Help raise funds for a timber colleague’s mobility device

TDUK is supporting a timber industry colleague’s efforts to raise funds for a new hands-free mobility device to make it easier for him to continue his work at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE).

Steve Bertasso is an Assistant Professor at NMITE, where he works to raise awareness of timber construction methods and the benefits of building with timber. Since beginning his work with NMITE in May 2023, he has been involved with delivering the Timber TED courses, which are run by NMITE in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and TDUK.

Steve also has an upper motor neuron disorder and currently uses a manual wheelchair, which can prove challenging during his work taking students to forestry services, manufacturing facilities and construction sites, many of which are not easily accessible.

He has now received a partial grant to fund a new Omeo hands-free device, which will enable him to travel longer distances, access more of these areas and have greater access to public transportation. Steve has started a JustGiving page to raise the remaining balance needed to purchase the equipment, and hopes to raise a total of £6,025.

Steve said: “For me, this new wheelchair means greater freedom and access to the construction industry. The biggest loss for me because of my disability is the lack of access to the work I love. Now, with the support of NMITE, I can share my decades of experience with a new generation of building professionals. Having a hands-free, off-road capable wheelchair means I can still bring students to sites to see and experience the built environment first-hand.

“This device will also help lessen my daily environmental impact. Because of my disability, many public transportation options are not available. Buses still leave long “walks”, electric bikes are inaccessible, and the potential injury from trying to do it all on my own power is difficult. I will be able to charge my new chair with renewable energy and travel greater distances without using fossil fuels.”

If you are able to help donate to this worthy cause, you can find out more and donate at