Driving Mobility Archives - Driving Mobility

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

One Big Day, 17th September 2022 – Edinburgh

A Motability event where you can see the largest display of vehicles available on the Motability Scheme. It’s free to attend, with free parking and everyone’s welcome. Driving Mobility is delighted to be exhibiting and a team from DriveAbility Scotland will be showcasing our services.

One Big Day, 13th August 2022 – Harrogate

Motability’s event where you can see the largest display of vehicles available on the Motability Scheme. It’s free to attend, with free parking and everyone’s welcome. Driving Mobility is delighted to be exhibiting and a team from the William Merritt Centre in Leeds will be showcasing our services.

One Big Day, 23rd July 2022 – Exeter

Motability event, where you can see the largest display of vehicles available on the Motability Scheme. It’s free to attend, with free parking and everyone’s welcome. Driving Mobility is delighted to be exhibiting and a team from Cornwall Mobility will be showcasing our services.

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 

 

Thomas regains driving licence following head injury thanks to Driving Mobility

Thomas Marshall, 24 from Shetland, has regained his driving licence following workplace injuries thanks to the support and guidance of a Driving Mobility centre.

Thomas Marshall, 24 from Shetland, has regained his driving licence following workplace injuries thanks to the support and guidance of a Driving Mobility centre.

Thomas passed his test aged 17 and enjoyed all the benefits of independent motoring for six years. However, in 2018 he experienced an accident at work which involved falling 20ft off a roof resulting in significant injuries. As a qualified Joiner, Thomas thoroughly enjoyed his job however his fall changed his life and resulted in his driving licence being revoked. He understood that having a traumatic brain injury (TBI) meant his cognitive abilities would have to be assessed to ensure he was safe to drive. Thomas made a good neurological recovery and his other physical injuries healed over time which led him to seek a professional driving assessment to get back behind the wheel.

Thomas discovered the Driving Mobility network online and as his dad lives in Welwyn Garden City, he decided to go to its centre close by – Herts Ability. Each Driving Mobility centre is operated by either an independent charity or an NHS department – all accredited by Driving Mobility to ensure consistent service and standards. Each centre provide clinically led, driving and mobility assessments so disabled individuals of all ages can achieve greater mobility. The 20 centres, with over 70 outreach facilities across England and Wales, ensure service users are signposted towards the most appropriate adapted vehicles, wheelchairs, scooters and accessible transport. Clients can self-refer to a Driving Mobility centre or are directed from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as Doctors and Occupational Therapists.

Thomas contacted Driving Mobility and following an initial telephone assessment, an appointment was booked. On arrival, Thomas was introduced to his assigned Occupational Therapist (OT) and Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) who completed a desk-based assessment and a 45-minute session in a specialist car. The experience was positive for Thomas as he explains: “My assessment went really well, especially as I had not driven for a year. It felt really good getting behind the wheel again! I didn’t have any nerves once I had met Jane the OT and Driving Assessor, Mark. They were so friendly, and they went through the process with me, so I knew what to expect. It was really rewarding showing off my driving abilities.”

Thomas completed the assessment and following a review of his performance, the Driving Mobility team approved him for safe driving once more. The conclusions of their report were sent to the DVLA so Thomas subsequently received his driving licence back. This positive outcome had a significant impact on Thomas: “I am a qualified Joiner however my injuries means I’m still unable to work. Not being able to drive has also been problematic as I’ve had to rely on people for lifts all the time. The bus service where I live is unreliable so I have no choice. My relationship with my five-year-old son has been affected as he has not been able to come and stay with me. Now I have got my driving licence back this will make a huge difference to our relationship; I will be able to take him to the park every weekend like we used to do.”

All Driving Mobility clients have different needs. This is why personalised assessments are vital to ensure all drivers receive qualified guidance that specifically matches their individual circumstances – resulting in maximum safety and peace of mind on the road. In conclusion, Thomas fully recommends Driving Mobility services however offers this advice: “If anyone is looking to drive again after injury or diagnosis, I’d say this – just try to be patient, it is frustrating having your independence taken away but it does get easier with time. I applied in April 2019 to get my driving licence back however it took until November 2019 for me to pass the assessment. The main thing I would say is don’t doubt yourself, be confident in your abilities and if you’re not sure of something then ask.”

#MyDrivingMobility

Enhanced Driving Mobility website delivers greater guidance on assisted driving and independence

Driving Mobility has relaunched its website to provide comprehensive guidance on all aspects of adapted driving, accessible travel and personal mobility.

Driving Mobility, the charity that accredits a network of driving assessment centres, has relaunched its website to provide comprehensive guidance on all aspects of adapted driving, accessible travel and personal mobility.

https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk/

Supported by the Department for Transport, Driving Mobility is the umbrella organisation that coordinates 20 independent driving assessment centres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With over 70 outreach facilities, centres are individually managed by separate charities and NHS departments – all providing clinical ‘fitness-to-drive’ assessments commonly for people who have experienced a life changing diagnosis. Client can also benefit from a range of other services and either self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motabilty, Police and NHS.

In addition to clinical recommendations regarding driving with a disability, professional advice is available on wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), mobility equipment, using public transport and accessible lifestyles. Healthcare professionals are also supported with CPD training and events. Driving Mobility is regarded as ‘the national voice of assisted driving and independence’ and its improved website now reflects this position of authority.

Driving Mobility boasts the UK’s largest knowledge base in terms of accessible driving.

Its team of Occupational Therapists (OTs), Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs), management staff and trustees, bring together vast experience in assisted driving and accessible travel. This wealth of expertise ensures the new Driving Mobility website is a vital gateway to accessibility for all.

Edward Trewhella, Driving Mobility CEO, explains: “When you or a client experiences a change in  mobility, there is always a need for qualified advice so informed decisions can be made to remain independent. There is a raft of information on the internet however identifying solutions to individual needs can be impossible. This is why our new website has been significantly strengthened and redesigned with extra content – to facilitate easier access to many answers regarding driving with a disability. Add to this, solutions for living without a car, condition specific suggestions and HUBs information, the new Driving Mobility website represents an invaluable tool for all consumers and professionals seeking qualified guidance on personal independence.”

Development of the enhanced Driving Mobility website

This hhas involved input from a large number of staff each with unsurpassed knowledge in their field. The team has included respected individuals, such as, trustee and international transport specialist Ann Frye OBE, BA, FCILT, FCIHT, TPP. Her knowledge has complemented clinical content from leading OTs within the organisation and frontline feedback from centre managers. Managers have also assisted with collating an impressive range of client stories which highlight how services make a difference on a personalised level. This material is available through large clickable tiles for easy access and is summarised in the charity’s recently published professional video. This video has already achieved over 30,000 targeted views in just over three months with high performance recognition from YouTube.

Edward concludes: “With the need for safe, accessible and independent travel heightened by Covid-19, demand for Driving Mobility services will be higher than ever as lockdown restrictions are eased. We now have a robust, future-proofed website capable of delivering the support required.”

#MyDrivingMobility

Ella beats amputation to drive once more with Driving Mobility support

Ella Dove, 30 from East London, has achieved motoring independence once again after experiencing a leg amputation due to a freak running accident – made possible by Driving Mobility.

Ella Dove, 30 from East London, has achieved motoring independence once again after experiencing a leg amputation due to a freak running accident – made possible by Driving Mobility.

Ella qualified to drive a manual car when she was 18 and drove for a few years. However, she moved to London in 2014 and decided not to take her car as it was easier to use public transport in the capital. Ella’s car remained at her parent’s house. In 2016 Ella unfortunately experienced a freak accident whilst running which involved a trip and fall. She fractured and dislocated her knee so badly the circulation to her foot was severed which finally resulted in a right leg amputation below the knee. Ella did not drive for six years until she was guided back to adapted motoring by Driving Mobility.

As Ella lives in Stratford, she decided to contact the Driving Mobility centre nearest to her at Harlow (a satellite centre for Herts Ability in Welwyn Garden City). This centre is one of 20 Driving Mobility centres across England and Wales which are supported by 70 outreach facilities. They provide clinically led, driving and mobility assessments so individuals can gain or maintain personal independence through appropriate adapted vehicles, mobility scooters, wheelchair or accessible transport. Driving Mobility centres are operated by independent charities or NHS departments – all accredited by the national charity Driving Mobility. Service users can self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and the NHS.

As Ella’s physical abilities had changed, her driving licence was put on hold by the DVLA. Hence, she was advised to seek a professional driving assessment so that official recommendations could be gathered and an appropriate solution to independence could be concluded.

Ella spoke to an advisor representing Driving Mobility who initially assessed her needs and organised an appointment with their team at Welwyn Garden City. Ella attended the centre for a driving assessment in one of their automatic vehicles. Ella explains: “I was initially quite nervous, but I really enjoyed the experience and definitely felt myself progressing in confidence and ability as the session went on. The private Driving Mobility test drive course in Harlow is a fantastic idea and a great way to ease back into driving again. I had not been behind the wheel for six years so this reassured me…  especially when driving for the first time just using my left foot for acceleration and braking.”

Ella adds: “The fact that the Driving Mobility team were so supportive massively helped me. I wouldn’t describe myself as a confident driver to start with; I’ve always been quite cautious behind the wheel, so I did feel myself gripping the wheel quite tightly and moving like a snail to start with during the assessment. However, I discovered that my road sense was still there, which was comforting, and driving didn’t feel as alien as I thought it would. By the end of the assessment in the automatic car, I was really enjoying myself and left feeling very proud – it was an enormous milestone for me!”

Following her driving assessment, Driving Mobility concluded Ella was safe and competent to drive an automatic car. This was amazing news to Ella and was a significant result for her confidence and independence. She received her driving licence back from the DVLA with the all-clear to drive a non-manual car with adapted pedals. In conclusion, she offers this advice: “I’d say have courage. Confidence for me is the biggest barrier. So, it was more a psychological push to get myself back behind the wheel than a logistical one. Getting used to an automatic, especially with specialist pedals and using my left foot for everything hasn’t been easy, but the more I do it, the more confident I become. So, go for it! Don’t let fear hold you back!”

 

#MyDrivingMobility