A Welsh company that designs and manufactures prosthetic leg covers is expanding rapidly.
LIMB-art, which was established by former Paralympian Mark Williams, has just become an accredited supplier to the NHS.
It is the first time that prosthetic leg covers have been available to people on the NHS.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Preston and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust are the first two Trusts to prescribe the innovative covers.
To keep pace with the rapid growth of the company, Mark is opening new offices and a distribution facility. He is also looking to start selling his products overseas and break in to America in 2020.
The Denbighshire company is also working on a number of new limb cover designs including one made with electronic paint which lights up because, as Mark says, “We don’t our customers to blend in!”
Last month, LIMB-art won Manufacturing Start-Up of the Year in Wales StartUp Awards, which celebrates the best new businesses in Wales.
The company is on a mission to give prosthetic legs a better shape – traditionally offered on the NHS and which resemble ‘poles’ – as well as allowing the wearer to express their personality.
LIMB-art’s covers are a completely customisable accessory, lightweight and easy to fit and they are suitable for all users of above and below knee prostheses.
The covers not only give the wearer a full leg shape and restore balance to their silhouette, they also boost their confidence and allow them to show their personality because the brand offer a whole range of colours and designs.
One of its ambassadors is Darren Greenfield, currently the World’s Strongest Disabled Man and a LIMB-art fan.
Mark, who has received support from Business Wales’ Accelerated Growth Programme, says: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business. Becoming an accredited supplier to the NHS is hugely important and we’re delighted that we’ve already supplied a dozen people with our leg covers in the past few weeks.
“Although prostheses have come on in leaps and bounds functionally, until now how they look has generally been overlooked.
“We don’t want prosthetic wearers to hide away or be self-conscious. We want to be known worldwide for making the coolest prosthetic leg covers so people who wear them feel they can stand out and stand proud.
“When you wear a cool looking cover, it breaks down barriers and cuts out awkward stares. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stopped in the street and been told my leg looks amazing.”
Mark, 47, was 10 when he was cycling home from school and was involved in a road traffic accident in Pen y Maes, Rhyl, North Wales. He lost his leg as a result of the accident.
The accident transformed him from a shy boy, who couldn’t swim, into a super-confident athlete winning medals in the pool. This included competing and winning medals at The Paralympics and World Championship in swimming.
There are more than 500 new amputees each month in the UK and over 30 million amputees globally.