Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation
Our business is an ongoing process of learning, and inventing, and overcoming.
For this reason, in 2013, Tomcat SNI has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation – the UK’s highest accolade for business success – in recognition of more than 30 cycling and tricycle innovations that have enabled children and adults with wide ranging disabilities to enjoy movement and exercise – not just in the safety of their school – but out with the family in the communities in which they live.
Fifteen years of making tricycles for disabled children has landed inventor Bob Griffin with a visit to the Queen and went to Buckingham Palace to pick up the royal gong.
In 1997, Tomcat’s founder, Bob Griffin, wanted that freedom for his own son Tom who had very severe learning difficulties. As no solution was available, Bob designed his own; tested it on Tom about the beautiful Cotswold countryside, then set up Tomcat in a garden shed, with a shoestring budget and a patent that was to change the special needs cycling industry forever. His invention was “Carer Control”, a system whereby a parent could independently control steering, braking and speed, when learning difficulties, vision or physical difficulties made those fundamental skills impossible. Since those early years, Tomcat has become the UK’s biggest and best loved manufacturer of special needs tricycles, exporting to Norway, Russia, Belgium, Greece, Italy and the rest of the world.
Continuous innovation overcame ever more complex issues so these days; customers with neurological damage, paralysis, severe physical disability, or even serious mobility issues such as the need to be moved by hoist, can access a trike and use their limbs as nature intended – often for the first time and with all the health benefits that brings. All this has brought Tomcat to be awarded a Queen’s Award!