Last year we sold 1,000s wall panels and expect to see us install 1,000s more throughout 2023, so why should you be considering using these in your bathroom installations instead of, or even alongside traditional tiles? The biggest benefit to you right now is that you’ll be able to get hold of wall panels much easier this year, with the production of tiles slowing down thanks to the increase in global energy costs. However, there are plenty of other reasons why wall panels are becoming ever more popular in the UK, such as the reduced long-term cost, ease of installation, and the low amount maintenance required to keep them looking their best. So what exactly are wall panels? Scroll down to find out… Wall Panels Wall panels in our collections feature a WPS plywood substrate core coated with a laminate to provide a durable, waterproof finish that looks great and will stand the test of time. The printed paper design is impregnated with phenolic and melamine resins, dried and compressed to form a hard-wearing, high pressure-laminate coating. The plywood core also makes wall panels ideal in adapted bathrooms because the structural-grade material can support grab rails, shower seats, electric and mixer showers, screens etc. Many wall panels feature a straight edge finish, which means that when installing several panels across one straight wall, you’ll need additional profiles to seal the join between them. Origins wall panels are extra clever and incorporate a tongue and groove click system which provides a subtle, seamless finish, and is an alternative to installing two panels along the same wall with a straight joint profile. Profiles & Extrusions Profiles help with ensuring there is the waterproof seal around the showering or bathing area. We offer a wide variety of profiles and extrusions, which can trimmed down to size as required, and should assist with any installation challenges you may face. Below is a selection of the profiles we offer; a range of bottom profiles is available to help create a neat join between wall panels and a shower tray or bath, vinyl safety flooring, and floor tiles. H-Section This will help join two panels together along a straight wall if you’re installing square edged panels. Internal Corner This profile will allow you to join two wall panels together when they meet on an inward facing corner. External Corner This will allow you to join two wall panels together when they meet on an externally facing corner. End Cap If wall panels are not being installed across every wall, this will provide a neat finish for the panel end.
As experienced designers and innovators, we are constantly thinking ahead, anticipating the next step, and creating simple solutions which can help many overcome the struggles of day-to-day life. Driven and inspired by the success of the AKW Bidet, we’ve consulted renowned Occupational Therapists and devised a bidet product that further addresses the clinical needs of those with reduced mobility when toileting, challenges which often demand more specialist solutions. The AKW Rise & Fall Bidet offers all the fantastic features of the AKW Bidet, but with an adjustable wall-hung toilet pan that raises and lowers to the height you require, weight-loading fold-up support arms, and a stylish design that feels at home in any 21st century bathroom. At a glance… + Adjustable toilet pan offers a flexible height range of 410-610mm from finished the floor level to the top of the seat, enabling safer and easier side transfers on/off wheelchairs, shower chairs and commodes + Easy-to-use, right-handed buttons raise and lower the toilet pan to your individual requirements, particularly benefitting those living in multi-generational or multi-user households as the height is not defined at the point of installation, like some other products + Fold-up arms support up to 18.8st (120kg) and enable greater access when completing side transfers, with friction preventing a hard drop + Rimless toilet pan with direct flushing technique improves hygiene by reducing the build-up of bacteria and making cleaning easier + Contemporary design with toughened safety glass and a wall-hung toilet pan for a minimalist aesthetic which is low maintenance and simple to clean
The 16th annual National Apprenticeship Week date has been announced today – and will take place from 6 to 12 February 2023. National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country. Apprenticeship employers use the opportunity to promote the success of their apprentices and highlight the huge benefits to other employers, of all sizes, who are thinking of taking on an apprentice. Apprentices across the country will also be celebrated throughout the week, with engagement and events in schools and colleges. Many current and former apprentices will go back to school to tell their story, attracting the next generation of apprentices, so they too can fire up their future career. Throughout the 16 years, National Apprenticeship Week has brought together apprenticeship supporters from across the country, with MPs, ambassadors, apprentices, training providers and top employers involved in recognising the value and importance of apprenticeships. For NAW2023 we want even more people to get behind the week, to build on last year’s success, which included: Over 1250 events taking place across England; NAW2022, National Apprenticeship Week and #BlazeATrail all trending UK wide on Twitter over the course of the Week; Over 30,000 unique visits to the NAW resource pages on GOV.UK; And a hugely successful #askanapprentice day with employers, including TUI, Bentley Careers, Siemens UK, AXA Insurance and Cisco all getting involved. Anne Milton, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills said: “Apprenticeships offer people of all ages and backgrounds a high-quality route to skilled employment with the option to train at every level in a range of exciting professions like aerospace engineering, data science, teaching, law, nursing, and fashion. “This year we had over 1250 events and 1900 articles and features in publications from the Financial Times to Cosmopolitan. I would encourage employers, training providers, schools, apprentices and our ambassador networks to start considering how they will get involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2023. We want next year to be even bigger and better reaching even more people and employers so they understand the advantages apprenticeships bring”.
According to national statistics the first Monday in February is the day when people are most likely to pull a sickie. One of the factors attributed to this is the first payday since Christmas, meaning people have been out celebrating all weekend with a particularly heavy one. Another theory is that people have a tendency to re-evaluate their career path in January, meaning that a lot of these sickies are actually to attend interviews. These factors combined have been linked to the estimated 350,000 absences from work on the first Monday of February last year. We’ve been scanning the web for the top ten funniest reasons that people have called in sick. So at least if you are one of the people that weren’t aware of National Sickie Day, or just too pure of conscience to jump on the bandwagon and you’re sat dutifully in a near empty office, you can sit back and have a giggle at the daft things people will come up with to have a day off! I can’t come in today because my flatmates took my door handle off and I can’t get out. All of my work clothes are wet so I can’t make it in today. I’ve managed to secure a parking space outside my house and I can’t risk losing it. Goats got into my garden. I’m stuck in the bathroom. (These pesky doors!) My mum was hoovering the stairs and I couldn’t get past. My hamster’s poorly. Death of a distant relative (often found out later to be very much alive). My trousers split on the way in. I swallowed a hot sausage last night and it burnt my throat so badly I can’t breathe today.
Disability VAT Exemption Our customer care line has been receiving an increasing number of calls regarding VAT exemption on disability goods and services. There’s no doubt that VAT exemption can be confusing and much of that is because not all disability products and services are covered. In addition, quite often people are unsure of whether they are eligible for the exemption and if so, what do they need to do to prove their eligibility. In a small number of cases, there has been confusion or a dispute with a supplier as to whether a certain product is covered by the VAT exemption. To try and work through the maze of VAT exemption, we’ve put together a quick guide which highlights some of the main issues. In general, disabled people do not have to pay Value-Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services that are designed / or adapted solely for use by disabled people. These goods and services are often called ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’. For the supplies of goods and services to be zero-rated, all the following conditions must be met: (more detail on the condition below) the customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate. the goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer. the goods and services are eligible. Firstly, for the customer to be eligible to purchase VAT free goods and services their disability must qualify. For VAT purposes, you’re disabled or have a long-term illness if: you have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, for example blindness. you have a condition that’s treated as chronic sickness, like diabetes. you are terminally ill. This definition does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb. You don’t need HMRC’s permission to declare that you’re disabled or chronically sick and their advisers can’t tell you whether you’re disabled or chronically sick. If you’re not sure whether your condition means you’re chronically sick or disabled, you may wish to consult your doctor or other medical adviser. The next condition states that the goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer. This means that the goods are made available specifically for the use of an individual disabled person. Similarly, any services purchased which apply specifically to disabled people are eligible for VAT relief. These include the repair and maintenance of disability equipment, disabled equipment hires and disabled home adaptations. You won’t have to pay VAT on building materials you buy which relate to certain building work that’s eligible for relief. How to claim? Accessibility has this in hand and one of our team will ensure that if you qualify for VAT exemption we will ensure that this is not charged on any products we install. You will simply be required to sign a VAT exemption for. No VAT will then be charged!
Disabled Facilities Grants Overview You could get a grant from your council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home. For example, if you: are physically disabled. have a learning disability. have age-related needs. are autistic. have a cognitive impairment, like dementia. have a progressive condition, like motor neurone disease. have a terminal illness. have a mental health condition. You might need to: widen doors and install ramps or grab rails. improve access to rooms and facilities, for example with a stairlift, or level access shower. improve access to your garden. build an extension, for example a downstairs bedroom. provide a heating system suitable for your needs. adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use. A Disabled Facilities Grant won’t affect any benefits you get. What you'll get How much you get usually depends on your: household income household savings over £6,000 Disabled children under 18 can get a grant without their parents’ income being considered. Contact your local council for more information. Landlords can get a grant without their income and savings being considered. The council may ask for the property to be let to another disabled person if the current tenant moves within 5 years. Country Grant England Up to £30,000 Wales Up to £36,000 Northern Ireland Up to £25,000 Some councils may give more. Depending on your income, you may need to pay towards the cost of the work to the property. How you’ll be paid You’ll be paid either: in instalments, as the work progresses. in full, when the work is finished. The council may pay the contractor directly or give you a cheque to pass on to them. They’ll agree this with you when they approve your application. When you’ll be paid You’ll be paid either: when you and the council are happy with the finished work when you give the council the invoice, demand, or receipt for payment from the contractor. Eligibility To get a grant, you, or someone else living in the house must: be disabled. intend to live in the property during the grant period (usually 5 years but this can be shorter, for example, if the person is terminally ill) The person who submits the application must be either the: owner tenant landlord The council needs to be happy that the work is: necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs. reasonable and can be done, depending on the age and condition of the property. The work should be completed within 12 months of the grant being approved. How to apply Apply through your local council. The council may send an occupational therapist or trained assessor to see you. They’ll assess what changes you need to your home. Your council must give you a decision within 6 months. Help applying The government funds an organisation called Foundations who can help you to apply. foundations.uk.com Appeals You can appeal to your council if you’re unhappy with their decision. If you appeal and you’re still not happy, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants
What is arthritis? The name arthritis stems from the Greek word ‘arthro’ meaning ‘joint’ and ‘itis’ meaning ‘inflammation’. The two most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain & stiffness, and problems moving the joint. Some people also have symptoms such as: - swelling - tenderness - grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints. The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints. For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other people can experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities. Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in the knees, hips and small joints of the hands. Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The condition usually affects the hands, feet and wrists. There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. A flare can be difficult to predict, but with treatment it's possible to decrease the number of flares and minimise or prevent long-term damage to the joints. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience problems in other parts of the body, or more general symptoms such as tiredness and weight loss. Key symptoms of arthritis include: Pain, discomfort and stiffness Inflammation around the joints Weakness of the muscle Restricted movement of the joints Arthritis pain can predominantly affect your hands, spine, knees and hips, and there is currently no medical cure for the condition. How can a warm bath help with arthritis pain? A warm bath can offer 360-degree support to your aching joints, a decrease in inflammation and swelling and also help to increase your blood circulation. Warm baths can also temporarily relieve arthritic pain due to the reduced gravity on your limbs. They are a great place to do some gentle stretches to help to loosen up your joints. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that the optimum bath temperature for temporary arthritic pain relief is between 33.3°C and 37.7°C. How can a walk-in bath make life easier for those who suffer from arthritis? Arthritis can affect mobility and balance. If you suffer from this condition, then you will understand how difficult it can be getting into and out of the bath. This is where a walk-in bath can help you. Our specialist walk-in baths are designed with a multitude of safety features, to help you to be able to enjoy bathing again. From low level entry points and comfortable moulded seats to anti-slip bases, not only do these significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls, they also reduce the likelihood of you being in pain when entering and exiting the bath. Now is the time for you to rediscover safe and easy bathing!
Im a design surveyor for Accessibility Bathrooms and have been since the start of the company 4 years ago. I meet several customers each week who have the disease and they are often diagnosed after several tests and one customer said the cost of the test to confirm the condition is very expensive, however nothing can be done to prevent it for getting worse. Customers I visit seem to think the condition is rare and uncommon for some reason. I have seen mainly mean in their early 60s who have called us and need the bathroom changing to something more accessible and easier to use. The condition starts in the feet and works it way up the body and leads to weakness in legs and limbs, slurred speech and weakness in grip among other symptoms. I always try and design a bathroom for them which will be future proof using all the mobility equipment we have access to. We fit grab rails, seats with arms which the customer can push on to stand up. A wet room means there is no step for the customer to trip over and the specialist slip resistant Altro flooring with the R11 slip rating which is one of the highest on the scale. I also add to the design an electric shower with a remote control which can be switched on before you enter the shower, so the temperature is right when the person moves in to place. Trying to keep customer independent is really important as long as possible. Other alteration to the property are also required such as ramps and in some cases push button electric doors. I hope in the future with the advancement in medical science doctors are able to diagnose sooner and treat this condition and hopefully slow it down and eventually stop it, however i feel the amount of customers i see on a weekly basis who are effected I feel we will be seeing our loved ones struggle with motor neurone disease.
A recent install completed which included a low level off set quad shower tray and enclosure with wall panels and new flooring, the customer also wanted a toilet and basin combined to make more space in the bathroom.
Advice for adults and children on sunscreen and sun safety in the UK and abroad. Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn does not just happen on holiday. You can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy. There's no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan does not protect your skin from the sun's harmful effects. Aim to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight. Sun safety tips Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October. Make sure you: spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm make sure you never burn cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses take extra care with children use at least factor 30 sunscreen What factor sunscreen (SPF) should I use? Do not rely on sunscreen alone to protect yourself from the sun. Wear suitable clothing and spend time in the shade when the sun's at its hottest. When buying sunscreen, the label should have: a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB at least 4-star UVA protection UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters "UVA" in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard. Make sure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years. Do not spend any longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen. What are the SPF and star rating? The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) protection. SPFs are rated on a scale of 2 to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with 50+ offering the strongest form of UVB protection. The star rating measures the amount of ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection. You should see a star rating of up to 5 stars on UK sunscreens. The higher the star rating, the better. The letters "UVA" inside a circle is a European marking. This means the UVA protection is at least a third of the SPF value and meets EU recommendations. Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called broad spectrum. How to apply sunscreen Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. As a guide, adults should aim to apply around: 2 teaspoons of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck 2 tablespoons if you're covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. If you're worried you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use a sunscreen with a higher SPF. If you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied twice: 30 minutes before going out just before going out Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears, and head if you have thinning or no hair, but a wide-brimmed hat is better. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally and frequently, and according to the manufacturer's instructions. This includes applying it straight after you have been in water, even if it's "water resistant", and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off. It's also recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin. Swimming and sunscreen Water washes sunscreen off, and the cooling effect of the water can make you think you're not getting burned. Water also reflects ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your exposure. Use water-resistant sunscreen if it's likely you'll sweat or have contact with water. Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after you have been in water, even if it's "water resistant", and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off. Children and sun protection Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight. From March to October in the UK, children should: cover up with suitable clothing spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 3pm wear at least SPF30 sunscreen Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands. To ensure they get enough vitamin D, all children under 5 are advised to take vitamin D supplements. Protect your eyes in the sun A day at the beach without proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn. Reflected sunlight from snow, sand, concrete and water, and artificial light from sunbeds, is particularly dangerous. Avoid looking directly at the sun, as this can cause permanent eye damage. Clothing and sunglasses Wear clothes and sunglasses that provide sun protection, such as: a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears a long-sleeved top trousers or long skirts in close-weave fabrics that do not allow sunlight through sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms with the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E How to deal with sunburn Sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply soothing aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera. Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone. Find out more about treating sunburn Seek medical help if you feel unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone. Get tips on preventing and treating heat exhaustion in hot weather Who should take extra care in the sun? You should take extra care in the sun if you: have pale, white or light brown skin have freckles or red or fair hair tend to burn rather than tan have many moles have skin problems relating to a medical condition are only exposed to intense sun occasionally (for example, while on holiday) are in a hot country where the sun is particularly intense have a family history of skin cancer People who spend a lot of time in the sun, whether it's for work or play, are at increased risk of skin cancer if they do not take the right precautions. People with naturally brown or black skin are less likely to get skin cancer, as darker skin has some protection against UV rays. But skin cancer can still occur. The Cancer Research UK website has a tool where you can find out your skin type to see when you might be at risk of burning. Protect your moles If you have lots of moles or freckles, your risk of getting skin cancer is higher than average, so take extra care. Avoid getting caught out by sunburn. Use shade, clothing and a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect yourself. Keep an eye out for changes to your skin. Changes to check for include: a new mole, growth or lump any moles, freckles or patches of skin that change in size, shape or colour Report these to your doctor as soon as possible. Skin cancer is much easier to treat if it's found early. Using sunbeds The British Association of Dermatologists advises that people should not use sunbeds or sunlamps. Sunbeds and lamps can be more dangerous than natural sunlight because they use a concentrated source of UV radiation. Health risks linked to sunbeds and other UV tanning equipment include: skin cancer premature skin ageing sunburnt skin eye irritation It's illegal for people under the age of 18 to use sunbeds, including in tanning salons, beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms and hotels.