A Hawke's Bay 5-year-old with cerebral palsy will be able to skate safely with confidence on his new skateboard over the summer using a custom-built rig presented to Bay Skate on Friday.
Hawke's Bay-based school and office furniture manufacturer Furnware designed and built a mobility frame on wheels for adaptive scootering and skateboarding to benefit children with physical disabilities.
The idea came from paediatric physiotherapist Ginny Couch, who advocates inclusive activities for tamariki with disabilities and special needs, and helped initiate the project.
One of her clients, 5-year-old Rocco Green, has cerebral palsy and received a skateboard for a Christmas gift.
After doing some research, Couch decided to reach out to the community, seeking support to create a special skate rig designed to make skateboarding accessible for children with severe physical limitations.
Acting Furnware CEO Duncan Hope said the project fit Furnware's philosophy of designing and creating innovative furniture solutions for children and supporting positive learning experiences and he was very proud to be a part of it.
"Skateboarding was how I spent my youth, and I still have one now, so when Ginny came to me with the skate rig idea and talked about Rocco, there was only one answer," Hope said.
"At Furnware, we have a team of amazing industrial designers and engineers that were able to turn this idea into reality with some help from local suppliers."
Furnware's design and engineering team handed over the finished skate rig frame to Rocco Green and Couch at Bay Skate on Friday afternoon.
Rocco's mother Ashlee Green said she was thrilled about the idea and she agreed to have him participate in the testing phase of the skate rig build.
"When Ginny first approached us with the idea for a special skate rig, we looked at some videos of similar frames on YouTube. The smile on kids' faces was the biggest motivation to get us started," Green said.
The rig designed by Furnware fits around the skater with a harness that helps the user stand on the skateboard or scooter, while bungee straps keep the wheels in place.
It's designed for the skater to feel comfortable and enjoy the sport while someone pushes the frame.
Green said she was very thankful to everyone who contributed to the project and very impressed with the rig, which she looks forward to Rocco using over the summer.
Couch said it has been great to expand roller sports and skateboarding to be inclusive of tamariki with disabilities.
"It has been great to collaborate with Furnware; they have taken the project to heart, drawing on their design team and local businesses' support to ensure the skate frame is 'just right' and fit for purpose. We are very fortunate!"
Furnware thanked local suppliers Industrial Tube manufacturers, Wheels Plus, Fast Trade, Curran Engineering and GTECH.NZ for providing free components to make the skate rig and support.