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March 3, 2022

Recycling local legs in Wolverhampton to support those with limb differences in sub-Saharan Africa


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Press release
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Since 2015 The Maltings Mobility Centre, part of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, has been working alongside UK registered charity Legs4Africa to put unwanted prosthetic legs to good use. 

In the UK, approximately 5,000 prosthetic legs end up in landfills every year. Meanwhile, in Africa, 1.7 million amputees are in need of a limb to help them live independent lives. Thanks to this unique partnership between The Maltings Mobility Centre and Legs4Africa, these statistics are starting to positively change. 

The Maltings has donated more than 100 prosthetic limbs to Legs4Africa since the partnership began. These legs have then made their way to their forever homes across eight sub-Saharan African countries, including The Gambia. 

Once there, the prosthetic leg parts are fixed, adapted and fitted to amputees who otherwise may never walk again. In many of these countries, a leg built from imported parts costs upwards of £800, making them unaffordable for the majority of people. But by utilising parts that would otherwise be classed as medical waste, Legs4Africa is helping to get people like Joe back on their feet. 

Joe who received a leg from Legs4Africa said: 

“I broke my leg falling out of a tree, and in the end, I had to have it amputated. Thankfully I have a prosthetic now which was made from parts donated by Legs4Africa. This means I can continue with my career as a fashion designer. I have great plans for the future, I want to expand my business so I can eventually support my family.” 

For the incredible team at The Maltings this partnership also provides them with an opportunity to do their bit for the environment while supporting amputation patients in countries further afield. 

Louise Tisdale, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist said: 

“Our patients often ask the team what is done with the limbs that are no longer suitable for them or they can no longer use, and we are pleased to advise them that the components of the limbs will be refurbished by the charity and will support those in Africa to gain their independence. When relatives return the prosthetic limbs of deceased family members to us – they are often pleased to find that the limbs will have good use elsewhere.” 

This autumn, The Maltings is helping Legs4Africa to promote their latest fundraising campaign, aptly named Leg Up which has so far raised £13,500. This match funded campaign, which runs until Christmas Eve, aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with limb loss, while generating funding that will allow Legs4Africa to continue utilising The Maltings Mobility Centre’s kind donations for the next two years. The vital services offered by Legs4Africa consist of providing support and prosthetic leg parts for the only mobility centre in The Gambia, community outreach and offering emotional support like counselling sessions through rehabilitation services.

To donate to the Leg Up campaign please visit www.legs4africa.org/legup. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – @Legs4Africa. 

/ENDS 

For media enquiries please contact Sam on [email protected].

Notes to editor 

Legs4Africa 

Legs4Africa is a registered charity (charity number 1158697) based in Bristol in the UK. The charity was founded in 2013 by Tom Williams after his trip to The Gambia. Tom was introduced to a gentleman who needed a prosthetic leg urgently, and his search began. Once back in the UK, Tom was able to successfully source a leg for Paul. In the process, he discovered that access to affordable prosthetic legs was a problem faced by over a million people with limb differences on the African continent. 

Since then, Legs4Africa has sent enough prosthetic leg parts to build or repair over 9,500 limbs – working with hospitals in the UK, the USA, Canada, France and Australia, with further opportunities arising across Europe. The charity collects used prosthetic legs, which under current European Union law, cannot be re-used in the United Kingdom. 

The prosthetic legs are then shipped to African countries such as The Gambia, Ghana and Uganda, where they can be modified for, and used by people with limb differences. Alongside this recycling programme, Legs4Africa works closely with in-country partners to improve services, create opportunities and ensure amputees have everything they need in order to live independent lives. 

The Maltings Mobility Centre 

The Royal Wolverhampton Trust’s Amputee Rehabilitation service is based at the Maltings Mobility Centre, Herbert Street, Wolverhampton. Providing outpatient lower limb amputee rehabilitation to West Midlands’ patients. Supporting individuals and their families and carers through all stages of their rehabilitation – from the pre-amputation phase to reviewing established prosthetic users, the service also holds clinics in Telford and Dudley.