2021 is the year Mangar Health celebrates 40 years of a business, a company founded on a unique idea to enable an elderly, but fiercely independent family member to bathe safely and with dignity.
Founded at their cottage in the village of Llanfihangel Rhydithon by husband and wife team David and Francesca Garman, Mangar Health has grown from a humble beginnings to an international company, with a factory in Presteigne Mid Wales, employing more than 60 members of staff. The inspirational couple spent more than 36 years designing and manufacturing assistive equipment before selling to their management team in 2014.
In 2018 Mangar Health was bought by French owned Winncare Group, but the success of today sits firmly in values established in 1981, when the company became the first major employer in the local rural Powys community.
Today the company has a global reach, selling products into Europe, North America and Australia and is best recognised for supplying inflatable lifting cushions to the UK Ambulance Service.
Francesca Garman remembers how they very quickly recognised the potential for global reach. She says, “David was enormously driven to design products that provide simple solutions for people facing daily challenges with mobility. We spent hours, days and weeks researching, planning and creating unique, innovative equipment and the results were phenomenal.
“The response from occupational therapists, charities and clinicians at our first ever exhibition was incredibly exciting and from that moment on we knew how important our work was going to be both in the UK and farther afield.”
Throughout the 40 years more than 40 products have been designed and throughout this 40th year the Mangar team will be reminiscing on social media, posting images of equipment designed in the very early days. Francesca continues, “There are still occupational therapists working today that remember our early bath lift. Our first Local Authority sale was to Suffolk County Council after we had worked with their occupational therapist to help a lady with Still’s Disease. The bath lift allowed the lady to enjoy the benefits of a warm bath, which eased her arthritic pain. She became a great champion of the product and 10 years later Mangar donated the latest model so she could continue to enjoy her personal care.”
There will be some great opportunities throughout the year to reflect on 40 years of highlights, with many of the staff having been employed with the company for more than 30 years. Francesca remembers the great pleasure she and David felt seeing recruits joining Mangar straight from school at 16 and developing into valued, respected and remarkably able members of their team.
Highlights of the 40 years include being featured on Blue Peter, a visit from Princess Ann in 1989 and launching the Camel lifting cushion with a real Camel ride up and down Presteigne high street. Of course, more recent significant business wins with Ambulance New South Wales, British Columbia Ambulance and 600 care homes in Wales means the company goes from strength to strength and look forward to the next 40 years with anticipation.
CEO Simon Claridge, concludes; “David and Francesca Garman set in motion the importance of really understanding customer needs and working tirelessly to design solutions that change the lives of everyone who uses them.
“Today, we continue to educate and inform our healthcare clinicians in the importance of protecting their own musculoskeletal health, as well as promoting user independence.”