The Berkeley Foundation presented the Epsom based charity MERU, which is part of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People Family of Charities, with a cheque for £25,000 that will fund new Bugzis, a special micro-sized powered wheelchair that can offer very young children their first taste of independent mobility.

The MERU Bugzi encourages development of physical co-ordination and motor skills as well as improving spatial awareness and personal risk management by helping children to learn about cause and effect and prepare for a full-sized powered wheelchair when they’re older.
Each Bugzi costs £5,000 and after one child has used them, they are refurbished and passed on to another child.  Berkeley’s donation comes at a crucial time, as there is a long waiting list in Surrey and across the country for Bugzis, as they are not currently financed by the NHS.

Karen Deacon, chief executive at Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, comments: “Everyone at MERU is hugely grateful for this amazing donation from Berkeley, and I’d like to extend my personal thanks to all of the Berkeley staff members and suppliers that joined in with fundraising activities. This donation will fund the 200th Bugzi and the Bugzis that my colleagues at MERU can now build will have a huge impact on young children and their families. I’ve seen the difference a Bugzi can make, and it’s incredible. Thank you!”

MERU and Berkeley have enjoyed a five-year relationship with Berkeley fundraising efforts having paid for many new Bugzis as well as other much-needed equipment. The Berkeley team have organised a series of fundraising events this year alone, including an annual go-karting event, to help raise enough for five new Bugzi wheelchairs. In addition to fundraising, members of staff from Berkeley volunteer each month to spend time during working hours to help the charity by building Bugzis and supporting the children and staff.

Managing director of Berkeley Homes Southern, Chris Gilbert, comments: “We are delighted to help the children and families that QEF supports. It’s wonderful to see how much a Bugzi can change a life and we look forward to continuing our fundraising for this very valuable cause.”