My final week at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) has revealed that inevitably I’m not the only person examining the possibilities for improved seating design. From car seats to desk chairs to wheelchairs, the message is always the same; using new technologies future seats can and need to be better designed around the human body. There’s an asterisk on the end of that phrase though: the sheer amount of variation doesn’t make this an easy task. To this end a great deal of time this week has been spent reading through academic papers examining different aspects or users of all sorts of chairs, and obtaining the many papers referenced in each.
Spending time on the other side of a school is something I cannot recommend enough. As strange as it may sound, I have begun to appreciate that teachers and staff are human – sounds like an obvious statement but up until the age of 9 I assumed they lived in their classrooms! Not only are they human, but some of the most hard working and dedicated people.
I digress. The resources I have produced are now seeping into lessons. My regenerated school rock collection, along with factsheets, has been used in several science lessons with great feedback – supporting students (and staff) who lack complete understanding and appreciation of rocks.
Scientists from all walks of life will likely be familiar with the concept of known unknowns and unknown unknowns. I believe these two phrases can be considered synonyms for research. I started this week with a set of known unknowns; research avenues to pursue given where I thought I could gain information to aid the development of the wheelchair seat prescription device I mentioned in my last post. By the end of this week, after travelling through link after link online and receiving a ton of leads from discussions with hospital staff, this project has gained more facets than it started with.
It’s now been two weeks and they’ve flown past! While by no means an expert, I can safely say I understand the issue of youth unemployment in much more depth now. Over the past week, I have been working on my mini-project which has now been confirmed.
Before comparing projects, it is important to finalise the criteria that will be used; they vary widely and can often be hard to measure. Prior to my involvement in the project, the team had created an Excel spreadsheet which brought the criteria together from different research papers. For my mini-project, I am going through these papers again and contextualising the criteria; this involves summarising the paper, focusing on the challenges faced by India in particular, and creating a model which can be used to compare projects.
For the past week, my work has been based around obtaining sponsorship, big and small, for general operation and the annual dinner.
As London Tigers is a sports-based charity, I made a list of companies that were sports or fitness related and had some kind of donation request form on their websites or accepted sponsorship proposals. The sports based organisations included brands such as Umbro, Lucozade and Nike to name a few. For these companies, the application was relatively shorter with more simple online forms asking whether we were asking for cash or product, what it was going to be used for and how the company would benefit.
After a couple of weeks here at CDP I thought it was about time to give a summary of the work done by CDP and what I’ve been up to since the start of July.
CDP (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) are a global environmental non-profit organisation, whose goal is to increase transparency of environmental effects of companies and change the behaviours of companies for the better in three key areas: Carbon emissions, Water usage and Deforestation. CDP do this by asking companies to perform self assessments and disclose emissions and usage data by responding to CDP’s annual questionnaires on Water, Climate Change and Deforestation.
It is often the case with many a soap opera episode that the opening story leads on to a bigger issue that takes up the remaining time of the episode before reaching resolution at the end.
My Charity Insights project, much like many a research project, is beginning to resemble such an episode. The problems with current wheelchairs as identified at the outset have swiftly revealed a deeply related and possibly more fundamental issue with wheelchairs. The seat, the undeniably most important wheelchair component, is fundamentally flawed.
It’s a problem rehabilitation hospitals and companies alike have been trying to solve for decades.
“Socio-economic equality through the education of underprivileged children” – This is the grand aim of Asha for Education, my host charity for the Insights scheme this summer. It has over 66 offices worldwide, running more than 300 projects in India to help improve the literacy levels of the poorest in society. The majority of the international ‘chapters’, as they are called, are responsible for fundraising. However as part of my internship, I am involved with the project analytics side of things.
With over 300 projects, some are bound to under-perform. On the other hand, there will be lots of projects that achieve their aims and make a difference in society.
Pitch Side Banners
In June 2014, London Tigers Sports Complex was opened – a £2.2m state of the art facility which offers training, sports, youth, intergenerational and community facilities. As the centre of all of London Tigers’ sporting activities, it is home to:
- 2 tennis courts
- 2 cricket pitches
- 3 lane cricket nets
- 11-a-side artificial grass football pitch
- Athletics running track
The park sees over 600 people pass through the complex daily and during summer it sees up to 1000 people per day. One of the ways in which the organisation could make use of these facilities and generate an additional income, is by displaying banners on the pitch side which local businesses could advertise on.