The charity Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) delivered a successful mobility open day, offering driver experiences on their private track and displaying a range of adapted vehicles, assistive mobility products and services, to enable disabled people to increase their mobility and independence.
The event was aided by the inclusion of the TGA test drive course – allowing users to build their confidence on scooters by driving over uneven ground and bumps. This was supplemented by safe driving advice by TGA advisors and a screen showing TGA’s ‘see & scoot’ video in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, highlighting the hazards and offering the solutions to everyday driving situations and encounters.
On the day, TGA provided a range of mobility scooters such as the Zest and Minimo Plus 4, so that visitors could benefit from a hands-on experience – either as a potential user or as a healthcare professional seeking knowledge for client recommendation. The benefits of compact folding scooters were demonstrated in relation to car travel and accessible transport while the WHILL Model C impressed several visitors in terms of looks, manoeuvrability and comfort.
Based in Surrey, QEF is a national charity providing expert services that enable disabled people of all ages to gain new skills and maximise independence. QEF Mobility Services is part of Driving Mobility, a network of driving assessment centres which is supported by The Department for Transport. Each of the 20 centres across the UK provide professional support to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. In addition to guidance regarding suitable adapted cars and wheelchair accessible vehicles, assessments can also focus on mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Sue Rogers MBE, Manager for Mobility Centres in England at the Department for Transport, officially opened the event and visited the TGA test drive course to gain more information about mobility scooters. In addition, end users, charity representatives from Age UK and QEF Occupational Therapists all enjoyed the course and felt they had learnt more about the variety of scooters available. OTs in particular were able to enhance their client assessment processes and the QEF team discussed the possibility of further training from TGA in the future.
TGA's support of QEF’s event was timely due to the launch of the nationwide 'Hubs' initiative by The Department for Transport and Driving Mobility. In response to the government's inclusive strategy, seven hubs centres across the country such as QEF, now provide additional information-led services regarding all aspects of accessible travel. Comprehensive guidance on travelling with a disability if using local buses, trains, coaches and taxis is available through QEF along with further advice regarding personal mobility products.