Mark Boss has been able to maintain strong mental health and positive wellbeing during the lockdown thanks to his allotment and TGA Vita X.
Once a busy HGV driver, Mark had to take early retirement due to ill health and now lives with blood pressure problems. As his walking capabilities are limited, Mark has owned a mobility scooter to remain independent. His most recent scooter, a rugged Vita X, has opened up new opportunities for him to explore his local countryside, go fishing and tend to an allotment 200 yards from his home.
“When I was first offered space on the allotment, I really wanted to go for it but wasn’t sure I could manage it,” he said. “I decided in the end to take half a plot which was the best decision I ever made, especially as my family and allotment friends all helped me get going. They all rallied round to cut down thick weeds, repair the shed, build raised beds, plants to get going and spaced out the beds so I can drive my scooter in between them.”
As Mark’s Vita X is designed for off-road use, he has been able to access the plot without the support of his wife. This independence has resulted in plentiful harvests of carrots, red onions, tomatoes, spring onions, lettuces, leeks, rhubarb, strawberries and more.
“My Vita X is a big and beautiful scooter that allows me to drive from my house to the allotment – without it I would be lost, especially during the lockdown,” he said. “I use it to go out for one hour a day and keep my distance, as we all do on the allotment these days. We’re still a sociable bunch and keep chatting while sticking to our own plots. Being able to grow fruit and veg independently is so therapeutic for me and has helped me reach a good place in my head.”
It is this aspect where the Vita X and allotment have really produced the goods for Mark. “Being able to remain mobile has massively helped my mental health,” he said. “Previously I took a turn for the worst when my illness was bad in the early days. The charity Mind were so supportive of me when I had shut myself away. I was like this for a few years until my wife convinced me to get a mobility scooter. My Vita X is stable and comfortable – its motorcycle suspension is awesome.”
“Having a large scooter is great for me as I get nerve pain and cramps - so need to stretch out my legs,” he continues. “Also, it’s not so good for me to be upright all day however with the Vita’s reclining seat, I can put my feet up and recover. The chair is really supportive for my bad back and swivels so I can tend to my raised beds without twisting or bending over. I’ve even customised my scooter with a windscreen, car horn, USB socket for my heated gloves and a tow bar for my trailer. I made the trailer from an old folding bike so I can carry all sorts of things such as compost and my lawn mower.”
When not tending to his allotment, Mark enjoys time on his scooter at a local forest. The gravel paths and woodland trails are ideal for his Vita X and even exploring muddy areas have not presented a problem. “My scooter has never got stuck in the forest or on the allotment – even when axle high in mud," he said. "It looks and feels more like a quad bike, especially with its knobbly tyres. Cambers are no bother either as I have never felt unsafe or like I am going to tip over.”
“My scooter is such a lifeline; it has opened up the world to me,” Mark concludes. “I never feel intimidated on it. Its size makes me feel safe and people see me coming, plus I can talk to people pretty much at eye level. They always comment on my Vita X and can’t believe it is a mobility scooter. I tell them scooters are not just for older people, especially when you consider the good looks of my machine. Add allotment ownership to this and you have a winning combination for strong mental health and positive wellbeing.”