Getting used to life in a wheelchair is no easy feat.

But to receive one with no practical help on how to use it can make one feel both daunted and isolated.

That is when everyday tasks, such as carrying cups of coffee and stepping down from kerbs, become serious obstacles to some.

Yet this is the stark reality faced by many who become reliant on wheels to get around, many of whom do not get adequate training when they first receive their chair.

Fortunately, charitable disability group Experience Community CIC is now putting all its efforts in to a new free wheelchair skills and independent living course for Kirklees users to allow them to live life to the full.

Experience Community wheelchair skills class at Spa Fields, Slaithwaite - Claire Foard with instructor Karl Osborne.

The benefits of the sessions have been branded as “mind blowing” by participants, some of whom previously felt housebound.

Over six one day sessions, participants learn everything from how to carry drinks without spilling them, navigate uneven pavements and do wheelies to help them get around in different environments.

It is being funded by Kirklees CCG and Kirklees Council for 18 months, and course organisers want more people to take part in a new course beginning on May 11.

“We ran a pilot course last year and it went well and now we’re in the middle of our first course”, said Dave Chugg, course leader, who became a wheelchair user after a paragliding accident.

“We’re part way through this new one, which includes five hour long sessions on Wednesdays.

Experience Community wheelchair skills class at Spa Fields, Slaithwaite - Carl Murray.

“We do skills both inside and outside so people can put them into practice.

“It’s about increasing people’s confidence.

“Some of the skills can seem quite scary at first, like balancing on your back wheels to get down a kerb, but they are vital skills.

“I get people to try wheelies out inside, with a volunteer behind them at first until they feel stable.

“People get scared at the thought of doing something like that so it can lead to them feeling like they’re locked in their houses.

“We’re doing it because some seem to be given wheel chairs but not told how to use them, which is ridiculous as they need to get about.”

It is the newest course put on by Experience Community, who also offer rambling day trips across the north amongst other activities and support.

Experience Community wheelchair skills class at Spa Fields, Slaithwaite - Managing Director Craig Grimes (right).

“There’s a recognised national need for this training”, said Craig Grimes, managing director.

“And we’re pioneering it in Kirklees in the hope that lots of people will want to undertake it.

“Dave and I were in the Pinderfields Spinal Unit at the same time in the late 1990s and we got rehabilitation to learn how to use wheelchairs there.

“They forced us to practice skills every day which meant that we were prepared for whatever.

“It’s not offered as much now, I think this change is probably around increased aversion to risk and past claims by people who had accidents.

“Whizz Kids and Back Up Trust offer skills training but the former work with young people and the latter with those who’ve had spinal injuries.

“Our remit is much broader.

“We’re putting on more courses while we have the funding but if we can demonstrate there’s a need for it by people coming along then we will re-apply for it.

“I want to eventually be able to roll out this training to neighbouring councils.”

Anyone who would like to attend the next course should email or phone Craig on 07958 591841.

"The benefits are mind blowing"

They have been reaping the benefits of wheelchair advice.

Clare Foard, 35, is one of the learners who after completing it she hopes to get a new chair.

“It’s been such a big help and has turned everything around for me.

“I feel with the skills I will be able to live life to the full.

Experience Community wheelchair skills class at Spa Fields, Slaithwaite - Claire Foard with instructor Karl Osborne.

“Afterwards I’m going to apply to get a new chair as I’ve realised the one I was given is not suitable for me.

“I’ve been using a chair for two years but I’d built up bad habits and became scared.

“I felt trapped and couldn’t do the things I wanted like gardening, going out and meeting friends or even going to my local library.

“I wanted to go rambling with the group but knew I needed more confidence.

“It’s things like learning where to put my body weight to get over obstacles that helps.

“There’s no reason why it should be hard to get around in Huddersfield, it’s just about having the knowledge and confidence to get about.

“The course is such a big help but I don’t think a lot of people know about it.”

Carl Murray, 42, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and lives with his son.

“The benefits are mind blowing.

“Before, I was house bound for five years.

“It’s nice to come somewhere and get to know everybody and it’s given me more ability to go out now.”