An invention with a Social Purpose
Tomcat Special Needs Innovation Ltd, is a Gloucester based design and manufacturing company providing specialist seating and tricycle solution to the disabled community, either direct to the customer, or through a UK and worldwide network of specialist distributors.
Over twenty-two years, Tomcat has built on its signature innovation of Carer Control™, (whereby the steering, braking and speed of a trike are controlled by a carer), with nearly fifty further innovations, many of which have become industry standards worldwide.
We are all unique.
Tomcats prolific portfolio of innovation came from its willingness to bespoke build in a medium volume environment, recognising as it did, that each customer is unique in their abilities and aspirations. It was a policy that changed lives and was recognised in 2013 with the company’s first Queen’s Award for sustained Enterprise in Innovation.
Much of the company’s design work addresses the challenges presented by genetic disease; either physical or cognitive, and as a consequence, most products were provided for children in their formative years where the health and social effects of managed exercise can be life-changing.
Our world is changing.
However, in recent years we are increasingly reminded of the fragility of planet earth. Technologies that define us – like the airplane, train and motor car – have all played a detrimental part; but in recent years a genuine desire has grown to find greener transport alternatives.
Tomcat responded to those changing aspirations by transferring its “access, transportability and genetic and acquired disease I.P”. to the adult tricycle market where, despite the numerous health and environmental benefits, there was little provision for adults with mobility or disability issues.
The outcome was the Bullet range of tricycles for which we are proud to have won our second Queens Award. The range incorporates five models, that separately have the capability of addressing almost all obstacles to cycling, encountered by customers in their teenage to senior adult years.
The Apprentice model is designed for those needing carer supervision through blindness, cognitive or physical disabilities, whilst the Silver Bullet is a multi-geared machine for fully independent riders with difficulties ranging from balance and access issues, through to stroke and heart disease recovery.
The Cycle Squad is an easy access, easily adjustable machine for multi-user environments, such as schools and cycle hire facilities whilst the Flash is an out and out high-performance sports machine. Finally, the Rotor is a finely balanced, hand-propelled machine for riders unable to use their legs.
Change is a natural part of life.
Because it is the nature of peoples lifestyle or disability to be constantly changing, the entire range is modularly designed to change with their needs or abilities; for example, single speeds can become multi-speeds, or manual drives can become e-trikes ranging from slow speed drives for supervised trikes through to high-performance pedal assistance for independent models.
Bob Griffin, Tomcats M.D. says.
My team are very proud to have won this new Queen’s Award for innovation, because not only will it encourage the non-disabled community to adopt a healthier, greener form of transport, it will also help bring an understanding of what is personally achievable to the disabled adult community – an ever-growing section of society that is so often ignored.
The Bullet has created a new technology for those who may have thought their cycling days were over, but for many, it may be just beginning. An essential part of everything we design is about style because feeling good about yourself and what you are doing is important to us all. What could lift your spirits or make you feel prouder to be cycling than to ride the UK’s highways and byways on a Queen’s Award-winning tricycle.