Part of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, QEF Mobility Services is one the UK’s largest charitable providers of mobility advice and equipment for people with disabilities and age-related impairments. Based in Carshalton, it is part of the nationwide Driving Mobility network of driving assessment centres which is supported by the Department for Transport. Each of the 20 main centres, many with additional outreach facilities, provide guidance on assisted driving, adapted vehicles and fitness-to-drive. Occupational Therapists (OTs), Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Administration staff support individuals signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals.
QEF Mobility Services is currently one of seven centres involved with a pilot ‘HUBS’ scheme led by Driving Mobility which aims to provide advice regarding accessible travel, transport and lifestyles. Part of this initiative is to focus on providing solutions if individuals have their driving licence revoked ie. keeping people mobile and connected as per the Government’s latest inclusive strategy. Solutions can include the safe and appropriate use of mobility scooters – hence the workshop by TGA.
QEF team members received an informative presentation from TGA’s Eric Cooper and the opportunity to test drive a range of latest products from this established supplier. Education included a variety of topics ranging from scooter classification, the Highway Code and social prescription. OTs, ADIs and clinicians were able to experience hands-on the TGA Breeze S4, Supersport, Minimo Autofold and the multi award-winning WHILL Model C powerchair.
Paul Graham, QEF Senior Occupational Therapist commented: “We would like to thank Eric and Dom from TGA for taking the time to present to us. Their practical mobility scooter demonstrations and our team test drives provided the opportunity to see and feel the latest technology in action and appreciate how mobility scooter styling has been modernised. We had a new member of staff attend who had never driven a scooter before so this provided the ideal opportunity to understand about speed control and handling.”
Paul continues: “The value of scooters in terms of social inclusion is immeasurable however safe driving and correct product provision is imperative – this is why QEF assessment services are vital. This also dovetails with our Transport Hub programme so we can offer advice on accessible travel with scooters. Amanda Beck, our Transport Hub Project Lead, also attended which was beneficial to the whole pilot programme. TGA’s workshop was a rewarding addition to our educational agenda.”
Eric Cooper, TGA Product Specialist added: “Dom and I were delighted with the positive feedback we received from the attendees at QEF. We were asked lots of questions and the interactive test drive session was a light-hearted experience with an educational purpose. We handed out copies of our new professional’s guide to scooters and highlighted the other signposting material we have in production, including the scooter passport. TGA is fully supportive of Driving Mobility’s HUBS initiative as we believe greater accessibility and social engagement is vital for positive mental health and well-being.”
TGA provides free educational workshops for healthcare professionals so the latest knowledge regarding mobility scooters can be gathered for enhanced assessment processes. In addition, it offers a comprehensive support programme for safe scooter driving awareness days, online advice, driver training and high-visibility clothing. Its test drive course is available free of charge for associated public and professional events and TGA advisors can provide objective guidance regarding the latest techniques to remain safe whilst driving. The test drive course will be next available at Naidex 2020 which will be held at the NEC on 17-18th March.