The Dave Granshaw Foundation

Enabling disadvantaged young people to pursue a career in engineering by providing funding, facilities, and industry contacts.

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

Cara O’Sullivan

Over 18% of the global population has moderate to extreme difficulty with walking, and the global need for walking aids is set to keep rising as the population grows and ages. Whether it’s a walking stick, crutches, or a walking fame, it is important that people are provided with the correct type of support as their conditions change in order to prevent further injury or falls. After visiting a mobility rehabilitation centre in rural Peru, Cara became aware of the severe lack of walking aids available in developing regions of the world, particularly for people living on little or no income. This is preventing people from working, getting an education, and participating in their community.

To solve this problem Cara set out to design a long-term and affordable solution to mobility rehabilitation across developing regions of the world. She developed a modular walking aid kit which can be tailored to suit the needs of a user as their condition changes. The kit utilises the global availability of timber pallets and cable ties, and by tailoring the manufacturing methods to suit the skills of local craftsmen, the design can be locally produced in a sustainable manner. The kit can be assembled to form a walking frame, a pair of axillary crutches, or a walking stick. Costing less than 70 pence to make, people on low income are able to afford it without relying on charity aid.

In order to reach the final design Cara thoroughly explored a range of materials, fixing mechanisms, and manufacturing techniques which all required prototyping and testing. The Dave Granshaw Foundation provided funding for this process which was fundamental to discovering the ideal solution. Cara was awarded the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED) annual student award for her project, and was a finalist for the Nesta Inclusive Technology Prize and the James Dyson Foundation Award.

You can see more of Cara’s work at

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

Melissa Cameron

Every year the cost of winter cold claims 31,000 lives of elderly and other vulnerable people. Many of these deaths are caused by insufficient access to an effective heating solution. The rise in energy bills and day-to-day living are forcing people further into an energy deficit, leaving people to choose between eating a hot meal or keeping their home warm. Insufficient heating has huge consequences on a person’s health; overexposure to the cold for 2 or more hours could leave someone at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. Pneumonia and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease are the biggest killers in over 65s, and currently costs the NHS £1.36 billion a year.

Melissa’s aim was to design a cheap, energy-efficient way of protecting the elderly population from the winter cold. The solution was a localised heating system powered by induction, a relatively new and inexpensive method of heating, to create fast and powerful heating cycles. The main unit heats three devices – a gel pad, slippers, and a blanket – via an induction coil. The devices provide heat to the areas of the body that are most commonly susceptible to cold, ensuring the user’s core temperature is kept stable and reducing the risk of associated illnesses. All the devices were designed to be independent of the unit, electricity, and wires to improve energy use and mobility for users. Due to the rapid heating cycles enabled by the induction coil, the devices can be heated in 1-2 minutes, as opposed to 2-3 hours. The unit will automatically turn on when a drop in room temperature is detected, but can also be controlled manually through a simple interface.

The Dave Granshaw Foundation provided Melissa with the funds she needed to turn her idea into a working prototype, enabling her to source the necessary electronic components that were small enough to be housed within her design while still providing the right frequency for fast and efficient heating.

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.