Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Wheel Chair Accessible Vehicles - Motability Scheme

If you asked a person in the street to comment on the Disability Motability scheme, they would make comments like its a scheme that gives out free cars to people with varying degrees of disability. If you have a severe mobility problem and are confined to a wheelchair as my Hubby is, you would become very exasperated at the fact that this is very far from the truth.

It is true for the cost of your DLA mobility component if you do not need a specialised vehicle you can indeed get access to borrow a new vehicle for 3 years at a time. For that you can get very ugly looking but functional  very underpowered vehicles , such as the Renault Kangoo, various Fiats, Skodas etc just for the cost of the allowance. I say borrow as of course you will never own it.

But should you need to sit beside your driver in your electric wheelchair because of comfort and medical issues, expect to find big problems finding a suitable affordable car. Electric Wheelchairs tend to be taller than manual chairs so maximum headroom is needed which automatically pushes you towards cars such as the Kia Sedona, Chrysler Voyager, Peugeot, VW & Toyota People carriers. All of which come with hefty up front payments starting from £10k up to £35k for the Chrysler. Problem is though you would have to find this upfront payment every 3 years and the car still would never be yours. Guess what, as well, double whammy, if you are that disabled you probably have not got that sort of earning power to pay for it in the first place.  Doh!!!

The scheme does run a grant fund to help out some, but the covenants and conditions are so restrictive to make getting this not worth the hassle of applying for most.

So we have a Motability scheme which is to my mind is not fit for purpose, as though it does help those with lesser disabilities it has no transport solutions for those that are severely disabled and need bigger cars to transport themselves up front with the driver, that do not have enough income or savings to find large sums of money every 3 years. Especially when we have to buy electric wheelchairs and other equipment too.

Only suitable car for headroom we have found is the Kia Sedona which they have stopped making....we cant afford it so playing the lottery only option.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

How to make £64m non claimed lottery ticket help the #disabled

So the £64m Euro winnings was unclaimed.

I would like to make a suggestion as to how it is now spent. I propose the setting up a company called, Constructing  Accessible Social Housing Ltd. This company will build up to 250 fully accessible properties around the UK. Employing a targeted percentage of disabled people in all aspects of the company.

The potential tenants of these properties would apply with evidence as to why they need such a property. All applications will be then vetted before their names would then be put into a draw to have a purpose built home for their specialist needs. All of the people that apply even those that are not lucky enough to get one of the first 250 properties will have a study carried out as to why their housing needs are not being met, where they live in the country so that a targeted campaign can be started by the company to name and shame local authorities and areas that are not looking after their disabled people.

The company would have a teaching remit, to educate local authorities, local builders and local housing associations as to what an accessible home needs to look like. I have personal experience of a local council that thinks disability accessible is an old peoples style 1 or 2 bedroom bungalow with slightly wider doors and a wet room provided.

The Rent collected from the properties plus any other funds that can be gained in association with other disability charities would be used to build further properties and maintain the housing stock.

This would also have the knock on effect of adding a little boost to the UK economy. Building up specialist expertise in building accessible housing, also the company would try and incorporate environmental green technologies in home heating, materials used, recycling of water etc. This would hopefully off set the extra carbon footprint and energy use that the disabled generally need to use in extra space, heating, utility use etc.  Create jobs and generally put the money to very good use.

A measurement of a civilised society is how well it takes care of its vulnerable, the UK could do better !