. Mandip Sehmi using General Purpose aids in the gym. Adaptive gym equipment. Suitable for reduced hand function: tetra, quad, cerebral palsy, SCI, spinal cord injury, limb difference, stroke and more.

Molten Rock and Active Hands are two companies with a similar aim. Formed in 2004, Molten Rock grew out of a group of adventurous wheelchair users who were tired of equipment which accentuated their disabilities rather than reflected their interests. Instead, the company developed a range of equipment to enable users to get out into the great wide open despite their limitations. By comparison the same frustration with physical limitations and existing equipment was what kick-started The Active Hands Company. The ability to grip objects is one of humanity’s greatest gifts and our gripping aids are designed to give back…