Driving Mobility Archives - Driving Mobility

The Big Event – Harrogate – Yorkshire Event Centre Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2024

Motability events are the perfect way to find out everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme and to see the latest vehicles available. You can also see WAVs, adaptations, powered wheelchairs and scooters, and get lots of expert advice.

The Big Event – Edinburgh – The Royal Highland Centre, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September 2024

Motability events are the perfect way to find out everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme and to see the latest vehicles available. You can also see WAVs, adaptations, powered wheelchairs and scooters, and get lots of expert advice.

The Big Event – Exeter, Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June 2024

Motability events are the perfect way to find out everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme and to see the latest vehicles available. You can also see WAVs, adaptations, powered wheelchairs and scooters, and get lots of expert advice.

The Big Event – Birmingham, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May 2024

Motability events are the perfect way to find out everything you need to know about the Motability Scheme and to see the latest vehicles available. You can also see WAVs, adaptations, powered wheelchairs and scooters, and get lots of expert advice.

Chiara’s ‘one handed hacks’ aim to help other drivers who have experienced a stroke

Recently featured on the BBC, Driving Mobility client Chiara Beer, 27 from Winchester, is publishing ‘one handed hacks’ to help people drive after experiencing a stroke.

Recently featured on the BBC, Driving Mobility client Chiara Beer, 27 from Winchester, is publishing ‘one handed hacks’ to help people drive after experiencing a stroke.

 

Chiara is a busy and positive individual who works for her father’s cereal bar business ‘Boka Food’. Her job involves a variety of roles including packaging and managing the company’s social media. Being able to drive to work and for social time is essential for Chiara. Without this she would not be independent and would have to rely on mum and dad for lifts all the time. As a keen swimmer, Chiara spends a lot of time at the local sports centre so freedom to go whenever she wants is important for her mental health and well-being.

 

Chiara experienced a stroke aged two which developed into dystonia and hemiplegia, affecting the mobility and strength of her right side. Therefore to drive, Chiara needs vehicle adaptations so she can steer and control with her left hand and left foot. When she decided to start learning to drive at 17, Driving Mobility were instrumental in signposting her in the right direction in terms of specialist tuition and vehicle adaptations. Without the clinical assistance of the West of England Driving Mobility centre, Chiara would not have been able to pass her test and go on to driving independently.

 

Chiara picks up the story: “I spoke to my GP about the possibility of driving so he wrote to the DVLA. They said I needed to go to a Driving Mobility centre for a driving assessment. The nearest one to us was the one in Bristol so I went along. The staff there were amazing, so friendly. An Occupational Therapist and Approved Driving Instructor took me through some basic health and mobility checks and then I got to try various driving controls around the car park. They recommended a steering ball with secondary controls and a left foot accelerator. Now I knew what I needed, I just had to pass my test. They signposted me to an instructor who specialised in lessons for drivers with disabilities. It took me 2 years and three attempts to pass, but I got there in the end which is the main thing!”

 

Chiara drives with a Lodgesons steering ball which encompasses buttons that control secondary functions such as lights and indicators. This detachable ‘lollipop’ uses wireless Bluetooth technology and can be easily removed if standard steering control is preferred. Her ‘twin flip’ accelerator pedal again can be quickly adjusted for either left or right foot control. This means the rest of her family can use her automatic car without any adaptations.

 

Today, driving is second nature for Chiara – she is confident and at ease behind the wheel. She freely admits driving on her own was quite daunting in the beginning, but her concerns faded over time.

 

As she volunteers for ‘Different Strokes’, a charity that supports younger people affected by stroke, her story was sent to the BBC by their press team. Newsbeat took interest in Chiara’s ‘one handed hacks’ video series which featured advice on putting up hair, applying make-up, cutting food and wearing jewellery. She followed this with YouTube videos showing how she drives using one arm. Chiara plans to continue publishing advice reels for people with restricted mobility or limbloss, and hopes to support Driving Mobility in some way in the future.

 

In conclusion Chiara says: “To all fellow people with disabilities learning to drive, don’t give up, your perseverance will pay off! Some days I thought I would never do it, but I did. The support and reassurance I received from my instructor and Driving Mobility definitely helped.”

 

#MyDrivingMobility

DriveAbility Scotland’s assessment centre is helping Scottish disabled drivers get back behind the wheel.

Based in Glasgow and helping to keep disabled people mobile, DriveAbility Scotland is the latest driving assessment centre to open as part of the national Driving Mobility charity network.

Since the centre opened last July a large and growing number of disabled people have benefited from the services it offers. Based in Glasgow, DriveAbility Scotland is the latest driving assessment centre to open as part of the national Driving Mobility charity network.

Driving Mobility coordinates a network of over 20 centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, many with outreach facilities, which provide ‘fitness to drive’ and mobility equipment assessments. Supported by The Department for Transport (DfT), Driving Mobility Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs) guide and support individuals who self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and NHS. Every member is committed to enabling people with restricted mobility so they can remain independent whether driving an adapted vehicle, using assistive equipment or travelling by accessible transport. 

Driving Mobility’s latest centre, DriveAbility Scotland, will now provide services for Scottish people. Previously nearby centres in northern England, could not be accessed due to NHS commissioning rules and the DfT having no jurisdiction in Scotland. The centre has a fleet of dual controlled cars with various specialist driving and control adaptations so drivers and passengers can be assessed and given recommendations. The small specialist team has been carefully selected to offer friendly, professional advice, enhanced by clinical expertise, to ensure the best possible outcome for clients. The opening of the centre has been made possible by the support of Allied Vehicles, the respected vehicle adaptation specialist.

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, is delighted with this new service as he comments: “DriveAbility Scotland represents an exciting expansion of our driving assessments and a first for the charity. We are continually focused on bringing our services closer to everyone, especially as Driving Mobility’s role is now more vital than ever before. We strive to ensure freedom, inclusivity and safety for all with restricted mobility – now possible in Scotland.”  

Charity funded DriveAbility Scotland provides the following services to people, of all ages, who have a disability or live with a life changing condition/injury:

  • Driving assessments
  • Driver/passenger access and seating assessments
  • Specialist driving tuition
  • Recommendations regarding accessible vehicles and adaptations

Gerry Facenna, owner of Allied Vehicles Group in Glasgow, has stepped in to help save the city’s only facility providing driving assessments for disabled drivers. He is donating a total of £7,500 to DriveAbility Scotland, part of national charity Driving Mobility, which oversees all such centres in the UK. “We are proud to have been manufacturing wheelchair accessible vehicles for nearly 30 years, helping to ensure the independence of people with disabilities.”, said Gerry.

“Hopefully this funding, which will be delivered over the next five months, will give DriveAbility Scotland breathing space to look to its longer-term stability”. Gerry’s donation through his company’s charity arm, Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust, has highlighted funding disparities for these facilities in Scotland and across the UK.

DriveAbility Scotland is located at 75 Hawthorn Street, Glasgow. G22 6HY.

Tel: 0141 648 8470 Email: info@driveabilityscotland.org.uk

Leeds AccessAbility returns to give independence to adults and children with disabilities

The William Merritt Centre, part of the Driving Mobility network, is delighted to announce the return of its AccessAbility exhibition so healthcare professionals and people with disabilities can discover the latest in adapted driving, assistive technology and mobility equipment.

The William Merritt Centre, part of the Driving Mobility network, is delighted to announce the return of its AccessAbility exhibition so healthcare professionals and people with disabilities can discover the latest in adapted driving, assistive technology and mobility equipment.

15th June 2022, Centenary Pavilion, Leeds United Football Club, LS11 0ES. 10.30am to 3:00pm.

The William Merritt Centre, also based in Leeds, is an independent charity accredited by Driving Mobility – a national charity supported by The Department for Transport. Driving Mobility co-ordinates over 20 centres, many with outreach facilities, that provide ‘fitness-to-drive’ and mobility equipment assessments. Clients self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and NHS.

AccessAbility will be a fully inclusive event, for all ages, and will include experiences such as:

  • Options and advice on assistive equipment – opportunities to try products which can enhance everyday life and enable greater independence.
  • All aspects of driving including vehicle adaptations, accessible vehicles and a test drive circuit with new and existing drivers in mind.
  • Chill out in the gaming area including advice on adaptations to enable everyone to access computers, mobile phones, tablets, toys and computer games.
  • Specialist seminars offering the latest education
  • Opportunities to speak to Occupational Therapists for personalised guidance.

AccessAbility will provide a rewarding and fulfilling day out for:

  • Children, teenagers and adults with disabilities (14 year+ for the drive test)
  • Parents and carers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Older people
  • Approved Driving Instructors

It offers a unique opportunity to see and try a range of services for people with disabilities, all in one location.

Find out more here: https://www.wmdlc.org/accessability-22-delegates

Book your free ticket here: https://accessability22.eventbrite.co.uk

Driving Mobility ‘Centre of the Month’ QEF Mobility Services in Surrey

Michelle Giles, Centre Manager at QEF Mobility Services in Carshalton, Surrey shares some information about the team, their services and the centre’s history, as they celebrate 40 years as a Mobility Centre this year.

Michelle Giles, Centre Manager at QEF Mobility Services in Carshalton, Surrey shares some information about the team, their services and the centre’s history, as they celebrate 40 years as a Mobility Centre this year.

QEF started life in 1934 as a specialist vocational training college for disabled people.  In 1956 Banstead Place was set up to train those who had been categorised as ‘young chronic sick’ in all activities of daily living.

In 1974 the focus of Banstead Place shifted to becoming a specialist unit for young people of school age with disabilities that needed support with mobility and assistive technology.  Most students were full-time wheelchair users or able to walk only a few steps indoors so giving them outdoor mobility skills was key to them developing as young people in society.

The government introduced Mobility Allowance in 1976, a tax-free benefit available to disabled people who were unable or virtually unable to walk.  Although this benefited people ordinarily considered too disabled to drive, QEF sourced modified vehicles, driving instructors and a safe place to train, and decided to develop its own assessment and training programme.

In 1981, Banstead Place Mobility Centre was officially opened but the service was only available to QEF residents.  After receiving a grant of £10,000 from the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) in 1982, QEF was able to make its services available to the public creating the UK’s first mobility centre in the process.

Their fantastic team consists of 29 staff, 5 contractors and 10 volunteers and Michelle feels privileged to work with them.  They have given advice on all kinds of transport including trains, boats, trikes and even a segway. If it moves outdoors, the QEF team can assess it!!

Their driving school provides practical tuition as well as support with learning driving theory.

They also have the Tryb4uFly, a support service specially created by QEF in 2012 to reduce the anxieties and stress for people with disabilities before and during air travel.  We also have an equipment hire service supported by their fundraising team.

Over the last 40 years they have been able to help a lot of people through providing our services: –

  • Over 200,000 people have been helped with information and advice
  • Over 35,000 people have been assessed
  • Over 30,000 hours of tuition have been delivered through our driving school
  • We have welcomed over 20,000 visitors

The QEF team are looking forward to some new initiatives over the coming year including the Police Fitness to Drive referral scheme, opening of 2 new outreach centres, increasing paediatric expertise and services and the expansion of their equipment hire to name just a few.

If you are local to the Surrey area and want to find out more about how the QEF Mobility Services team can help you or someone you know please visit:

Web: http://qef.org.uk/our-services/qef-mobility-services

Tel: 020 8770 1151

Email: mobility@qef.org.uk

#MyDrivingMobility #DrivingAssessments #DisabledDrivers #Surrey

 

Charity-funded Southampton assessment centre for disabled drivers has adapted car fleet stolen

Wessex DriveAbility, part of the Driving Mobility network of assessment centres, has been left unable to help disabled drivers regain independence following the theft of its specialist fleet of modified vehicles.

Wessex DriveAbility, part of the Driving Mobility network of assessment centres, has been left unable to help disabled drivers regain independence following the theft of its specialist fleet of modified vehicles.

Wessex DriveAbility’s main assessment centre is based in Kent Road, Southampton, with outreach locations in Basingstoke, Salisbury, Ferndown, and the Isle of Wright. Its team of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs), Occupational Therapists and Administrators provide ‘fitness to drive’ driving assessments for elderly and disabled people who self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, NHS, and Police. This charity-funded team ensure drivers are safe to continue driving and provide clinical recommendations regarding adapted driving controls and wheelchair accessible vehicles.

With criminals breaking into their headquarters this week and stealing the charity’s complete fleet of specialist vehicles, Wessex DriveAbility can no longer help disabled drivers or continue to tackle the large backlog of assessment requests caused by the pandemic. All the centre staff are shocked by this theft and have been left questioning why criminals would take such specialist, niche vehicles.

Rachel Odell, Wessex DriveAbility Centre Manager, comments: “Discovering our fleet of cars had been taken during Monday night was an awful shock to all of us. We are so confused with how and why these modified cars would be stolen as they are specially designed and modified for drivers with restricted mobility. We are a non-profit charity which is part of a larger national charity called Driving Mobility and are really worried we might not be able to replace certain custom-made controls we had fitted in vehicles. Now we have no specialist vehicles for assessing, drivers desperate to regain their freedom will potentially have to wait a considerate length of time before we can see them. This couldn’t have come at a worse possible time with the huge demand on our service right now. My team and I are absolutely appalled by the selfish nature of this act which will impact so many disabled people and their families”

Five adapted vehicles were stolen from Wessex DriveAbility with many conspicuous additions such as wheelchair rooftop boxes. The centre is appealing for witnesses to come forward who may have seen any suspicious activity on the evening of Monday 8th November. The thieves broke into the building using considerable force – smashing fire doors, alarms and safes to access car keys. Luckily no staff were on-site or injured during the break-in. Curiously the centre’s standard vehicles were left untouched which adds further confusion to the motive of this crime.

Laura Holley, Driving Assessor and ADI, concludes: “We might be wrong however it appears that the criminals were scoping our property for some time as they knew exactly where to access keys and at the right time. Plus, they must have had some knowledge of adapted driving as our cars were fitted with modified steering controls, such as push-pull hand levers for acceleration and braking ­– these did not seem to hinder them. Our cars were unique and specialist so not easy to sell on as a whole. We hope the offenders are apprehended quickly for this awful crime. In the meantime, we are now 100% focused on limiting the impact on our services as much as possible and replacing our fleet as best we can. When you are so passionate about helping disabled people, it is heart breaking for something like this to happen. As we are a charity, funds and time are always limited so this is a massive blow. If anybody from the local community can help us in anyway, we’d be so grateful.”

 

Driving Mobility, supported by the Department for Transport
As a registered charity, Driving Mobility accredits a network of 21 driving assessment centres covering the whole of the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these centres include independent charities and NHS centres which offer professional information and assessment so disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence.

Driving Mobility ensures that there are common standards, promotes good practice and offers training and education to all regional centres, whilst working closely with associated national organisations. These include the Department for Transport, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Driver and Vehicle Agency (NI), Motability and the Police, along with many other valued stakeholders.

Driving Mobility is privileged to have Baroness Thomas of Winchester as their patron and is supported by HM Government.

For further press information please contact:
Jon Nock
iDIS Creative Marketing Limited
Mob: +44(0)7786 245896
Email: jon@idiscreativemarketing.co.uk

 

#MyDrivingMobility

Driving Mobility to showcase assessment services at Motability’s The Big Event

Your opportunity to put questions, about all aspects of adapted driving, to several Driving Mobility advisors who will be available on a live chat throughout the event.

The national charity Driving Mobility, which accredits a network of driving and mobility assessment centres, will be exhibiting at Motability’s virtual ‘The Big Event’ on 6th and 7th August.

https://thebigevent.motability.co.uk/

Free to attend, The Big Event from Motability will be online this year and provides a unique opportunity to discover the latest options for accessible driving and personal mobility. The event will showcase over 25 car manufacturers, 20 WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) and adaptation suppliers, and 10 powered wheelchair and mobility scooter manufacturers – all providing solutions available through the Motability leasing scheme. Motability provides the opportunity for people with restricted mobility to assign some of their Personal Independence Payments towards leasing of an adapted vehicle or scooter. Alongside manufacturers, the virtual event will also provide access to specialist speakers sessions, Motability advisors and specialists service providers such as Driving Mobility.

Supported by The Department for Transport, there are 21 Driving Mobility centres with over 70 outreach facilities across the UK. These centres include independent charities and NHS centres which offer professional information and assessment so disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence. Clinical guidance, from Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors, provide recommendations regarding fitness to drive, vehicle adaptations, alternatives to driving and driving tuition. Details regarding these services and more will be available on the Driving Mobility stand at The Big Event.

There will also be the opportunity to put questions, about all aspects of adapted driving, to several Driving Mobility advisors who will be available on a live chat throughout the event. An introductory video to charity services and what benefits they offer will be on the stand along with downloadable information.

#MyDrivingMobility #DrivingAssessments #DisabledDrivers #Disabilities