Cerebra Sensory Pod Chairs project underway thanks to Nationwide donation


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Cerebra Innovation Centre is collaborating on a project to build 10 new sensory stimulating Pod Chairs, thanks to a £10,000 donation from Nationwide.

Pod chair and Curtis

The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) - a partnership between UWTSD and the Carmarthen-based children’s charity, Cerebra, is based at the University’s Swansea College of Art, where the team design and build innovative, bespoke products that help disabled children discover and engage with the world around them.

The Pod Chairs are sensory stimulating and empower children to feel more grounded, balanced, and safe. They are hugely popular and have already made a big difference to children like Curtis (pictured).

Curtis has Charge Syndrome, which affects him in lots of different ways. It affects his development, meaning that he can’t walk and talk, and he also has many sensory issues. He is partially sighted and partially deaf and unable to tell where his body is in space, which leads to balance issues.

Mum, Louise contacted CIC after seeing a post on their Facebook page about the Pod Chairs. She knew one would be perfect for her son and it’s become an important part of his day. Curtis can touch the floor and spin himself, which gives him independence, but it also grounds him. The benefits really have been huge.

Dr Ross Head, Associate Professor and Product Design Manager at UWTSD’s Cerebra Innovation Centre said: “The chairs we make are beautifully crafted and super tough and enable sensory seekers to spin to their heart’s content, but they are really expensive to make, so funding like this goes a long way towards helping more children with beautiful yet functional products to help enrich their lives.”

The grant is part of Nationwide’s Colleague Grant programme, where twenty-four charities received a share of just over £200,000 to support projects in areas including innovation and helping people to thrive in their own environment.

Nicola Tilson, who is part of the Nationwide team at the Rotherham branch, knows the impact projects like this have on children living with a brain condition and their families. She said: “I work really closely with Cerebra helping with fundraising events, many of which we do as a team at our Rotherham branch. When the opportunity to apply for a grant for the charity came up, I jumped at the chance. Charities have been hit by the pandemic and anything we can do to support and help them continue their valuable work with local communities is so important.”

Dr Head added: “My team and I are so thankful to Nicola and her colleagues at Nationwide for their hard work and generosity towards Cerebra.”

James Hay, Cerebra Fundraising Manager added: “We are over the moon and incredibly grateful to receive the support of Nationwide, particularly the team at the Rotherham branch. This donation will enable us to provide ten safe, sensory stimulating Pod Chairs to help even more children like Curtis.”

Note to Editor

About Cerebra

We help families that include children with brain conditions find a better life together.

Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there’s any challenge that can’t be overcome.

So we listen to families, we learn from them, we work with them. We carry out research, we design and innovate, and we make and share. From new equipment to

new learning resources, to new ways to play and support each other, everything we find out together makes life better. It opens new doors to discovering the world.

It’s an incredibly rewarding journey for everyone involved. Why not be part of it? You never know what we’ll discover together.

There’s lots more information on our website www.cerebra.org.uk.

About CIC

Cerebra Innovation Centre is a UK national charity working to help children with neurological conditions. Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) is a collaborative venture between University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Cerebra.

The CIC team provide a bespoke product design service for the members of the charity. Many of the products designed and manufactured by the small team of designers and engineers, serve as daily living aids.

These include products to enable mobility around the home and school, products to enhance and enable play, aiding interaction and inclusion with peers and family. The team has even designed and manufactured adaptive sledges to enable transportation in snow and enhance sensory play.

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk