PhysioNet News No.3 Winter 2010 PhysioNet’s third newsletter is going out to our readers with all Good Wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. Membership now stands at over 100 and feedback on the style of the newsletter would be appreciated. A number of readers liked the story of “Suzie Wheelchair’s” journey from York to help a former leper and his wife in western Viti Levu (Fiji), which appeared in the last newsletter. We ship a lot of animal style equipment made by a company in Sheffield and perhaps following “Humphrey the Camel” (see photo) to his final destination would make an interesting story. Our AGM when you can hear about our busiest year to date, will be held in Knaresborough on 8th January 2011 and a cordial invitation is extended to all members. Shipments. The shipment which arrived in Cotonou (Benin) in the summer has been distributed The Ghana shipment in late August was very high profile, with national TV coverage and the involvement of both the Vice President and the Minister of Health. Eight MPs distributed 180 wheelchairs in their constituencies whilst all of the SN equipment went to the Ada District Hospital. As this is being printed the third shipment this year is due to dock in Durban and will then travel by rail to Manzini in Swaziland. It will be met by Sandra Ciernioch an OT from Leicester who plans to work as a volunteer in Swaziland for the next 3 years, so the feedback should be good. Business PhysioNet’s management style is best described as extremely “careful” and is characterised by only paying for materials and services as a last resort. This approach works thanks to: A team of volunteers, including a number of Knaresborough Rotarians who do the driving, collecting, packing storing and loading; The free use of the barns at Greenfield Farm (Lower Dunsforth) without which the operation would cease; The free supply of industrial packing film from STC Converters near Darlington. Experience shows that wrapping items of various shapes and sizes in film is the only way (short of boxing everything) of preparing a consignment for shipping; A good discount on van hire from Charltons of Boroughbridge. Funds So far, and because we operate on a shoe string, we receive sufficient income from donations to cover the UK operations including transport to the container port. At the destination the recipient bears the responsibility and cost of Customs clearance, transportation, storage and distribution. This however leaves the significant cost of paying for the port to port shipment and we have been fortunate in2010 to have had these costs covered by: Benin. The local NGO receiving the consignment. Ghana. The Wheelchair Foundation (a Rotary charity) gave PhysioNet a grant of nearly £2,000. Swaziland. The £5,000 grant received from the Network for Social Change more than covered the shipping costs. Equipment . We are now accomplished at collecting and finding a good home for paediatric physiotherapy equipment and various mobility items such as zimmers, rollators, crutches etc as well as wheelchairs. In addition we have recently been given two large van loads of (mostly new) “care in the community” items such as toilet, shower and kitchen aids. Sandra Ciernioch the OT who will be working in Swaziland particularly requires such things and is well used to using them. Failing to move South Links with three Rotary clubs in Essex enabled us to have the use of a free store in Rayleigh. Lindie Dalton a South African physiotherapist working in London delivered quite a lot of equipment to the store and we hoped to have sufficient to ship a container load to South Africa. Unfortunately the lease is being sold and Lindie is returning home, so that enterprise will come to an end and all of the equipment will be moved north before Christmas. Where have all the Wheelchairs Gone? This year in addition to 800 wheelchairs we have also shipped 50 sets of spare wheels in the expectation that the recipients will establish a wheelchair repair service. Disappointingly at present we have less than 30 wheelchairs in stock and we are at a loss to understand this sudden shortage of supply. The defunct charity the Inside Out Trust which collected wheelchairs and bikes for refurbishment in various H M Prisons has recently re-emerged as the Margaret Carey Foundation (MCF). PhysioNet enjoys a good relationship with MCF as their concern is largely prisoner rehabilitation, whilst ours is the supply of refurbished chairs to send overseas, but MCF themselves have hardly sufficient throughput to keep even one prison busy.