Thursday, December 15, 2005

Stair Lift firm in trouble

A Cheshire based stair lift firm has gone into administration, putting scores of jobs at risk. Churchill Stairlifts, based in Runcorn, has 60 employees and an annual turnover of £8 Million.

The company, which was founded 10 years ago, suffered losses of £500,000 last year and has traded in the red for some time. A Manchester based firm has been appointed as adminstrator and it is likely that they will continue to trade in the short term with a view to trying to find a buyer.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stair Lift use and carrying children

I found this informative forum relating to stair lifts on the Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International website.

The forum topic concerns the effects of having a stair lift when there are children in the house.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Stannah launch Sofia and Solus stairlift chairs

Stannah launched the Sofia and Solus stair lift chairs at the Independent Living Exhibition at Alexander Palace on the 21st of September.

The Sofia stair lift chair will be primarily sold into the Local Authority / Trade markets and will be made available to the Trade in Quarter 1 2006 to coincide with the availability of the powered swivel option.

More details soon...

Stairlifts by Sarah Hobson OT

I found this excellent article on the Independent Living NSW website

Question: I am having trouble getting up and down the stairs in my house due to mobility difficulties and pain in my knees. I think I need a stairlift, what do I do?

Answer: Staircases are all very different – the first stage I would advise anyone is to have is an assessment with an Occupational Therapist and they will be able to advise you re funding and the types of stairlifts that are appropriate for your situation.

There are straight and curved staircases for internal and external flights of stairs/steps. There are lifts that are specially designed to go externally and are specifically durable for outdoor conditions. It may also be a fact that the stairs cannot accommodate a stairlift so in this case a through floor lift would need to be considered.

For internal stairs if it is a straight flight then depending on staircase width and access at the top and bottom of stairs a track runs along the side of the stairs with either a chair or a standing platform. I would suggest if you are having difficulties climbing the stairs then you would perhaps need a chair version stairlift.

If your stairs has a curve or mid way platform, then the stairlift you will need will have to be custom made to the shape and layout of the stairs. In any case you will need to get suppliers out to assess the situation.

There are many different suppliers of stairlift so it is worth shopping around as there are differences in make and models.

Friday, November 04, 2005

ODPM announces end of disability grants means testing

Families in England needing to adapt their homes to care for a disabled child will no longer be subject to means testing from next December, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced.

The Government's decision makes it easier for families to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to get funding for help to provide access ramps, stair lifts, level access showers and home extensions.

The change, which ensures families are entitled to apply for the maximum grant available without having to go through a means test, will mean they can now apply for up to £25,000 for disability improvements to their home.

Disabled man's landmark victory after job rejection

This story appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post.

A DISABLED man who was rejected for a sales job at a stairlift company has won a landmark discrimination case at the Court of Appeal. Iain Smith, of Runcorn, yesterday became the first person to successfully fight a recruitment appeal under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Mr Smith has a severe form of arthritis called Lumbar Spondylosis, which means he has difficulty walking and carrying heavy objects. He was turned down for a job selling radiator covers at UK company Churchills Stairlifts after a successful interview because of his condition, in September 2003.

Between the job offer and the start of training, Churchill's decided sales employees would have to carry full size models of their radiator covers and Mr Smith would be unable to do this because of his impairment.
The company withdrew the job offer despite Mr Smith suggesting various alternatives including a trial period without using sales aids.

Yesterday Mr Smith said he was pleased with the Court of Appeal ruling. He said: "This was a job I was absolutely right for - and had the sales experience which would have really benefited the company. "But they couldn't see past my disability. And they couldn't understand the simple adjustments which could have been made to the job so that I could be effective."

The decision follows a lengthy court battle for Mr Smith, who previously lost an Employment Tribunal and subsequent Employment Appeal Tribunal. Both found the majority of the population would not have been be able to lift the sales aids, so Mr Smith was not placed at a disadvantage.

But yesterday the Court of Appeal ruled the previous approach taken by the tribunals was wrong. It clarified that Mr Smith suffered a disadvantage because he was unsuccessful in getting the job at Churchill's and this was a direct result of his disability. It also ruled that Churchill's Stairlifts should have made an adjustment to the way Mr Smith worked to overcome this disadvantage.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay said: "I accept the submission on behalf of the appellant that, if the employment tribunal had properly directed itself, it would inevitably have found that the appellant had established that he was at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to persons who were not disabled. "On that basis, there would have been an equally inevitable finding that to allow the appellant to sell by means other than by carrying a full-sized radiator cabinet on a trial basis was a reasonable adjustment." The employment tribunal will now decide how much compensation Mr Smith should receive.

Mr Smith's case was supported by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).
Last night, Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC, said: "This judgement clearly shows that employers shouldn't put obstacles in the way of disabled people applying for work. "Discrimination against disabled people at recruitment has been very difficult to prove so I'm delighted this case has been successful. "Only half of working age people who have an impairment or long-term health condition are in work, but many more would like the opportunity."

No one was available for comment from Churchill's last night.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bison 80 Stairlift

The Bison 80 stairlift represents a major step forward in comfort and reliability. Incorporating many of the characteristics of Bison's best selling straight stairlifts the Bison 80 is a truly class leading product offering a wide range of options and accessories. Using the latest technology and Bison's modular rail concept, the Bison 80 has been developed to accommodate virtually all curved staircases.

Engineering excellence ensures the Bison 80 Stairlift provides a smooth and comfortable ride along a continuous slim and attractively finished rail on either the inner or outer curvature of your staircase. The slim, stylish, yet robust design allows for plenty of access even on narrow stairs and has been designed to be a piece of modern furniture, to ensure it blends subtly into your home.

Designed with ease of use and comfort in mind, The Bison 80 is operated using a rocker switch located on the armrest. Additional radio frequency remotes can also be provided to allow the lift to be remotely called.

The unique self leveling transport system moves the carriage along the single low profile rail and automatically adjusts the speed and level of the seat on cornering, providing an exceptionally smooth ride. The system's electronic programming ensures excellent operational performance.The Bison 80 stairlift is battery powered, making it quiet and smooth in operation and providing additional peace of mind in the event of a power cut.The footrest of the Bison 80 is extremely close to the ground floor level and has no step, also it ends level with the top stair nose, giving easy access to the landing.

When not in use the Bison 80 stairlift with its slim profile design can be easily folded away and also has an unique inside parking capability, ensuring the stairway is not obstructed for use by other members of the household.

Bison 45 Stairlift

The Bison stairlift range is unrivalled in its choice of models and options to suit a variety of individual needs and circumstances. The Bison 45 is the latest model in the range.

Functional and reliable at an affordable price. The Bison 45 stairlift is all this and more. Enjoy the benefit of the high standards and build quality that goes into every Bison stairlift.

The Bison 45 has a built-in soft start and stop facility to give you a smooth and comfortable ride quality. The integral high power re-chargeable battery pack will ensure your stairlift is available for use, even in the event of a mains power failure.

Let the Bison 45 reinstate your freedom and independence at home.
If you are interested in getting a quote please got to our main website or send an email to .

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stairlift Scheme

An article from Bridgend County Council's website:

More than 40 stair lifts have been installed in local homes across Bridgend County Borough since the pilot stair lift scheme was launched in August 2003.

A close working partnership between Bridgend County Borough Council and the Bridgend County Care and Repair Agency means that straight-flight stair lifts can now be installed within 14 days of an initial referral from the council's occupational therapists.

The success is the result of new powers that allow local authorities greater flexibility in providing grants. Residents are also receiving financial benefits from the scheme as well as gaining full access to their own homes.

The council oversees the application process and arranges for occupational therapists to visit residents at home where they carry out an assessment of their needs. Meanwhile, the Bridgend Cou
nty Care and Repair Agency provides advice and guidance and helps applicants claim benefits that they may be eligible for, such as attendance allowance, council tax benefit or pension credit.

Feedback on the scheme has been highly positive and the council is now looking at other innovative ways to improve services and reduce customer waiting times.

For more information tel: (01656) 642352 or email:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Second Hand Stair Lifts

Buying second hand stair lifts is a viable and cost effective alternative to purchasing a brand new stair lift. Most stair lifts can be purchased new or second hand.

Second hand stair lifts should be every bit as reliable as a brand new lift and most reputable firms will offer the same 12 month guarantee.

The life expectancy of a stair lift should be in excess of 10 years, however, anything much older than this and it is probably not worth using anymore. Stair lift suppliers generally stop making spare parts for the lifts after about 10 years.

Straight stair lifts can usually be adapted to fit another staircase because the stair lift rail can be cut to suit the length of the stair. This means that you can use a second hand rail and motor.

Curved staircases will need a new stair lift rail to be manufactured as it essential to have a rail that is made to measure. It is important that the rail is tight to the stairs and does not cause obstruction to others. A second hand motor and chair can still be used.

Second hand stairlifts are sometimes referred to as reconditioned stairlifts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


An article from Renfrewshire website:

HUNDREDS of elderly men and women in Renfrewshire are having to wait months for specialist aids that allow them to carry on living in their own home.

The number of people waiting to be assessed for vital items such as walk-in showers and stair-lifts has increased by hundreds over the last year - rising from 400 to 600.

Furious Nationalists say the frail pensioners then have to wait even longer to have the items installed in their homes, making their lives a misery.

SNP politicians hit out at the growing number of people on the waiting list.
Councillor Alastair Nimmo blasted: "This is a problem which is really worrying elderly people.

"They desperately need these adaptations to enable them to stay in their home and move about. But there's a waiting list of 14 to 18 weeks before they're even assessed."

He told social work chiefs: "You might be providing some stuff, but you're not providing enough. We need more money to allow people to stay in their homes."

Fellow SNP councillor, Brian Lawson, added: "To have 600 people waiting on these lists is 600 cases of individual misery.

"These are people waiting for basic adaptations, ramps so they can get in and out of their houses and walk-in showers.

"It's a fairly simple thing which seems to takes months and months."

But Councillor Tommy Williams, convener of the council's community and family care policy board, defended the service social work chiefs provide for senior citizens.

Mr Williams, who is also the authority's older persons' champion, said they spend a massive £32million a year on care for the elderly - more than a third of the social work department's annual budget.

He highlighted the work they do, with thousands benefiting from home helps and hundreds of the most vulnerable people getting more than 10 hours of care and assistance every week.

Mr Williams admitted the waiting list had increased but explained there was a shortage of staff all across the country, coupled with an increase in demand.

He said: "There has been a build- up for the occupational therapy service again but we're working to reduce the waiting list.

"We know the list isn't acceptable but we can't manufacture occupational therapists as there's a nationwide shortage of them and also people's awareness of what is available is increasing."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Do you have a Stannah 260 Stair Lift for sale?

If you have a Stannah 260 stair lift that you no longer require, Dolphin Stair Lifts may be interested in buying it from you. We only use the chair and motor, because a new bespoke rail must be manufactured, however, we can offer you a reasonable sum for this and we will remove every part of the installation from your property. Please call us on 0800 9800 126 if you have a Stannah Stair Lift for sale.

Click on the following link to check if the stair lift that you have is a Stannah 260.

Dolphin Stair Lifts - Stannah Stair Lifts. Stannah's details are towards the bottom of the page.

Stair Lift Sales Statistics

Taken from an article by Thiis (The Homecare Industry Information Service)

The current size of the global stair lift industry is said to be around 100,000 units, worth around £130m at dealer prices, according to research. Broken down this amounts to 62,000 straight lifts and 38,000 curved lifts, with the largest market being in the UK where approximately 36,000 new lifts are sold each year.

Not surprisingly, given the public sector funding available, the UK and Netherlands have the highest ratio of stair lifts for every over 65 person in the population.

However, the general consensus is that other markets may now grow rapidly. For example, the North American market is forecast to grow by around 10% per annum. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, the percentage of the US population over the age of 65 will have risen to around 19%, compared to 13% today. Other factors pointing towards potential growth in North America is the increasing market awareness of stair lifts, more disposable income available to the over 65's and the quality of products and expertise available locally.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bison Bede unveil new stair lifts at Naidex

The Naidex exhibition saw UK stair lift manufacturer and bathlift supplier Bison unveiling two new stair lifts – the entry level Bison 45 and the deluxe Bison 50 – two of the smoothest and quietest rides around. Supporting the new products is the popular Bison 80 curved stair lift and the company’s extensive bath lift range.

As Bison’s stair lift business is exclusively through national and international approved dealers, you will need to contact a company such as Dolphin Stair Lifts to purchase the lifts.

The new Bison 50 stair lift, similar in looks to the company’s renowned Compact models, benefits from a number of technical advancements all designed for greater reliability and operation. Key improvements have reduced installation time, down from 2-3 hours, to less than one hour, as well as providing a smoother and quieter ride. The Bison 50 offers the same range of options as the Compact including stand & perch, space saver and external configurations.

Bison’s new Bison 45 is the company’s basic entry model stair lift. A cost-effective unit, the Bison 45 incorporates many of the benefits of regular stair lifts but at a competitive price. With a built-in soft start/stop facility, comfortable ride and an integral high power rechargeable battery pack, the Bison 45 is always ready for use, even in the event of a power failure.

All Bison stair lifts are supplied with easy-use finger light controls, swivel seats for safer alighting, secure seatbelts and remote control handsets. All fold away when not in use to free up the staircase.

Stairlift article from Disability Now

Disabled people could be putting their lives at risk by buying do-it-yourself stairlift kits over the internet and installing them themselves, the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has warned.

The trend developed in the United States and the association is worried it will become popular in the UK.

BHTA director general Ray Hodgkinson said DIY stairlifts are "an accident waiting to happen" and while disabled people think they are saving money by buying on the internet, they will pay in the long-term.

"Stairlifts must be installed by experienced professionals or the results could be tragic," he said.

Steve Dickinson, managing director of stairlift manufacturer Bison, said stairlifts are complex pieces of equipment and not something that can be installed "by a relative, friend or DIY enthusiast".

David Jenkins, product safety advisor for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "The implications of getting it wrong would not only be financial.
"There could be serious injury or even death."

A spokesman for the Disabled Living Centres Council said stairlifts should be fitted by a qualified engineer.

He added that while the internet is useful for finding information about specific products, disabled people should seek advice from one of the 50 nationwide Disabled Living Centres or contact their helpline* before buying.

*Disabled Living Centres Council helpline 0161 834 1044

Stair Lift articles and websites

I have compiled a small list of websites and articles that could be useful and informative if you are buying a stair lift or planning to adapt a property to suit the needs of an elderly or disabled person.

"Standards and Procedures to Ensure that XXX Premises are Accessible to People with Disabilities"

by Andy Berry

BBC article concerning a Which? magazine report into selling practices of mobility aid companies

An Australian article about living with arthritis

An article from the Scottish executive about using the law to develop and improve equipment and adaptation provision

OTdirect is an independent site for Occupational Therapists, OT Assistants and OT students, produced by OTs in their spare time. It aims to provide not only links to useful resources on the web, but study notes, practice updates and training listings.

Information on Disabled Facilities grants from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Office of the deputy Prime Minister website

Information on grants and loans to help with repairs and improvements to the home including disabled facilities grants.

Citizens Advice Bureau

A guide to buying stairlifts

Dolphin Stair Lifts Spain

Dolphin Stairlifts, one of the UK's leading Independent Access Equipment Companies, is making its first foray into Europe with the opening of a branch in Alicante, Southern Spain. Under the management of husband and wife team, Jo and John Pickering, the branch will be offering a complete range of access equipment to ex-pats in the Costa Blanca region including stairlifts, bathroom products, recliners, step lifts and pool lifts.

Dolphin Stairlifts plans to open a second branch in Malaga later this year to cover the Costa del Sol region, and has plans for further expansion into Portugal and South West France. Already offering the largest number of branches of any access equipment company in the UK and Ireland, the new branch in Alicante brings Dolphin Stairlifts outlets to twenty-seven.

Spain has seen an upsurge in the number of British citizens either retiring to Southern Spain or buying holiday homes in the region to escape from the British Winter. In many cases, as the years go by, they need help with mobility and access equipment in order to maintain their quality of life.

Major advances in the development of mobility equipment over the past five years has resulted in a change of attitude towards those who would previously have gone into residential care. Whether a person requires a wheelchair lift, needs assistance to get up and downstairs, in or out of the bath, or even to get out and about, there is now a range of equipment to resolve these age-old problems.

Established in 1989 Dolphin Stairlifts has built its reputation by offering top quality, value for money products to single users, local authorities, private companies and social services departments. As the company is not limited to one manufacturer, and is the primary agent for all the renowned manufacturers of Access Equipment, it is continually testing new products to add to its range.

Commenting, Rob Edwards, of Dolphin Stairlifts says: "Our new branch in Alicante is managed by local people who are aware of the requirements within their locality but follow Dolphinís values of professional and customer care. Through our close association with many of the world's top commercial and residential manufacturers and incorporating our experience and innovation we have developed a range of outstanding products in the area of 'Access to All'."Dolphin Stairlifts, Spain, will offer a complete service to customers including assessment, training on product use, full maintenance and warranty packages, breakdown cover and scheduled servicing arrangements.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Surrey County Council Stair Lifts Report

Surrey trading standards have recently conducted inspections on stairlift installations in the County this is their report.


Over a three-day period in spring 2004, twelve Surrey private residential dwellings were visited where stair lifts had been recently installed. Consumers were asked about their experiences of buying and using the stair lift. The stair lifts were examined with regard to their safety. The project did not reveal any design flaws at the manufacturing stage, however, some issues have been identified that raise concerns regarding the selling and installation of stair lifts. In particular, the significant market for previously owned stair lifts raised the most concerns.The results can be broadly broken down into three main areas, namely, the selling methods; the installation; and the extended warranty. Consumers and traders need a better awareness of these issues involving the supply of stair lifts.

The selling methods

The typical purchaser of a stair lift may be regarded as being more vulnerable as they inevitably possess some form of mobility impairment due to age or otherwise. All stair lift purchases will require a minimum of two visits to the consumer's home.

The sales visit

The installation

As with any sale in a consumer's home they may feel under pressure to complete a purchase before the salesman leaves.

There was evidence to suggest that consumers did not shop around enough prior to purchase, with many consumers buying from the first company to visit their home. In some cases this resulted in the consumer obtaining poor value for money. One consumer paid £2,500 for a second-hand stair lift when a brand new one could have been purchased for £2,300 or less.

Many consumers were unable to recall the details of the sales visit and unscrupulous companies may exploit this. One lady thought that she had purchased a new stair lift when in fact it was second hand.

The installation

The correct installation of the stair lift is critical to its safety. The best designed and manufactured stair lift can be rendered potentially lethal due to improper installation. The only examples where the safety of the product was compromised were found to be attributable to poor workmanship during installation. They included:

Failure to prevent access to basic electrical insulation
Failure to provide proper protection for the mains power cable
Failure to ensure that the track supports are level and properly secured

The extended warranty

With only one exception, none of the consumers had taken out the extended warranty that was offered to them after purchasing their stair lift. Whether new or second-hand, extended warranties are available in a variety of package choices that describe the different levels of cover as "Bronze", "Silver" and "Gold" or by their number of stars. The one constant element of the extended warranty was the price. All of the warranties are extremely expensive costing on average £600 for four years after the initial year has lapsed. The salesmen warn consumers of the expensive price of parts should anything go wrong in an attempt to persuade consumers to take up the extended warranty.

It is apparent from the project that many of the stair lifts examined were in need of a service and that the cost of such a service was the sole reason why this had not occurred. Some of the complaints we have received in the past from consumers were directly attributable to an absence of servicing.

Businesses who supply stairlifts need a greater awareness of their obligations to consumers. The fact that we are monitoring this sector and that we will, where necessary, take action. Genuine traders can be reassured that we are attempting to ensure a level playing field and that we are available to advise and assist them in the endeavours to comply. Unscrupulous traders should be in no doubt as to their responsibilities and the consequences should they fail to comply with the law.

Dolphin Mobility Online Shopping

Dolphin Mobility are pleased to announce the opening of their online shopping store. The new store has Bath Lifts, Riser Recliner Chairs, Portable Access Ramps and Wheelchairs for sale. Click the links below to check out the new design:

Bath Lifts -

Recliner Chairs -

Access Ramps -

Wheelchairs -

Dolphin Stair Lifts Nationwide Branches

South and South East

Dolphin Mobility Ltd
London, Surrey, Sussex, Berks, Bucks, Middx, Herts, Beds, Oxon.
37 Chertsey Road
GU24 8PD
Tel. 01276 856060
Fax 01276 858689

Dolphin Stairlifts Limited
Hampshire, Dorset, Wilts.
Dolphin House
Holes Bay Park,
Sterte Avenue West
BH15 2AA
Tel. 01202 669194
Fax. 01202 673708

Dolphin Independent Lifts
North & East London, Essex, East Herts, Cambs.
37 Chertsey Road
GU24 8PD
Tel. 01276 856060
Fax 01276 858689

Dolphin Stairlifts (Kent)
Kent Outside M25
11 New Street
TN24 8TN
Tel. 01233 622999
Fax 01303 264409

Dolphin Access Lifts (London)
Disabled Access Products Only
South East of England
37 Chertsey Road
GU24 8PD
Tel. 02380 669995
Fax 02380 666517


Dolphin Mobility (East Midlands)

Lincs, Notts, Derbyshire
Unit 3a Exchange Road
Tel. 01522 686315
Fax 01522 686315

Dolphin Stairlifts (Midlands) Ltd
West Midlands, Leics, Warwickshire.
Unit 7 All Saints Industrial Estate
All Saints Street
B18 7RJ
Tel. 0121 554 8988
Fax 0121 554 2988

Dolphin Stairlifts (Central) Ltd
Worcestershire, Black Country
Unit 7 Lye Business Centre
Hayes Lane
West Midlands
Tel. 01384 898933

Fax 01384 891189


Dolphin Stairlifts (Anglia) Ltd
Norfolk & Suffolk.
43 Roman Way
IP11 9NP
Tel. 01394 277100
Fax 01394 277100


Dolphin Mobility (Dolphin Stairlifts North)
Manchester, Merseyside, Lancs, West & South Yorks.
Dolphin House
36 Liverpool Road
M30 0WT
Tel. 0161 707 9995
Fax 0161 707 3337

Dolphin Stairlifts (Chester) Ltd
North Wales
Rubicon Centre
Broadground Road
B98 8YP
Tel. 01527 404303
Fax 01527 527875

Dolphin Stairlifts (North East)
Tyneside, Teeside, Northumberland & Durham.
Unit 16F Airport Industrial Estate
Kingston Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel. 0191 271 2600
Fax 0191 286 3773

Dolphin Stairlifts (Cumbria)
Hugh Croft
LA10 5TD
Tel. 01539 625444
Fax 01539 625333

Dolphin Stairlifts (North Yorks)
North & East Yorkshire1
1 Lawcliffe Crescent
West Yorkshire
BD22 8RD
Tel. 01535 647744
Fax 01535 647744
E mail:


Dolphin Stairlifts (Western)
Bristol,Avon,Glocs, Wilts
41 Brampton Way
BS20 6YN
Tel. 01275 818220
Fax 01275 818220

Dolphin Stairlifts (Somerset)
Riverside Cottage
The Village
Clyst St Mary
Tel. 01392 879089
Fax 01392 874525

Dolphin Stairlifts (South West)
Forge House
EX17 6AX
Tel. 01363 83892
Fax 01363 83892

Dolphin Stairlifts (Cornwall)
Clapper Mill
TR19 6NY
Tel. 01736 810814


Dolphin Lifts (Scotland)
4 Damhead Holdings
EH10 7DZ
Tel. 0131 445 5574
Fax 0131 445 5604

Dolphin Stairlifts (South Wales)
Unit 12 Crawford Street
NP19 7AY
Tel. 01633 223121
Fax 01633 221805

Dolphin Stairlifts (Northern Ireland)
123-125 Market Street
Co. Armagh
Northern Ireland
BT62 2BS
Tel. 028 38 840037
Fax. 028 38 841893

Dolphin Stairlifts (Cork)
35 Wellington Road
St Lukes,
Tel. 00353 2142 89085
Fax same as above

Dolphin Stairlifts (Ireland)
67 Lower Dorset Street
Tel. 00353 18308310
Fax 00353 18308310

Dolphin Stairlifts (Gallway)
5 Ros Geal
Milars Lane
Tel. 00 353 91584169
Fax 00 353 91525513


Dolphin Stairlifts announce a change of ownership and management

The East Anglia branch of DOLPHIN STAIRLIFTS has recently had a change of ownership and management. DOLPHIN is a well established national supplier of a range of mobility products and the change of ownership will facilitate further improvements in customer service for this area.

The new Director Paul Smith said

"I am excited at the prospect of developing DOLPHIN activities in Suffolk and Norfolk. I shall be giving full support to existing customers as well as providing a personal and prompt service to new clients. Whilst our key product is the Stairlift we can also meet many other mobility needs. An important reason to come to DOLPHIN is that the organisation has a wealth of knowledge of the products in the marketplace and, being independent, can recommend just the right one for a client."

The range of products DOLPHIN can supply include:

• Stairlifts

• Bathlifts

• Scooters

• Public Access lifts

• Recliner chairs

The new management is dedicated to uphold the DOLPHIN values of personal attention, full after sales service and support with competitive prices.

DOLPHIN (East Anglia) Limited operates over the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and Paul Smith can be contacted on:

Telephone 01394 277100



1. DOLPHIN operates nationally with autonomous branches in all areas of the country.

2. Local managers have full training in the products they recommend and install and also access to central information on products

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tips for buying a stair lift

  • Always get more than one quote and make sure that the products are 'like for like'
  • Try a manufacturer and a local supplier to get a price comparison.
  • Ask your local authority or Occupational Therapist who they prefer to use.
  • If possible have another family member or an O/T present.
  • Ask about maintenance costs, will they still look after your lift even if you don't sign up to an expensive contract? A reputable company will service your lift regardless.
  • Are the company approved suppliers? If not, they will struggle to obtain spare parts and their engineers will not be trained by the manufacturer.
  • An independent supplier can tell you about a range of different stair lifts without bias to one manufacturer.
  • Exercise caution if the salesman is pushing you to buy that day.
  • Many salesmen start with a high price and discount to close a sale. A reputable company will quote the best price from the start.
  • If possible try a lift out in a Disabled Living Centre showroom. A stair lift is not suitable for everyone.
  • Do as much research as possible, there are many companies in this industry who sell at highly inflated prices.

Hinged Stair Lift Rails

When a door at the top or the bottom of the stairs may be blocked by the rail of the stair lift, there are a number of stair lift models designed to overcome this problem. Some manufacturers are able to produce a rail with reduced overhang upstairs, so the stairlift will not protrude as far into the hallway. This may solve the problem at the top of your stairs and is a very cost effective solution.

If there is a door or passageway at the bottom of the stairs then it is likely that you will need a folding track or hinged rail stair lift. This means that the bottom section of the rail can be folded out of the way when the lift is not being used. This will allow you to gain access to a door that would be blocked by a normal rail and also means that there is no tripping hazard if you have an open hallway downstairs.

The hinged rail option is available from most suppliers but the cost and quality can vary greatly. Seek independent advice and consider if you would be able to fold the rail manually or if you would require powered operation. Most people do need the powered version as the mechanism can be quite heavy. Unfortunately these options will add to the cost of the lift.
The only other option is to stop the rail of the stair lift short, to prevent it protruding as far into the hallway. This might make getting off the lift dangerous and is not an ideal solution by any means. Again you must seek advice, preferably from an occupational therapist. Also take into account that while you may be able to use the stair lift this way in the short term you may find it impossible in the future. Some companies may not consider it an option as they feel there is too much risk involved.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Stair Lifts - Straight and Curved Stairlifts

There are two types of stairlift. Straight and curved. The first is designed for straight stairs. The footrest of the lift will normally stop level with the top stair. It may be possible to use a straight stairlift on some configurations of curved stairs.

The second, and generally far more expensive type, is a 'made to measure' or 'curved track stairlift' which can travel around bends on the stairs and can be made to run on to the landing. Prices vary according to the length of the stairs, the number of bends and the complexity of the bends.

It is worth noting that although far more expensive, the resale value is negligible, as the rail is made to measure and can only be re-installed on an identical staircase.

Curved track stairlifts can be fitted on either side of the stairs, the layout of your staircase will determine which is most suitable. If you need a curved track stairlift you will need to pay a deposit to the company that you are dealing with. This will normally be about 30% of the cost of the lift. The deposit is required because the company are committing themselves to building a stairlift rail that will only fit into your house. You should not have to pay a large deposit if you order a standard straight lift as these can usually be adapted to suit another staircase.

In certain circumstances it is possible to fit a straight stairlift on stairs that have a turn at the top. For example if you have a straight run of stairs with three steps winding onto the landing. Or a straight flight and a quarter landing with two more steps, a folding platform stairlift could be the solution. A straight stairlift is installed with extended legs, so the footrest stops in line with the landing. A solid wooden platform is then built around the footrest of the lift. This platform can then be used to walk safely onto the landing. The platform is hinged so that it can be folded back against the wall to enable other people in the house to use the stairs.

It is also possible to have a powered platform so the user doesn't have to bend to raise it. Please note that the folding platform option is not suitable for everyone. If you are prone to dizzy spells or feinting or if you have very poor mobility this is not a viable option. Seek independent advice.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Beware of cut and shut Stannah stair lift rails

Buying a stairlift is a major investment and the secondhand stairlift market is a perfectly legitimate one. Indeed, major manufacturers such as Stannah do offer secondhand stairlifts but would-be purchasers should be cautious about some unscrupulous dealers.

There can be problems when buying secondhand stairlifts. To put it simply, straight rails can be safely re-used to install a second-hand straight stairlift but curved secondhand stairlifts always need new rails. This is because even if the carriage is secondhand, the rails have to be tailor-made to fit individual staircases because they must not obstruct doorways and must fit tightly to the stairs. Experts say it is just not possible to use secondhand curved rails safely.

Some people have purchased Stannah curved rails that have been re-manufactured from a number of old rails which have been cut up and welded together in an attempt to fit to a particular staircase. They are known in the industry as ‘cut and shuts’ – named after a similar practice in the secondhand car market.

Many customers have been misled into thinking they were buying genuine Stannah rails as advertisers have made no attempt to clarify the fact that the rails they are selling have been re-manufactured from a selection of old Stannah rails.

Due to the limitations of this re-manufacturing process, the quality and fit of the rails to the staircase is generally extremely poor and – most importantly – the stairlift could well be unsafe.

To be sure that you a receiving a brand new rail then you will need to go directly to Stannah or one of their approved dealers. Dolphin Mobility have been approved Stannah dealers for over 10 years. In fact our branch alone accounts for 20% of Stannah's UK trade sales. Approved Stannah dealers all sign up to an agreement not to use cut and shut rails, giving the customer peace of mind that they are getting a brand new, and most importantly, a 100% safe rail.

It is also worth considering that companies that use cut and shut rails are not authorised dealers and therefore cannot buy spare parts from Stannah. This could seriously effect their ability to maintain and service your stair lift. This also means that their stair lift engineers have no training from Stannah.

If you have received a quotation from a company for a curved rail stair lift and they cannot prove that they are authorised dealers, then you should contact the manufacturer to see if they are on the approved list. If you think you have bought a stair lift that uses a cut and shut rail then please contact Dolphin on 0800 9800 126 and we can advise you what to do next.

Stair Lift Buying Guide

There is no doubt that having a stair lift in your home can dramatically improve your quality of life. If you are starting to find that climbing the stairs is becoming a hazardous experience, or just hard work, then a stair lift could be the answer. Another solution could be to move to a single storey residence. However, this can be expensive and stressful, and many people are reluctant to leave a house that they have spent many years turning into a home.

Once you start considering the possibility of having a stair lift, you begin to delve into what can be a highly technical area. However sure you are of what you want, I strongly recommend that you take professional advice from someone with experience in this field. In most areas, informed advice is available from community occupational therapists (OT's). You will also need to make contact with a company who specialises in installing stair lifts. I would advise that you contact more than one company because there can be a huge difference in price and quality. Unfortunately, as the populations average age increases, more and more unscrupulous traders have entered the market and you need to make sure that you are not being ripped off.

If possible visit a demonstration centre and try a stair lift yourself. A stair lift is not the answer for everyone. For example, if you are confined to a wheelchair, then a lift that goes through the floor would probably be the best option.

The technology involved in stair lifts has improved dramatically in recent years. A stair lift can be installed on 99% of stair cases these days. But remember, not all stair lift companies are equal, some are using technology that is several years old. My advice is to research as many products as you can and to get as many quotations as you can. Knowledge is power after all, and with a few sensible precautions before purchase, you can ensure that you buy the right lift for your needs for the right price.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Stair Lifts - New from £1399 installed

Dolphin Stair Lifts can now install a brand new straight stair lift for only £1399. This is for a basic model and the lift is not available with features such as powered swivels or hinges. But, if you need a simple and reliable stair lift then you will struggle to find a better deal. The lift comes with a full 12 month parts and labour guarantee and we will always look after your lift without the need for you to sign up to an expensive service contract.

This offer may not be available at all branches, to find out call 0800 9800 126 or go to to find your local branch.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Stairlifts - The Freelift Stair Lift

The Freelift Van Gogh Stair Lift is suitable for curved staircases and features one of the slimmest rails available on the curved market. Designed in Holland and said to be one of the oldest stair lift companies in existence, many years of experience have gone into the design of the Freelift.

The images above show the Freelift's powered hinged rail stair lift, which is essential if you have an open hallway or a door at the bottom of your stairs. The slim and compact nature of the hinge makes it one of the very best available on the market.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Job Vacancies

Dolphin Mobility are currently seeking to recruit a stair lift engineer, a qualified electrician and a full time receptionist / administrator. For more details visit our job vacancies blog at:

Monday, January 10, 2005

Stairlifts - Minivator

Minivator are a Midlands based manufacturer of stairlifts. Formerly owned by the Sunrise Medical group, a recent management buy out saw the company take a more focused direction in the stairlift market place.

There are two models available, the Minivator 1000 for straight stairs and the Minivator 2000 for curved staircases. Both stair lifts are compliant with BS5776 and ISO9386-2.

The Minivator 2000 is now available with an internal bend as well as an external bend allowing the stairlift to be installed in the majority of homes with curved stairs. One of the major benefits of the Minivator 2000 is the speed of production. It is usually possible to have the lift installed within three weeks from the date that we order it. The lift is also much cheaper than many of its curved stair rivals making it a serious conteder to the Stannah 260 which is widely thought to be the best curved stair lift on the market. Whether it can consistently match the 260 reliability wise remains to be seen, but they are certainly moving towards that.

The Minivator 1000 is a slimline stairlift with all of the usual options that you'd expect from a straight stairlift. One of the best features, which is unique to the Minivator product, is the excellent toggle switch control. People with limited mobility or with painful conditions such as arthritis find it much easier to us the Minivator toggle.

If you would like more information on the Minivator products that we sell please follow the next link or call us free on 0800 9800 126.

Friday, January 07, 2005

New Bison Bede Curved Stair Lift

We're fairly excited about the new Bison Curved stair lift and we await with interest the reliability tests from the many lifts that are currently in test homes. If its as good as we think it is, we expect to start offering the lift to some of our local authority clients in the coming months.

The Bison 80 Stairlift represents a major step forward in comfort and reliability. Using the latest technology and Bison's modular rail concept, the Bison 80 has been developed to accommodate virtually all curved staircases.

Engineering excellence ensures the Bison 80 Stairlift provides a smooth and comfortable ride along a continuous slim and attractively finished rail on either the inner or outer curvature of your staircase.

The slim, stylish, yet robust design allows for plenty of access even on narrow stairs and has been designed to be a piece of modern furniture, to ensure it blends subtly into your home.

Designed with ease of use and comfort in mind, The Bison 80 is operated using a rocker switch located on the armrest. Additional radio frequency remotes can also be provided to allow the lift to be remotely called.

The unique self leveling transport system moves the carriage along the single low profile rail and automatically adjusts the speed and level of the seat on cornering, providing an exceptionally smooth ride. The system's electronic programming ensures excellent operational performance.

The Bison 80 is battery powered, making it quiet and smooth in operation and providing additional peace of mind in the event of a power cut.

The footrest of the Bison 80 is extremely close to the ground floor level and has no step, also it ends level with the top stair nose, giving easy access to the landing.

When not in use the Bison 80 stairlift with its slim profile design can be easily folded away and also has an unique inside parking capability, ensuring the stairway is not obstructed for use by other members of the household.

If you would like more information on the Bison products that we sell please follow the next link or call us free on 0800 9800 126.

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