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New Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thoman the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces and The National Autistic Society have teamed up to offer Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Laces have recently launched a new collection of Thomas the Tank Engine laces to appeal to young fans of the hugely popular TV and book character. These new Thomas the Tank Engine Laces use  the same technology as all other products in their range but have the added bonus of raising money for charity and appealing even more to young wearers of Greepers.

The new Greeper Laces have been launched with The National Autistic Society and their launch coincides with the 70th birthday of the popular engine, who is a big hit with young children around the UK and beyond. Each pair of Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces raises money for the National Autistic Society. They are popular with parents of children with Autistic Spectrum disorder but many other people too, as they offer independence to children with a range of motor disabilities.

Greeper Laces have previously featured in Your Autism Magazine and have a great relationship with the National Autistic Society so supporting their work through a new product is a positive move forward.

 Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Thomas The Tank Engine is 70

Research from the National Autistic Society, via a survey in 2001, found evidence to suggest the perceived ‘special relationship’ those with autism spectrum disorder have with Thomas the Tank Engine is common. It found that people with autism spectrum disorders relate more closely to Thomas than other characters. The research found that 57% children on the autism spectrum related to Thomas before any other children’s character.

With this in mind it is with great timing and due to research and understanding that Greeper made the move to launch their Thomas the Tank Engine laces.

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces

The Greeper Thomas the Tank Engine Laces are designed to provide a fun and appealing option for younger children. They work in the same way as regular Greeper laces. Once they are applied to the shoes, they never come undone and they have the appearance of regularly tied laces. They remove the need to always choose Velcro shoes, which can feel babyish and awkward for children as they get older.

Each pair of Thomas the Tank Engine laces is black and they measures 100cm, making them suitable for up to six pairs of eyelets in children’s shoe sizes. They feature a Thomas the Tank Engine toggle at the point laces would naturally be tied and ensures they are instantly recognisable for fans of the popular train.

How do Greeper Laces work?

Greeper Laces are designed to provide a no-nonsense way of wearing shoes that require laces, with no need to tie them by hand. They are designed to be easy to loosen or tighten without untying them or needing to fiddle with their design. This video from shows exactly how they are fitted:

Once in place there is no need to mess with the fitting and as the video shows, they can be tightened and loosened via the attached toggle, which in the case of the new special edition Thomas the Tank laces, features the little Thomas charm.

Who wears Greeper Laces?

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

Greeper Laces for Triathletes

As mentioned Greeper Laces are a great choice for anybody who has difficulties with their fine or gross motor skills but they are also worn by triathletes, and have received a Best Triathlon Laces Award by 220 Triathlon Magazine. Consumers voted for Greepers as the best choice due to the strength, their polyester construction and their innovative locking system.

Greeper Laces come in a wide range of different styles and colours to ensure there is a pair for everybody. There are specific sports and hikers laces as well as those designed for everyday wear. They come in both flat and regular styles to ensure the range provides something for every individual who needs or wants to wear them.

Greeper even provide the Greeper Assist. This allows for one-handed adjustment, ideal for individuals with a weaker side or with one hand. The products have been designed with the aim of providing an easy to wear and adjust solution. It means people can stop relying on others or only wearing Velcro shoes. Greepers allow people to choose their own shoes and not have to think about making sure they only choose the ones that are easiest to wear, without thinking about personal style preferences.

Thomas the Tank Engine Laces Available Now

Greeper laces with a thomas tank engine toggle

The new, limited edition Thomas the Tank Engine Greeper Laces are available now, Their fun design is bound to be popular with children up and down the country, as a chance to enjoy their favourite character and celebrate his 70th birthday, whilst also supporting the National Autistic Society.

Buy now! We have 50 pairs of these special laces. Postage to UK only.

How many pairs?

Buy with confidence, this site is owned by Trabasack. Postage will be by Royal Mail 1st class within 2 working days.


S’Up Spoon Kickstarter Campaign

S’Up Spoon Supporting Inclusive and Independent Dining

S’Up Spoon is a new and innovative assistive eating aid to help people with a movement disorder. Check out their Kickstarter campaign!

S'Up Spoon, Regular Spoon

Comparing S’Up Spoon to a regular spoon

Inclusive and design for all practices are at the heart of everything we do and we like to support products that offer the same. S’Up Spoon is an innovative new product which provides a safe and convenient utensil, specifically designed for people with cerebral palsy as well as anyone suffering from hand tremors, such as essential tremor. S’Up Spoon helps to ensure independence and dignity to many and their Kickstarter Campaign is currently gaining momentum and we want to help push them along their way!

Eat More, Chat More, Spill Less

With the above slogan opening the campaign, S’Up Spoon is introduced as a spoon for shaky hands and the campaign is looking to raise £33,000 and have provided the below valuable flowchart of exactly how their funding will be spent:

What is S’Up Spoon

S'up Spoon in Action

S’Up Spoon in Action

The video below explains S’up Spoon very well. The spoon was developed after the inventors met Grant who was frustrated by the limited nature of regular utensils as well as those specifically designed for assistive purposes. The spoon was designed to allow grant the freedom he needed to eat out with friends and from his fantastic feedback, the company went on to further hone the spoon for a wider user group.

The current S’Up Spoon has been developed to suit a wider audience including people with essential tremor as mentioned above as well as Parkinson’s disease. The spoon is on the verge of reaching market and there’s hope that the Kickstarter campaign will help launch them and ensure their product is available for a much wider audience. They’re currently about £20,000 away from their target and have 10 days to go. We’re hoping a final push can get them the funding they need and bring S’Up Spoon to market.

Assistive Utensils Market

The assistive utensils market is a growing area of interest for many inventors and designers. Products such as the Knork, Handsteady and other drinking and eating aids, provide assistance in some ways but not others and it’s clear S’Up Spoon feels a definite gap in the market and could even be used alongside other utensils and products.

We also reckon this is a good time to mention how valuable your Trabasack can be when out and about, providing a sturdy and stable surface to dine from, perhaps when you’re in a busy area or the table height isn’t quite right for dining comfortably.

S’Up Spoon Kickstarter

As with all Kickstarter campaigns, S’Up Spoon offer a range of incentives to their backers to get them on board and thank them for their kind pledges, the S’Up Spoon pledge incentives are as follows:

  • £2 or more: the feeling that you’ve supported a great cause
  • £15 or more: £3 off the estimate RRP for your S’Up Spoon and delivery by Christmas
  • £18 or more: A special S’Up Spoon supporters’ t-shirt (for those who don’t need the spoon but want to back the scheme)
  • £18 or more: A black/dark grey S’Up Spoon from the first production line for delivery in December 2014
  • £18 or more: A black/dark grey S’Up Spoon from the second production line for delivery in February 2015
  • £20 or more: A limited edition Kickstarter S’Up Spoon in green, never to be produced again.
  • £25 or more: Two black/dark grey S’Up Spoons for delivery between Jan-Feb 2015
  • £40 or more: Ultimate Package – both a black and special edition green spoon and a t-shirt for delivery in December 2014
  • £375 or more: A special edition silver anodised aluminium spoon, hand finished with a name etched onto the handle for delivery in February 2015
  • £2,500 or more: Lunch in Glasgow with a tour of the 4c Design office and a demonstration of the design processes used to develop the product. Whilst in Glasgow the backer will be able to get involved in ideas and planning for future developments of S’Up Spoon and will become a feature on the website alongside the rest of the team involves in the spoon’s design and development.

There are lots of fantastic incentives there to make that final push to back up S’Up Spoon and ensure it’s available to buy for anyone who wants it. Our main hope for the development of the product is that a stainless steel version is eventually created, allowing the S’Up Spoon to blend in more naturally in all dining environments.

Good luck to the 4c Design team and S’Up Spoon. We will keep this page updated with news as the project progresses.


Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

At the Museum of Liverpool there’s a small, unassuming exhibition which looks like the recreation of a normal house. When you get inside you realise it has been setup with every possible gadget and gizmo to support independence. The Mi Smarthouse is a project put together by More Independent (Mi).

More Independent is a Government-funded initiative that is being piloted across four UK regions. As there website says the scheme exists to:

  • enable you to take charge of your health, wellbeing and lifestyle
  • use technology to allow you to feel safer and live more independently in your own home
  • give peace of mind to yourself and your family
  • reduce the amount of time you have to spend on appointments, by supporting you to manage better at home

The Mi Smarthouse at the museum is kitted out with a wide range of equipment covering all the key areas of the home. Here we’re taking a look at some of the gadgets they’ve highlighted and used in their perfect, accessible home.


These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

A fall detector can be worn around your neck and it connected to a system which will alert your carer if you do fall even if they’re not on the premises.

Large Buttons Picture Telephone

Phone keypads can be hard to use and it can also be difficult to remember phone numbers. This phone has spaces for photographs of those people you call regularly as well as large, clear numbers for when you need to dial out.

Home Safety Alert

The Mi Smarthouse has a bonus caller panic button installed by the front door, giving the residents the chance to press the button if anyone arrives at the door who they’re not comfortable with. Similar home safety alarm system can be found elsewhere too.

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

The Supra KeySafe is the UK’s first police approved key safe and is the perfect place to store your emergency keys. You choose a combination number and you can share this number only with somebody you trust implicitly.

Carbon Monoxide Sensor

Carbon monoxide can kill. It’s odourless and can’t be seen so the only way to sense it before it is too late is with a dedicated carbon monoxide sensor. Sensors can be easily installed and can save your life.

Fingerprint Lock

A fingerprint lock is a great option if you struggle with keys. You can add the details of your carer and friends as authorised ‘pad-pressers’ so they can get in and out with ease when necessary too.


We’ve talked regularly about the importance of gadgets to make access to the kitchen easier. It’s potentially a dangerous environment so anything to make it less so is a good invention in our book. In the Mi Smarthouse they demonstrated a range of kitchen-specific gadgets.

Talking Microwave

The controls on a microwave oven can be difficult if you have difficulties with your vision or dexterity. A Talking Microwave Oven can help guide you to the buttons you need and it will also tell you when the door is open or closed and let you know whether the food needs stirring or left to stand.

Induction Hob

An induction hob only cooks the pot upon it. There is next to no danger of being burned by it and they’re becoming a common installation in supported living environments to aid independence. This type of hob is also energy efficient and reaches top temperatures in record time. In the Mi House the hob was fitted but they can also be bought as separate electric units .

One cup Kettle

one-cup_kettleWe’ve talked before about how useful the one cup kettle can be. Never worry about spilling boiling water as the kettle will dispense the exact amount you need with the simple pressing of a button.

Entertainment and Living Area

Many of these items listed below could be used all around the house but are most useful when you’re relaxing in front of the TV or lounging on the sofa.

Big Switch and Remote

Big Switch Remote

Big Switch Remote

A Remote Control Big Switch can be positioned wherever you need it to avoid bending to switch off items which have plug sockets uncomfortably out of reach. The big switch can be used with any electrical appliance in the home.

Voice Recorder Switches

If speech has always been or is becoming difficult then these small voice recorder switches can be used to record key phrases. They can have messages such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go home’ ready recorded for when you’re home or out and about when speech has become difficult.

Chair Occupancy Alert

This item is extremely useful if you have an outside care team supporting you as it allows them to monitor the time spent out of your chair. If it seems exceptionally long they may phone you or come around the check everything is OK.

Big Jack Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

The Big Jack can replace all your smaller, fiddly remotes and switches. It can be programmes for a whole range of jobs and can be used to change channels on the TV, switch off lights and even use the telephone.

Personal Care

The personal care element of the home is the most private. Both the bedroom and bathroom are places where you want to maintain as much independence as possible and some of these gadgets are designed to guarantee this as well as ensure you can get the help you need, when you need it.

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Living with any form of epilepsy or convulsions can be extremely frightening – especially if you’re alone when one occurs. This epilepsy sensor will alert an outdoor care team if a seizure is taking place, allowing them to provide the right support ASAP.

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Designed to fit comfortable under the top sheet, an enuresis sensor will alert your carer to the fight signs of dampness whilst in bed – ensuring you’re not left uncomfortable for a long period of time. We have looked at these aids previously for helping children but they can be equally useful later in life.

Flood Detector

A flood detector will guarantee you never forget about another bath. It’s very easy to forget the bath is running but with the installation of a simple detector, it will be safe and you can avoid the risks of damage to your home and the even higher risk of slipping.

The Mi Smarthouse in Liverpool is one of the first examples of how all this technology can come together and successfully be used to help people remain in their own homes independently. You can take a virtual tour of the Smarthouse here. We recently visited the £D printing exhibition at the London Science Museum and will cover the potential benefits in a future post.