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Dylan Launches New 'Buy Back' Scheme

A disabled schoolboy is the inspiration for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s innovative “We Buy Back” scheme to help others, by ensuring the re-use of specialist equipment.

Dylan Rees, 6, and his parents Michelle and Mathew, want as many people and organisations as possible to get involved in the scheme, which allows the council to purchase specialist equipment (such as walking frames, chairs and bathing equipment) from parents and carers who no longer need it, so it can benefit others.

“We Buy Back” is being led by the Welsh Government funded Complex Equipment Team hosted within the Council’s innovative Vision Products service in Pontyclun.

The service forms part of the Welsh Government’s wider initiative to create a national Specialist Equipment Service to ensure the provision, repair, refurbishment and distribution of complex equipment is delivered consistently and more efficiently.

It has long been recognised that there are many homes, care homes, schools and medical facilities across the region that have specialist equipment which they no longer use taking up space that could be re-used elsewhere.

Equipment purchased through the scheme will be refurbished for re-use at the Special Equipment Service workshop in Pontyclun, which is staffed by disabled people who secure learning, training and employment opportunities via Vision Products.

Dylan’s mum Michelle has been an essential part of the development of the scheme as she has a strong understanding of the needs of parents and carers of disabled children. Michelle has provided valuable insight which is shaping the way We Buy Back is delivered, across RCT and the rest of Wales.

Dylan was born six weeks premature, he has no mobility and is unable to sit upright and over the years the family have had to buy numerous pieces of equipment to provide Dylan the quality of life that he deserves.

But like so many other children, Dylan quickly outgrows his equipment and it is no longer any use to him – with the family then having to dig even deeper into their pockets once again.

Dylan’s mother Michelle, a governor at Ysgol Hen Felin, said: “This is such a valuable service provided by the Council and one I encourage families to get involved in. Specialist equipment costs so much to buy these days, plus, there are also postage and packing costs to be considered and added on top of that if purchased online.”

“Dylan quickly outgrows his equipment due to his age so it would cost us a fortune to keep up with the demands. But the ‘Buy Back’ scheme eases the burden and allows us to sell whatever we need to meet our needs.

“Families can now recover some of their outlay by selling equipment they no longer need, right here on their own doorsteps, to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. “

“It is brilliant because it helps families to gain some extra income – especially at this time of year - and extra space at their homes by selling their unwanted items.”

“This is why myself, Mathew and Dylan, are encouraging families who may have unwanted equipment lying around their homes to contact the Council, who will then buy it off you.”

Michelle and Mathew, who live in Porth, both work full-time, as well as caring for Dylan’s every need and helping other families in similar circumstances.

A typical day for Michelle and Mathew begins at around 6am when they get themselves ready for work before getting Dylan up out of bed, give him breakfast and preparing him for school.

Mathew heads of to work in Nantgarw while Michelle, a Behaviour Supoport Assistant at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, gets Dylan to Ysgol Hen Felin School around 8.30am before heading off to work.

The ‘Buy Back’ initiative is just one part of a valuable and vital service provided by the Council’s dedicated Social Services team who support all residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf, from children and young people under the age of 18 and right through adult life if required.

The Council also supports their families and carers in order to maintain a family life in their home community whenever possible by providing a wide range of support services.

“This is such a brilliant opportunity – not only does it allow individuals to generate cash for items they no longer need, but it also lets the equipment be put to good use by individuals who need them.

“There are many people out there who are in desperate need for such items, which may otherwise by lying idle and gathering dust in someone’s home, garage or attic because they no longer need them.

“But such equipment could allow another person to live a much fuller life in the comfort of their own homes.

“We therefore urge anyone who has unwanted complex equipment lying around their property to think of others, while at the same time generating some extra income for themselves.”

All equipment that is bought by the Council gets a complete overhaul and is totally refurbished to the highest standard before being allocated to an individual.

This service is provided by Vision Products, which is managed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. Based in Pontyclun and opened in 1993, Vision Products also provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The ‘Buy Back Specialist Equipment’ project is a Welsh Government initiative, jointly supported by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Bridgend County Borough Council and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council would love to discuss with individuals the opportunity to buy back any specialist equipment. Call the Council’s dedicated Complex Equipment Team on 01443 446912 or email ComplexEquipmentProject@rctcbc.gov.uk