Powered wheelchair Archives - Driving Mobility

Driving Mobility and Department for Transport launch pilot mobility retailer training for safer scooter driving

The Powered Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter (PWMS) Driving Safety Assessment training scheme is being piloted to increase training to mobility retailers and distributors, so their staff provide consistent and accredited safe driving guidance to consumers.

Driving Mobility, the charity that co-ordinates driving and mobility assessment centres across the UK, has launched the PWMS Driving Safety Assessment training scheme for mobility retailers, supported by the Department for Transport.

A strict number of free places are available at:

  • QEF, 1 Metcalfe Ave, Carshalton SM5 4AW, 16th and 30th September 2021.
  • William Merritt Centre, Aire House, 100 Town St, Rodley, Leeds LS13 1HP,
    13th and 14th September 2021.

Booking is advised to avoid disappointment. To apply for training on the Driving Safety Assessment scheme, email Driving Mobility at: pwms_training@drivingmobility.org.uk or visit: https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk/powered-wheelchair-and-mobility-scooter-scheme/

The Powered Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter (PWMS) Driving Safety Assessment training scheme is being piloted to increase training to mobility retailers and distributors, so their staff provide consistent and accredited safe driving guidance to consumers. The pilot scheme is free of charge, and combines online training with a half day visit to a local Driving Mobility centre where a qualified clinician will teach the most appropriate way to advise on product provision and road safety. Successful applicants and their respective companies will receive accreditation from Driving Mobility, supported by Department for Transport – demonstrating approved competencies in driver training and reiterating their ethical approach.

This scheme is being introduced as many mobility retailers are voicing interest in driver proficiency training for their scooter and powerchair customers. This is coupled with outdated legislation regarding use of Class 2 and 3 mobility vehicles and grey areas with the law, resulting in a growing need for consistent guidance across the UK. Mobility scooter and powered wheelchair ownership continues to grow and with it the potential for possible road safety issues, however this new scheme aims to solve this issue whilst enhancing the service of reputable mobility retailers.

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, comments: “Ideally anyone purchasing a mobility vehicle should receive training to ensure they are safe to drive. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In response to this, we are establishing the feasibility of a nationwide certificated assessment and training scheme as part of the Government’s inclusive strategy. By receiving this employee training, mobility retailer staff will be more knowledgeable, confident and end users will benefit from a better, safer ownership experience. I encourage all mobility retailers to sign up for this free training to not only benefit from official accreditation, but to steer future safety legislation from the Government. This will not be a barrier to customer purchases, in fact, it will be the exact opposite as your enhanced support of customers will lead to more recommendations.”

Only one member of staff from a retailer needs to complete the course for the ability to train fellow employees in the future. Clinical training or expertise is not a prerequisite, with a focus on easy-to-understand training and once the course is successfully completed, applicants will receive an official certificate of accreditation which can be displayed in retail showrooms.

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Have you heard of Wizzybug? Would you like to help disabled children get mobile?

Designability, a national charity based in Bath, makes Wizzybugs and provides them on a long-term loan free of charge to disabled children across the UK and they need your help to reach more children

Wizzybug is a powered wheelchair specifically designed for disabled children aged between 14months and 5 years. Designability, a national charity based in Bath, makes Wizzybugs and provides them on a long-term loan free of charge to disabled children across the UK, giving them independent mobility often for the first time in their lives.

Annabelle (pictured) loves her Wizzybug! She’s really happy to just be driving around and exploring. Her favourite thing to do is to go as far away as possible from us and looking back and laughing when she sees how far she has got because that is something she is unable to do at any other time!

“She also loves to play hide and seek whilst in Wizzybug with her younger sister Isla. The Wizzybug allows them to play together and chase each other. It’s allowed Annabelle to push boundaries and be mischievous; things which every child should do!

“Designability and the Wizzybug Loan Scheme have made such a difference to us as a family and there are thousands of children out there who could benefit from it – the more people that can find out about it the better!” Annabelle’s mum.

Designability want to reach more children than would be possible if all families had to travel to Bath, where the charity is based – Wizzybugs are already available through two Driving Mobility centres, William Merritt Centre in Leeds, and Mae Murray Foundation in Northern Ireland.

Designability would like to expand, through partnerships with more centres. In this first phase of expansion, they are looking for partners in the East, South and/or Midland regions of England. There will then be further expansion into other regions across England, as well as into Wales and Scotland.

Driving Mobility is excited to support this initiative – so if you would like to be one of the first centres to offer Wizzybug, or have any questions, please get in touch with George Leroy, Head of Operations at Designability at georgeleroy@designability.org.uk

Father praises charities’ free Bugzi wheelchair loan scheme and assessment services for disabled toddler

Two-year-old Olive, born with cerebral palsy, is enjoying her first independent steps with a unique long-term loan of a free Bugzi powered wheelchair following an assessment at North West Driving Assessment Service

Two-year-old Olive, born with cerebral palsy, is enjoying her first independent steps with a unique long-term loan of a free Bugzi powered wheelchair, provided by children’s disability charity MERU, following an assessment at North West Driving Assessment Service, accredited by the charity Driving Mobility.

Her father, Rhys Corkwood, a paediatric Occupational Therapist, says free provision of specialist equipment in this way is normally unheard of, with funding a massive issue in the world of disability.

The MERU Bugzi is a small, indoor powered wheelchair that can be used on any flat surface such as at home, nursery or school. Suitable for children up to approx. 6 years of age, it enables a child to move around independently, play and interact with friends and family, whilst also encouraging learning about cause and effect as they use the controls.

Olive has quadrilateral or full body cerebral palsy following a complicated, premature birth. Low tone means she is unable to sit, stand or walk unaided and lives with tightness on one side of her body. Olive also has cochlear implants to overcome deafness and her condition is affecting her speech.

Rhys says: “Olive had tried a small walker but was unable to step, so my friend, a physiotherapist, recommended the Bugzi to me. I visited an event called Kidz to Adultz North with Olive to trial specialist equipment. North West Driving Assessment Service (NWDAS) was exhibiting alongside Driving Mobility and MERU, which provided a fantastic, hands-on opportunity to try out the Bugzi.”

MERU manufactures the unique powered wheelchair and charitable support enables them to provide free loans to families across the UK; following an application, assessment and a small refundable deposit. MERU works closely with several Driving Mobility centres across the UK, whose specialist staff can provide Bugzi assessments. Driving Mobility accredits a network of twenty independent organisations, many with satellite services, which provide professional information and assessments for safe and independent mobility.

The Corkwood family from Manchester applied online to MERU for a Bugzi wheelchair, which Olive’s father states was a straightforward process. He also explained he could not fault his daughter’s assessment at North West Driving Assessment Service, part of the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. NWDAS began offering Bugzi assessments as a new outreach service in 2019, which complements the Centre’s existing provision of driver, passenger and equipment assessments for the North West community.

Rhys says: “I really valued how uncomplicated this process was as life can be so busy for parents with disabled children – you feel you move from one appointment to the next. Our MERU application was handled quickly and within a month we attended NWDAS for an assessment. It was an additional bonus to have a Driving Mobility assessment centre locally in St Helens.”

“The centre’s Occupational Therapist, Hilary, explained the assessment service clearly and discussed Olive’s medical history and her physical abilities. Olive’s always happy to meet people and the staff were clearly interested in her, so it was a non-pressured, very personal experience. Olive drove the Bugzi, tried different hand controls and played with toys. She was totally at ease. I can’t rate the assessment centre highly enough. We even had a moving and handling assessment with our car.”

“The Bugzi means Olive can move independently for the first time. She practices navigation in a therapy space at home, whilst playing with her sister, 3-year-old Connie. We recently took the Bugzi to a church hall party. Olive loved it – a big, wide, open space where she could move freely and interact with other children. Of course, they all wanted to chase her which was delightful to watch.”

Emma Pryce, Bugzi Engineer from MERU, comments: “Bugzi is a safe, compact and manoeuvrable indoor wheelchair for young children with disabilities. Our loan scheme provides families with access to a Bugzi so that a child can benefit from experience and learning that independent mobility brings. We work with several Driving Mobility assessment centres across the UK, where specialist staff can adapt and tailor a Bugzi chair to the child’s needs and usually it can be taken home on the same day.”

Olive’s father concludes: “Most local authorities wait until a child is much older before assessing for a powered chair, yet the skills that Olive is currently acquiring through use of the Bugzi cannot be overestimated. Learning to move within a certain space, concentration, coordination, independence – these are fundamental skills. A free loan and assessment service such as this, is something I’ve never come across before either as a parent or an Occupational Therapist. It’s a very ethical service.”

For more information regarding North West Driving Assessment Service:  www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/northwestdrivingassessmentservice or call 01942 483713. For more information on MERU or the Bugzi loan scheme visit www.meru.org.uk or email info@meru.org.uk

To find your local Driving Mobility Centre please visit: https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk/find-a-centre/

 

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