Posted on Thursday 13 August 2015 by Ulster Business

Paralympic boost for ni manufacturer

A Northern Ireland manufacturer of disability equipment has reported a 25% year-on-year increase in sales of hand cycles since the 2012 Paralympics.

Belfast-based Disability Needs has put the boost to the sales of its active range down to the increased awareness of the sporting opportunities available for both adults and children with disabilities following the games.

It is hoping to build on the momentum by hosting the first of its own series of events aimed at promoting the participation of people with disabilities in sport, according to Mark Spottiswoode, Sales Director at Disability Needs.

“85% of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland never take part in any form of sport or physical recreation despite the existing opportunities and advancements within disabled sport,” he said. “We have keen interest in the disability sports sector and it’s increasingly important for us to be proactive in creating opportunities for people of all ages, genders and abilities to enjoy sports and physical activities and to remove these barriers that exist in Northern Ireland.”

As a result, it is holding Family Bike Fest which will take place on Saturday 15th August from 10am-2pm at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast with the aim of increasing awareness of cycling as a great way to explore the great outdoors and to keep fit regardless of age or personal challenges.

The event will offer support and advice around disability provision in the Northern Ireland cycling scene with experts on hand to demonstrate the ways in which everyone can enjoy cycling. 

One hour inclusive cycling workshops provided by Sustrans will teach essential skills in a safe and controlled environment while Halfords will host bike maintenance workshops designed to teach children and adults of all abilities the basics of bike maintenance. There will also be a wide selection of adult and kids bicycles available to test courtesy of Halfords.

“Family Bike Fest is the first in a series of events we are hosting in association with Disability Sport NI to ensure sport is an enjoyable experience, regardless of ability,” Mark said. “We are keen to continue to build on this partnership and use our combined knowledge to help deliver more inclusive sporting opportunities in Northern Ireland.”

If you would like to get involved with Family Bike Fest please register your interest via email to


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