Chester Driveability, a Driving Mobility Centre, has received an official visit from the Transport Accessibility Minister, Nusrat Ghani, Wednesday 25th July. The Minister attended the Chester centre as part of a wider visit looking into accessibility, inclusive transport and the specialist services that exist across the UK.
The charity, Driving Mobility, oversees a network of sixteen independent organisations, many with satellite centres, which offer professional information, advice and driving assessments for people seeking assistance with mobility. All centres are staffed by Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors. Chester Driveability, based in Upton, Chester, has been operating for over a year and offers services to residents in Cheshire and the Wirral. Due to high demand it has recently doubled its assessment capacity to lower the current waiting list.
Accompanied by her private secretary, the Transport Accessibility Minister was shown around by Gary Jones, Chester Driveability’s Centre Manager, who explained the services and driving assessments his team provides. Gary comments: “We were delighted that the Transport Accessibility Minister included Chester Driveability as part of her local visit to ascertain which accessible services exist and how they operate. Chester Driveability offers both driver and passenger assessments as well as advice and guidance regarding driving ability, driving licencing and vehicle adaptation. I explained that we look at the physical aspects of driving and assess for both safety and comfort.”
During her visit, the Minister met with Andrea Duckworth, a Driving Mobility service user, who previously visited North Wales Mobility & Driving Assessment Service to look at options for stowing her scooter in a vehicle. Her son, Ben, who has Cerebral Palsy and hydrocephalus, also undertook a driving assessment and subsequently took lessons in an adapted vehicle and passed his driving test at the same centre.
Gary comments: “Ms Ghani drove one of our centre’s vehicles herself, using remote secondary controls and an electric hand-operated accelerator. She was very interested in the many different adaptations available for service users. She looked at a rotating passenger seat, a rooftop wheelchair stowing system and we showed her a range of adapted controls. We discussed the importance of mobility for service users and highlighted to the Transport Accessibility Minister how accessible services, such as ours, are vital in supporting people to regain and maintain independence.”