A new wheelchair, scooter and passenger assessment and training facility at the East Anglian Driveability's centre in Thetford was opened by Mrs Elizabeth Truss MP in October and the launch event was attended by several dignitaries, the local Police, members of statutory and voluntary organisations, vehicle adaptation specialists and representatives from TGA and other mobility vehicle suppliers.
When a person is elderly or less able, their ability to drive and control a mobility scooter may need to be assessed by a qualified professional. This ensures that they understand their own capabilities and remain safe at all times along with surrounding pedestrians. At the end of the assessment, a report is compiled, for the client who may then, if appropriate, share it with a referring organization such as Access to Work, BLESMA, SSAFA, Motability, Solicitors, Insurance Companies and Social Services. In addition to this current need, the UK Government is currently reviewing the design and safety of mobility scooters, and is focussing on better assessment and training for scooter users. Therefore, East Anglian Driveability's new facilities will become even more essential as legislative changes occur and the ageing population continues to grow.
The Centre provides a team of professionally qualified OT's who can assess for and recommend the most suitable type of mobility scooter for people living in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. When an individual is looking to purchase a quality mobility scooter and contacts a leading, well-respected specialist such as TGA, the professional TGA advisors may now recommend that potential customers visit East Anglian Driveability for an assessment.
Tim Ross, TGA UK National Sales Manager explained, "The safety of our customers has always been, and continues to be, our main priority. Hence we are delighted to be offering free assessments to six potential customers who purchase direct from our Sudbury showrooms or our dealer at the South Norfolk Mobility Centre. Every prospective owner of a mobility scooter has different needs and it is essential that their individual requirements are met and hassle-free independence is delivered. Unfortunately within the current mobility market you have a combination of well-known high street retailers selling products 'off-the-shelf' without specialist guidance and cut price merchants only interested in profit. With the synergy of our trustworthy 25-year heritage and these professional OT assessments, elderly and less able people living in East Anglia, now have a clear choice to remain safe."
The scooter assessments take into account the client's needs, physical abilities and relevant medical conditions that may affect choice of vehicle, whilst also providing instruction in driving and road safety and other considerations such as storage and loading into a car. The new test track at the Centre is purpose built to provide an environment that highlights many aspects of controlling a mobility scooter that need to be considered before purchasing. These include manoeuvring around obstacles, dealing with different terrains, reversing and tackling kerbs. With support from TGA and other local dealers, the Centre provides a range of on site scooters, which can be utilised during the assessment process.
Isabel Coe, Chief Executive of East Anglian Driveability concluded, "My team and I are extremely excited about our new facilities and believe they will make a tangible difference to many people's independence. We would like to thank the many organisation who have made this new facility possible, such as TGA, South Norfolk Mobility and many other local companies, and we look forward to helping people gain confidence on a scooter, remain safe and enjoy their freedom.