PLS (Passenger Lift Services), a Mobility Networks company, has simultaneously consolidated several sites and relocated to one, significantly larger premises, so that its efficiency to provide accessible vehicle lifts is enhanced.

The new PLS site based in Smethwick, West Midlands, will allow the business to continue its innovations within the accessible vehicle lift sector. Pictured outside from left to right: Paul O'Connor, PLS Operations Director; Richard Poston, PLS Operations Manager; and Adam Beck, PLS Managing Director.

The new PLS site based in Smethwick, West Midlands, will allow the business to continue its innovations within the accessible vehicle lift sector. Pictured outside from left to right: Paul O’Connor, PLS Operations Director; Richard Poston, PLS Operations Manager; and Adam Beck, PLS Managing Director.

PLS now based in Smethwick, West Midlands, is the UK-leading name in the design, manufacture and maintenance of powered lifts and ramps for accessible buses, coaches, ambulances and specialist vehicles. Regarded as the clear innovator in underfloor passenger lifts, PLS has delivered an unrivalled range of products and services to body builders, convertors and fleet specifiers since inception in 1990. Part of the new global Mobility Networks Group, PLS can now continue to pioneer in cutting-edge accessible vehicle solutions through its relocation to larger, more modern premises. This move has involved the amalgamation of three separate plants involved with fabrication and assembly, into one building providing over 32,500sqft of combined space. This will benefit all PLS clients on several levels including reduced lead times, enhanced project monitoring and faster availability to parts.

Mike Simmonds, CEO of Mobility Networks commented: “With a new streamlined strategy and as part of the global Mobility Networks Group, PLS is in prime position to lead the UK market in terms of accessible vehicle lift provision. PLS was already highly regarded in the vehicle sector in terms of engineering prowess and competitive lead times, however this recent relocation will heighten product quality and service efficiencies even further. Several major clients who were thoroughly impressed with the new premises have already visited us. They were especially interested in PLS’s heightened ability to track every finite detail of the production chain along with the proficient layout of the facility. PLS is proud to employee a 50-strong workforce of skilled engineers and technicians who combine hard working ethics, diligence and a passion for the Black Country’s manufacturing tradition. This team and I firmly believe that we are now located in the ideal premises to drive PLS innovations even further.”

Over a period of nearly 25 years, PLS has doubled in size approximately every five years and this latest move is the most significant yet. PLS is now located closer to junction 1 on the M5 so delivery and dispatch across the UK is even easier. The new premises house all aspects of the business from management, sales, finance and design on the mezzanine through to R&D, hydraulic pressing, two flexible production lines and purpose made racking on the ground floor. The additional space this new facility provides has given PLS the ability to increase its stock levels in terms of materials and parts. This will give quicker access to components for clients, PLS maintenance teams and the production line – resulting in enhanced service levels and improved turnaround schedules.

A new paint shop will be in operation on the site soon whilst the first floor will be the location for Mobility Networks operations that support the Whitstable headquarters. A centre of excellence for education is also under development so that expert training from the PLS team will be available to all relevant professionals in the accessible vehicle sector.

Multi-national Mobility Networks launches as new world-leading specialist in accessible vehicle solutions

Under the leadership of international entrepreneur Mike Simmonds, the Mobility Networks Group has been launched in May 2014 to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of global products to the accessible vehicle industry.

Mobility Networks' global headquarters based in Kent, UK


The international infrastructure of Mobility Networks is now in place and will be co-ordinated from UK headquarters in Whitstable, Kent. This new business has been established so that bus and coach convertors, body builders, fleet operators and private vehicle owners worldwide, can obtain all the latest international access innovations. The network will continually expand and evolve so that the range of products and support services available from one source, will be unequalled in the market. With one specialist name supplying products on a regional level from the world’s best manufacturers such as API, multiple benefits regarding procurement efficiency and value will be delivered.

Mobility Networks’ new distribution partnership, with the renowned accessible vehicle convertor API based in the Czech Republic, is a significant factor with this new organisation. Mike will be working closely with API’s innovative founder Miroslav Bartos to supply pioneering solutions including the FlexirampTM floor conversions kits. Alongside API products, Mobility Networks has the capacity to provide world-class M1-M3 vehicle access lifts, wheelchair ramps, hatches and door opening systems. These high quality and reliable products will be engineered by carefully selected, proven OEMs such as PLS in the UK, who are now integrated into the Mobility Networks Group.

The inception of Mobility Networks has been formulated by Mike Simmonds. Now CEO of this new multi-national business, Mike is a well-respected and highly successful entrepreneur with extensive experience in the accessible vehicle industry. He established Q’Straint (Europe) and held the position of Managing Director for over 18 years, during which time he orchestrated significant business growth across a global platform. During 2013 Mike acquired majority share of the leading accessible vehicle lift specialist, PLS (Passenger Lift Services) based in Oldbury, UK. This company will now be a key manufacturer within the Mobility Networks organisation with the capacity to provide an extensive range of lifts to the international market. Mike explains: “These are indeed exciting times for the whole accessible vehicle market as Mobility Networks is launched. For the first time convertors and specifiers can obtain the best solutions available on a global scale, all from one trusted supplier.”

Mike continues: “To remain competitive in the accessible vehicle industry, we understand that specifiers require product ‘life value’, proven performance and legislative conformity that meets all the demands of modern day transportation. Therefore Mobility Networks now has the capability to provide a holistic service, from specification to installation, spanning a wide range of precision products. Extensive resources have been invested to consolidate all channels and processes so that an efficient service can be provided to customers on a regional basis. We have product specialists, skilled fitters and expert engineers now operating in several European countries with the view to expanding into additional territories soon. We are delighted to be working with API, as we believe its solutions
clearly demonstrate a true understanding of disabled driver and passenger needs. Combining global knowledge with local understanding is a key strength for our multi-lingual team. Under the banner ‘Vehicle access through innovation’, 2014 and beyond promises to deliver outstanding results for all our Mobility Networks customers.”

* ENDS *


The Mobility Networks Group

Established in 2014 with worldwide headquarters in Kent, UK, Mobility Networks is the leading multi-national specialist in accessible vehicle solutions. It provides a single source for all the latest innovations in vehicle access solutions from across the world. With a portfolio that is continually expanding, its products currently include vehicle access lifts, ramps, hatches, door opening systems and wheelchair accessible vehicle, lowered floor conversion kits.

Mobility Networks combines global expertise with local knowledge to deliver a world-class service. Its multi-lingual team is fully committed to resolving the needs of vehicle specifiers, bus and coach convertors and transport operators. This ensures all aspects of worldwide accessibility, safety and legislative conformity are met now and in the future. Mobility Networks’ pioneering products are synonymous with quality and reliability and are further enhanced by a holistic support programme that provides proven design consultancy, installation and servicing.

New Aquanova baths from Abacus Healthcare deliver show highlight at Kidz South

Abacus Healthcare demonstrated its newly launched Aquanova assistive baths to large numbers of Occupational Therapists and families with disabled children at Kidz South (Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading, 12th June).
Abacus Healthcare has provided stylish and ergonomic accessible bathing solutions for over 25 years. Its team works successfully with healthcare professionals and families to ensure the wellbeing, dignity and care of young people with disabilities are maximised when bathing. Abacus debuted two power-adjustable baths from its recently launched next generation Aquanova range at Kidz South, namely the Gemini and Scorpio 1700. All baths in the latest Aquanova range now provide smoother and quieter operation so that the bathing experience is enhanced for user and carer.

Bob Gibbs (left) and David Bertorelli, Abacus Healthcare Assessors, demonstrated the new Aquanova Scorpio 1700 assistive bath at Kidz South.

Bob Gibbs (left) and David Bertorelli, Abacus Healthcare Assessors, demonstrated the new Aquanova Scorpio 1700 assistive bath at Kidz South.

The latest Gemini assistive bath includes an integrated, height adjustable platform suitable for bathing, drying and changing users in a safe, relaxed and comfortable manner. It also ensures carers or parents can care for their client or child without the need to bend or lift – significantly reducing the risk of back injury. When young users are ready to bathe, they sit on the platform and the Gemini is then raised, gently immersing them into temperature controlled water. The bath and the bather can then be raised to a comfortable height for the carer, again to protect against potential muscle strain. The Gemini has a compact footprint ideal for domestic bathrooms where space can be limited and is suitable for use with ceiling track hoists, also available from Abacus.

Alongside the Gemini, the Abacus Healthcare team demonstrated the new Aquanova Scorpio 1700 and a wide range of postural supports. The next generation Scorpio is a versatile bathing system that is supplied with either a manual or powered transfer seat. This seat allows safe access into the bath for disabled individuals without the need for a carer to manually lift them or adjust their position.  Once the Scorpio is filled with water, the seat can be raised to the transfer height required by the bather and secured in position, before lowering gently into the bath. As well as the powered seat, the bather can also transfer into the bath from a wheelchair, mobile hoist or ceiling track hoist.

Compatible with the Gemini and Scorpio, Abacus’s postural supports are highly regarded by therapists as they allow personalised positioning for bathers. Designed for individuals requiring specialist care, the range includes Knee Breaks, Back Rest Cushions and Net Postural Supports.


Frank Adams, 50 from Holmfirth near Huddersfield who lives with severely restricted mobility, has continued to campaign and educate academic and non-academics about disability, thanks to a remarkable drive-from-wheelchair Sirus car.

The majority of Frank’s career has been focused on improving accessibility for people living with disabilities. He was diagnosed with Polio at a young age however this condition and its serious after effects, have not held Frank back from successfully completing many achievements. These have included working for his local authority as its Specialist Mobility and Access Officer; establishing a new Disabled Living Centre, Shopmobility scheme; managing a Disabled Information Advice Line; through to his current voluntary campaigning and position at Huddersfield University.


Frank is a key member of the educational team within the Health and Human Science Department where he lectures to students training to become Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Physiotherapists and paediatric consultants.  His unique knowledge of disability, both in terms of living with a condition and wider accessibility and inclusion issues, is invaluable to these academics – only made available by Frank’s ability to drive independently. Despite being unable to stand or walk and using a powered wheelchair to remain mobile, Frank is still able to drive to the University on his own, in his wheelchair, thanks to an innovative ‘i-Can’ converted car built by Sirus Automotive. Sirus is a leading car conversion company that re-engineers many types of vehicle, including the Volkswagen Caddy, so that a wheelchair user can drive it without the assistance of a carer or relative. The Caddy based ‘i-Can’ as owned by Frank, allows the driver to enter the vehicle via a rear ramp, position their manual or powered wheelchair in the driving position and then operate the car with hand controls.

Frank explains: “Living with the effects of Polio has been challenging for me but I have always remained positive. Even when I experiencing a bad fall 10 years ago that resulted in my better leg being broken and the need for a wheelchair, I have always remained optimistic. Saying that, the thought of not being able to drive and losing independence from a practical point of view was a real concern. I first discovered the ‘i-Can’ drive-from-wheelchair car when visiting an exhibition called The Mobility Roadshow. This fascinating national event showcased all the latest product innovations that help individuals like me live an easier life – I enjoyed it that much I have been to every annual Roadshow since it started in 1983! I was eventually made an Ambassador to the show, which was a great honour. Without my Sirus car, I simply could not continue my work at the University as there are no low floor buses or accessible taxis operating in my local area. I am currently campaigning for this to change however improvements for people with disabilities can take some time.”

Frank continues: “In addition to my work at Huddersfield University, I am actively engaged in supporting local GP surgeries, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Police in terms of reducing disabled hate crime. All this would not be possible without my Sirus car and the Motability scheme. As I decided to take early retirement from my earning career due to my developing condition, my voluntary work since then has been essential in terms of life satisfaction. I have also had the privilege of working for the BBC in a reporting and presenting capacity focused on disability issues and thanks to my Sirus car, I intend to continue my mission to achieve access for all.”

Simon Pearson, Sirus Automotive Managing Director concluded: “Frank is a true inspiration and we are proud that one of our Sirus cars has helped him achieve so many recent goals. We believe Frank’s work in his community and at Huddersfield University, along with his national campaigning and 30-year support of The Mobility Roadshow should be commended. His ‘i-Can’ vehicle is now a very popular choice for many disabled drivers across the UK as it delivers independent freedom with peace of mind. We look forward to continuing our support of Frank for many years to come, so he can go onto achieving even more that will benefit disabled individuals nationwide.”


Theraposture, the leader in care cots and adjustable beds, and postural specialist Symmetrikit, both received high levels of visitor interest in their combined product showcase at Kidz South, Reading, 12th June 2014.

Liam Braddell, Theraposture Sales Director (left) congratulates Dominic Bowen, Symmetrikit Sales Director, on their successful joint promotion at Kidz South, 12th June, Reading.

Liam Braddell, Theraposture Sales Director (left) congratulates Dominic Bowen, Symmetrikit Sales Director, on their successful joint promotion at Kidz South, 12th June, Reading.

Theraposture is a privately owned, family run business based in Wiltshire that has been the leading supplier of bespoke, hand-built adjustable beds, chairs and cots since 1981. Its paediatric care cots and power-adjusted Theracare beds both enhance comfort, safety and wellbeing for young disabled individuals and greatly assist those offering care. Theraposture has formed a working relationship with Symmetrikit Postural Care so that healthcare professionals and families attending exhibitions, can benefit from seeing adjustable care cots and beds combined with individualised postural support systems.

On stand 313, Theraposture demonstrated the fully modular Mascot MK2 paediatric cot and pioneering new Safe-T Bed, the latter showcased with a Symmetrikit sleep system. A 135cm high padded Hannah cot was also be available on stand 313. Symmetrikit’s stand, 713, displayed a popular Theracare Low adjustable bed from Theraposture, combined once more with a Symmetrikit sleep system.

Liam Braddell, Theraposture Sales Director commented: “I am delighted to say that our new exhibition relationship with Symmetrikit has proven to be a success at Kidz South. For the first time we have combined our products on each stand to demonstrate complete sleeping solutions that deliver maximum safety and support to disabled children. We exhibited our new Safe-T bed on the Theraposture stand that incorporated a Symmetrikit sleep system – a market-leading solution for improved posture and support. Their sleep system has achieved the highest score in the respected NHS Buyer’s Guide, hence is a trusted product for all therapists and parents with disabled children.”

Liam added: “Both our pioneering, fully modular Mk2 Mascot paediatric cot and new Safe-T Bed received significant interest from healthcare professionals and families at Kidz South. The Mascot provides a ‘whole life solution’ as it can be adapted if user needs change avoiding the need to purchase a new cot in the future. Whereas the Safe-T Bed is the ideal niche product for children who do not require either a high- sided cot or adapted adult care bed with side rails, but a safe solution in the middle.”

2. Theraposture debut their new Safe-T Bed for disabled children at Kidz South. Pictured from left to right: Peter Wicks and Nick Lythe Theraposture Assessors; and Liam Braddell, Theraposture Sales Director.

2. Theraposture debut their new Safe-T Bed for disabled children at Kidz South. Pictured from left to right: Peter Wicks and Nick Lythe Theraposture Assessors; and Liam Braddell, Theraposture Sales Director.

Dominic Bowen, Symmetrikit Sales Director concluded: “I would like to reiterate Liam’s words in that Kidz South has been a very positive experience in terms of our joint promotion. We were also busy for the duration of the day engaging face-to-face with many Healthcare Professionals and inquisitive families. Our postural sleep system is the perfect partner for Theraposture care beds, which was highlighted on our stand with the Theracare Low. The ability to demonstrate a complete solution to visitors was a major advantage at this event and we look forward to working with Theraposture again.”

Matt Watts, Mobility Advisor, demonstrates the new ‘We-Can Flex’ from Sirus Automotive at Naidex National 2014.

‘We-Can Flex’ – #accessible travel for all the family

Sirus Automotive’s brand new wheelchair accessible conversion, the We-Can Flex, is designed for wheelchair users who prefer to travel in the rear of the vehicle. Based on the Volkswagen Caddy, this vehicle offers the ideal seating layout for a family and when a wheelchair user does not need to travel, the interior can be reconfigured back to a standard five-seater car.

For further details call: 0121 505 7777 or email



West Sussex ornamental duck owner protects flock thanks to Alpacas and TGA mobility scooter

Mobiity_Scooter_Alpacas_DucksTrevor Bennett, 77 from The Witterings, has been able to combat fox attacks on his rare breed ducks through ownership of two ‘guard dog’ Alpacas that are cared for using his TGA mobility scooter Breeze S4.

Trevor is a retired property developer who enjoyed a successful 25-year career and now lives with his wife in rural West Sussex. They own around 1.5 acres of land that includes a large, picturesque pond that is home to their flock of ornamental ducks. Unfortunately the number of ducks has been seriously reduced due to fox attacks in recent years so Trevor decided to purchase two Alpacas to guard his birds.

Read how Trevor out-foxes the foxes here: