PhysioNet: loading the 15,000th wheelchair

Yorkshire based PhysioNet, a national charity with a strong Rotary influence, has loaded its 108th container of unwanted physiotherapy equipment for disabled people including its 15,000th   wheelchair.

The charity was started by Knaresborough Rotarian Peter Thompson after he visited Sarajevo, in 2004, where he was impressed by the work of the charity Hope and Homes for Children which helped children orphaned by the Balkan War. However, it was apparent that the most severely disabled children were in great need of special paediatric physiotherapy equipment, which was unavailable in Bosnia. On returning to the UK, Peter found sources of surplus aids for the disabled, including wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames which could easily meet Sarajevo’s needs, but could also help others around the world. This led to the birth of PhysioNet.

Since 2009 PhysioNet has sent containers to 28 different countries.

The total amount of recycled equipment sent overseas equates to approximately 60,000 units to help people with disabilities The new value of these items in UK would exceed £10 million, weighing in at 600 tonnes, most of which would have ended up in UK landfill sites.”

Mike Adams, Chairman, PhysioNet

The recipient of this container will be the Rotary Club of Harare Dawn in Zimbabwe and it will be the ninth container they have received since 2016. Five local Rotary Clubs (Knaresborough, York Ainsty, York, Horbury and Ossett Phoenix, Osgoldcross & Elmet) as well as other volunteers are involved with the identification, collection, repair and packing of the equipment, before it is shipped abroad.

For the loading, at Gelsthorpe Farm, the volunteers were joined by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones, The Mayor of Boroughbridge Cllr Pat Taylor and Rotary District Governor Stephen Ellis.

I was pleased to be able to join PhysioNet and their volunteers again today for the special moment of loading their 15,000th wheelchair, which is being sent to Zimbabwe.  I have long supported PhysioNet and their efforts providing healthcare equipment to those around the world who need it, using kit no longer needed in the UK. ”

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough

Three special gold wrapped wheelchairs were loaded, one for a child and two for adults, one self-propelled chair and one attendant push type.

PhysioNet gained the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.

For more information about PhysioNet visit, for more information about Rotary in Knaresborough and beyond visit