RDAC Driving Assessment centre Archives - Driving Mobility

New accessible transport Hubs information service delivers lifeline to East Riding Stroke survivor Maureen

A stroke survivor from the East Riding, unable to leave home for over a year following a stroke, can finally enjoy “life-changing” days out thanks to guidance from the new RDAC Hubs service, part of Driving Mobility.

A stroke survivor from the East Riding, unable to leave home for over a year following a stroke, can finally enjoy “life-changing” days out thanks to guidance from the new RDAC Hubs service, part of Driving Mobility.

Maureen (81) and husband Colin, (82), from Hessle, were an active couple enjoying days out and trips abroad, including in their VW Campervan. In 2018, a stroke left Maureen unable to walk, whilst as her caregiver, Colin’s health also deteriorated.

Daughter Rachael (50) said:  “It has been a very tough time. Mum was stuck in the house and unable to get out for almost a year and my parents effectively lost their independence and social interaction. I really wanted to allow them quality time outside of the house, as they were so isolated. However, Mum can’t walk following her stroke, she is catheterised and has poor cognition, (she also has Hydrocephalus) so it isn’t easy to manage trips out. Using public transport is all but impossible. I commute and work full time and I can be tired if I’ve been up throughout the night with Mum. I despaired of finding a solution. Then I met Kirsty from RDAC Hull, which was a real turning point.”

Kirsty Flint is a specialist Occupational Therapist in Driving Assessment at RDAC. RDAC is part of the charitable Driving Mobility network of assessment centres which provide support and guidance for disabled and older drivers and those seeking personal independence. She is also Community Mobility Coordinator of the centre’s new Hubs Project which advises on accessible transport – including local bus and community transport through to accessible train and plane travel.

Having met Rachael at a Stroke Educational Programme, Kirsty was able to reassure her that solutions were available. Amongst other information, Kirsty signposted the family towards local charity Motorvation, in South Cave, which provides accessible transport and days out to locations of their choosing.

Rachael said: “It has been a ray of sunshine and a link to normality for all of us. I can’t explain it any other way. Motorvation collects us in a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) and takes us to venues that are disabled friendly and accessible. Our first trip to Shibden Hall in Halifax was perhaps a little ambitious, so we have organised visits closer to home, including to Ledsham, near Leeds and the marvellous ‘Sistine’ exhibition in Hull Minster recently.   It’s been great to be able to take my parents outside of the house and the trips give us all something to look forward to. I’m really very grateful to Driving Mobility’s RDAC centre and Motorvation for making this possible. It has made a significant difference to my family’s health and well-being.”

Kirsty Flint comments: “The national Driving Mobility centres deliver excellent services including adapted driving assessments. With the launch of Hubs, seven centres including RDAC now also provide wider transport guidance. Hubs services include free information so individuals can remain independently mobile without use of a car and we can signpost people to local services, such as Motorvation. I believe our new offering will enable more people to retain or regain social activities within their community through access to essential and accessible transport information.”

For information regarding the RDAC Hubs Project contact:
Kirsty Flint, Community Mobility Coordinator (HUBS Project)
Specialist Occupational Therapist in Driving Assessment (RDAC Hull/Scunthorpe)
Telephone: 0300 300 2240. Email: hubs@rdac.co.uk

Mayor and Mayoress ceremonially begin construction of new RDAC assessment centre for Midland’s disabled drivers

Alongside many stakeholders and associates, Councillor Stuart Davis and Mrs Sarah Walker have officially begun construction of the new RDAC disabled driving assessment headquarters in Hampton in Arden, part of the national Driving Mobility network.

Alongside many stakeholders and associates, Councillor Stuart Davis and Mrs Sarah Walker have officially begun construction of the new RDAC disabled driving assessment headquarters in Hampton in Arden, part of the national Driving Mobility network.

RDAC is an independent charity with driving assessment centres located centrally within the UK. Its Birmingham headquarters will relocate to these new flagship Solihull premises when construction is completed in early 2020. RDAC is accredited by the nationwide charity Driving Mobility which is regarded as the national voice of assisted driving and independence. Driving Mobility oversees twenty independent organisations, similar to RDAC, which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability.

Councillor Stuart Davis, Mayor of Solihull, commented: “I am honoured to perform this ceremony today and are delighted that RDAC have chosen Solihull as their new home. The location is ideal in terms of accessibility and we look forward to seeing how this new centre helps disabled individuals from across the local area gain more independence.”

The ceremony was well attended by representatives from various organisations who are responsible for the design, construction and delivery of Driving Mobility’s latest RDAC centre. Alongside the Mayor and Mayoress, attendees included:

  • Sue Rogers MBE, Manager for the Mobility Centres of England, Accessibility Policy Team, Active Accessible Travel, Department for Transport
  • Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility
  • Colin Barnett, CEO, RDAC, and RDAC colleagues
  • John Bridgewater, Commercial Manager, Mossvale, and colleagues
  • Neil Chadwick, Client Relations Manager Charities, CAF Bank
  • Mark Emeny, Director, Emeny Turley Partnership Limited
  • Nicholas Barlow, Managing Director, Packington Estate Enterprises Limited, and colleagues

The new RDAC centre in Solihull will serve people throughout the Midlands and will be operated by a team of qualified ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors), Occupational Therapists and Administrative Staff. This team will be focused on maximising road safety through clinical recommendations regarding appropriate adapted vehicles and specialist driving controls.

Colin Barnett, Chief Executive of RDAC comments: “Today, the team and I are feeling ecstatic that construction of our new headquarters has begun. We would like to thank everyone involved with making this happen. This milestone has taken several years to achieve however we can all look forward to helping more individuals gain driving freedom with additional capacity and extra services. Our relocation from central Birmingham has been the result of HS2 however our new premises will be situated in a more relaxed and calming rural atmosphere. We believe this will add value to the client experience resulting in greater confidence and clarity during the assessment process. Overall this scenic location will be better for everyone.”

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, concludes: “The latest RDAC centre will be absolutely fantastic especially as it is purpose built for our services. An undercover all-weather area for vehicle assessments, an adjoining closed road for test drives, calming ambience and excellent transport links – it couldn’t be better. The facilities will be such an improvement on RDAC’s previous headquarters and will provide the perfect base to develop more outreach centres across the Midlands. I concur with Colin in thanking all concerned.”

Driving Mobility’s RDAC Salford assessment centre enables Diana to get back behind the wheel

Overcoming her health challenges, Diana, has regained invaluable driving independence through the support of the new RDAC Driving Assessment centre in Salford

Overcoming her health challenges, Diana Whittaker from Sale, has regained invaluable driving independence through the support of the new RDAC Driving Assessment centre in Salford, Manchester.

The charity, Driving Mobility, accredits a UK network of twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford serves people from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire with assessments and practical advice for older and disabled drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users.

Diana lives with a variety of health issues including Cerebral Palsy, which in particular affects her limbs, and Osteoporosis. She has pins in her lower spine, a hip replacement and has experienced cancer twice. Due to health changes and deteriorating mobility, Diana found that she could no longer drive her Motability car with ease or in comfort, which subsequently led to a decrease in driving ability and confidence.

Diana comments: “I can walk short distances but as the strength in my lower limbs and knees has decreased, I find I am now more wheelchair reliant. Unfortunately, over the years, I gradually stopped driving as my vehicle adaptations did not suit my altered health requirements and were not providing suitable assistance. My husband and daughter have been very supportive in driving me around. However, I recently decided that if I could update my vehicle adaptations and return to driving, then it would take some of the pressure away them.”

After researching with her daughter, Diana discovered the organisation Driving Mobility and applied for a referral via Motability. In due course, a driving assessment was arranged, in May 2018, at the newly opened RDAC centre in Salford.

Diana comments: “I was very organised and prepared everything in advance that I could think of. I contacted the DVLA to inform them of changes to my health and upgraded my licence to the photo version. I also made sure when I went for my assessment that I took my driving glasses, pip award and lists of medication. On the day I was very nervous as I hadn’t driven for nearly ten years. However, being welcomed by Sean Barratt, RDAC’s Assessment Team Manager, as well as John Allen, Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and Rebecca King, Occupational Therapist soon set me at ease. The interest they showed in my needs and abilities really reassured me. I received a medical assessment and we discussed my general mobility. They really wanted to understand my true range of movement and strength so that they could help me in the most effective way.”

The Centre staff accompanied Diana for a short driving assessment and then recommended she try a variety of vehicle controls and adaptations that might make driving easier, including an over-ring accelerator and push-brake through to various cushions to enhance seating comfort.

Diana comments: “John and Becky didn’t just assess my driving – they assessed how parts of my body moved, such as my shoulders and arms. They seemed to know exactly what I needed and constantly checked how I was feeling. It was very much a slow and steady pace whilst I familiarized myself with the controls and driving but overall, I felt really safe. I was thrilled to be able to trial so many adaptations, particularly the over-ring accelerator as I had previously been unsuccessful in finding anywhere to try one.”

Diana received two assessments at RDAC followed by six lessons paid for by Motability. She was provided with feedback and reports from Driving Mobility which she used to keep the DVLA and Motability up to date with her progress. The reports also recommended the adaptations and controls that Diana would require on an automatic vehicle to enable her to return to driving effectively.

Diana concludes: “I am delighted to report that I am now back behind the wheel! I am continuing with a few more lessons to build up my road confidence but I am very much enjoying driving my new Nissan QashQai which has been adapted by Motability. I use a Guido Simplex over-ring, an electric handbrake as well as a push brake and four-way hoist – all recommended by the RDAC team.  I really want to emphasise how friendly and encouraging they have been. I haven’t felt any pressure or panic throughout. So few mobility organisations offer these services – you might be able to find someone to demonstrate a push-pull knob but trialling an over-ring is another thing. I can’t thank RDAC enough for the opportunities, feedback and advice I have been given. They have some of the best people I have met – a true dream team!”.