The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


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Papering over budget cracks

A new CSP occupational group recently turned the Society's Council room into a hands-on, craft workshop.

Combining their inaugural general meeting with a study day, members of the International Support Group for Chartered Physiotherapists (ISG4CP) got together to create scaled-down models of rehabilitation and disability equipment using sustainable resources. Employing a technique originally developed in Zimbabwe, which uses paper and card to create furniture, they learnt how the method can also be used to provide disability aids.

The technique offers real hope for health services in poorer countries, where expensive disability equipment can be unaffordable. The ISG4CP already has more than 60 members. It was set up to help UK-registered physiotherapy clinicians, managers and educators working abroad, and those considering a move overseas. CSP international development adviser Liz Carrington said the day was a huge success. 'The Council room has never seen anything like it,' she added. 'Never before have we seen physios working there on tarpaulin with flour paste, kettles of hot water, papier mâché and cardboard.'

Jean Westmacott, of People Potential, led the session. The organisation aims to help people develop and use their potential in practical work through research, knowledge and training. Its ultimate goal is to build practical capacities in designing and manufacturing at individual and community level. Working from a base in Hampshire, People Potential has a special emphasis on people as the most valuable resource in developing solutions on a sustainable basis. Appropriate disability design in assistive furniture and everyday living devices is one of its specialist areas of work.

Courses are run in other countries as well as the UK, with projects focusing on using materials available and affordable to the people involved. For example, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, paediatric physio Archie Hinchcliffe and Ms Westmacott ran training in Syria on making appropriate paper-based technology equipment. This was done in conjunction with teaching on assessment, physiotherapy treatment and home positioning of children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

>> For more information about making assistive furniture and everyday living aids from cardboard, go to:

>> For information on joining the ISG4CP, email treasurer and membership secretary Lyn Hemmings at:


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