There are over 1.2 million regular wheelchair users in the UK, but how many of us have actually thought about the difficulties they face on a daily basis to cook a simple meal on standard kitchen appliances.
As a husband of a regular wheelchair user, seeing the difficult and dangerous but not to mention impossible tasks my wife faces in doing something we all take for granted disheartens me, when all she is trying to do is cook a simple meal for her family.
Before I go on any further, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Ian and I have a background in engineering. My business manufactures Mobile Cook Stations assisting many UK primary schools in teaching children how to cook simple, healthy meals developing their knowledge in probably the most important life skills of practical cooking. I have also teamed up with ITV's 'Eat Them To Defeat Them' nationwide campaign, teaching children of the importance of healthy eating and how to prepare and cook healthy meals.
Getting back to my wife's cooking dilemma, I knew I needed to do something to help her and other wheelchair users, so with both my engineers' and healthy eating caps on I set to work. Firstly I wanted to look at the health aspects of having difficulties in cooking from basic ingredients. I was quite shocked to learn that when I looked at the statistics for adults in the UK, wheelchair users are 52% more likely to be obese than a non-wheelchair user and all the health problems that come with obesity. One of the problems that comes with not cooking is that many people turn to the microwave to heat up processed frozen foods or get take-a-ways delivered from fast food companies and either option isn't great.
Now for the engineer in me. In the perfect kitchen for wheelchair users, cupboards, sinks, refrigerators, work surfaces, ovens and hobs would be installed at lowered levels as well as the floor area would be of a large size for maneuverability. Wouldn't that be nice; but we live in the UK, not in the Hollywood Hills and kitchens can be quite small. I needed to find the solution for small kitchens and pockets alike. I started looking at the average kitchen and a common characteristic is the 60cm plus gap for a free standing cooker. This gave me a idea, if I could design a height adjustable hob unit that fits into the 60cm gap and install the oven into a low level cupboard space, then this would solve many of the problems facing wheelchair users when cooking and without hurting their pockets too much.
My wife and I have now developed the height adjustable hob unit and have had a prototype manufactured. To test the concept, we have set it up in our dining room and have now been using it for several months. My wife is now enjoying cooking again with her new found independence and self-esteem.
Here are a few photos of the new hob unit in action along with a Neff slide & hide oven
- Electrically height adjustable
- Electronic anti-trap function
- Plugs into any 13amp socket
- Fits into a 60cm space
- Fitted with an induction hob
- Height adjustment isolated when the hob is in use
The hob unit is electrically height adjustable with an anti-trap function. It is free standing and supplied completely assembled so no installation required, it plugs straight into any 13amp socket and is supplied with a 3 metre long mains cable. It fits into any 60cm gap and has adjustable feet for uneven floors and for worktop alignment. The unit is fitted with a 4 zone induction hob for operator safety and for effortlessness cleaning. It also isolates the height adjustment mechanism when the induction hob is in use, again for safety. This unit can be supplied with a few optional extras such as a splash back (as shown in the photographs), 30cm preparation table for either or both sides of the hob and lockable castors making this unit totally mobile with the ability to fit through any standard doorway.
If you require further information regarding this product please call me on 01744 410 438 or email me at ku.oc.lamrehtaxemnull@selas