My Dad passionately believed that anyone could achieve their dreams with a good education and the right support. His sudden death in 2011 came as a shock to his family, friends, and colleagues who miss him dearly. When he died, my Dad was in the midst of developing a fund that would give talented young people the support they needed to pursue a career in engineering.

To honour my Dad's contibution to education and continue his great work, my Mum and I teamed up with ATG Training and Brunel University to set up the Dave Granshaw Foundation: a non-profit organisation that enables disadvantaged young people to pursue a career in engineering by providing funding, facilities, and industry contacts. Here is a collection of some of the incredible work that the Dave Granshaw Foundation has funded over the years.

Rob Bye

Many children living in The Gambia, West Africa, live in remote communities, far away from their nearest school. The lack of reliable or affordable transport means that these children are forced to walk great distances in the searing heat if they want the benefit of an education. The charity Jole Rider (pronounced jolly rider) send secondhand bicycles to schools in The Gambia to enable children to get to and from school quickly and safely, making a world of difference to these children’s lives. However, as these bikes were designed for the European market they are prone to break in the harsh African climate and are difficult to repair due to the lack of suitable components.

Jole Rider asked Rob Bye, an industrial design student at Brunel University, to design a bike frame that was more suited to The Gambia’s environment and would ultimately enable more children in The Gambia to attend school. The bike frame needed to be extremely hard wearing, easily repaired with minimal tools and readily available components, safe to ride by people of different ages, and cheap to manufacture.

The Dave Granshaw Foundation and the James Dyson Foundation were able to provide Rob with the funding he needed to take a prototype of his bike to The Gambia for a week of testing. As well as putting the prototype through its paces, Rob also spoke to the children, teachers, and mechanics who regularly use bikes and used his findings to improve the design of his bicycle frame.

You can see more of Rob’s work at www.robertbye.com

Tom Adcock

The prevalence and dangers of concussion is an issue that is only just beginning to be recognised within the sport of rugby. Concussion is a minor traumatic brain injury that is caused by an impact to the head or upper body. Continuing to play rugby in the weeks following a concussion can lead to ‘chronic traumatic encephalopathy’ (CTE), dementia, and in some cases the fatal ‘second impact syndrome’. Due to the notoriously macho attitude towards injury within the sport and the lack of visible symptoms, concussion is rarely diagnosed or treated in rugby players who have been afflicted by it.

Tom Adcock wanted to make it easier for rugby players to identify whether they were suffering from a concussion. His concept was to develop a skullcap equipped with sensors which could measure and record the severity of any impacts to a player’s head during a game. The data from these sensors would be analysed after the game to check for any potential concussive impacts, in which case the player could then seek medical attention.

The Dave Granshaw Foundation enabled Tom to turn his concept into a working prototype by providing him with the funds he needed to source sensors that were tough enough to withstand severe impacts yet small enough to be integrated into Tom’s unobtrusive skullcap design.

You can see more of Tom’s work at www.behance.net/tomadcockdesign/

Faisal Anabah

One of the most significant factors to influence the quality of a wheelchair user’s professional and social life is transport. It is estimated that mobility-impaired individuals are 50% less likely to travel for social, leisure, or sporting activities than non-disabled individuals. Research also suggests that the second biggest contributor to unemployment among mobility-impaired individuals is the lack of efficient and reliable transport.

During his research, Faisal Anabah identified a particular problem that wheelchair users who rely on their own private transport have to contend with. Standard wheelchair frames are fixed and the typical diameter of the wheels is between 20-24 inches. By contrast, the space between a car’s driving seat and the steering wheel can be as little as 18.5 inches. When the driver gets into the car, the remaining space between themselves and the steering wheel can be less than 11 inches. This means that wheelchair users either require assistance to load their wheelchair into the car or they must take it apart themselves before every journey. It takes the average wheelchair user between 7 to 15 minutes and an incredible amount of effort to get themselves and their wheelchair into a car, compared to less than 15 seconds for a non-disabled individual.

To address this problem, Faisal designed a completely new wheelchair that has a collapsable frame and uses a different mechanism for propulsion to power highly compact wheels. The Dave Granshaw Foundation was able to support the project by providing the funds for equipment and arranging access to professional engineering workshops, allowing Faisal to build a working prototype, as well as putting him in contact with a disabled sports charity who could provide user interviews and usability tests.

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