Posted 13.04.2021

NOTE: This scheme is for disabled people who don’t qualify or meet the conditions of the Motability Scheme. Also in order to qualify a person has to be on a means tested benefit (click here for list of benefits).

Motability, a national disability charity, has awarded Driving Mobility grant funding of £50,000 to pilot a new Driving Assessment Grant Programme (DAG) for disabled drivers who do not currently use the Motability Scheme. This will offer financial support to those who qualify for the pilot, to use the services available at Driving Mobility centres - including The Northern Ireland Mobility Centre operated by Disability Action.

Supported by the Department for Transport, Driving Mobility is the national charity which accredits over 20 driving assessment centres across the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these centres are managed by NHS departments and independent charities so clients with restricted mobility have access to all they need to get behind the wheel. Occupational Therapists, Approved Driving Instructors and support staff provide a comprehensive range of services including fitness-to-drive assessments following injury or diagnosis, through to mobility equipment recommendations and accessible transport advice. Disabled clients seeking independence either self-refer or are signposted from organisations such as the DVLA, NHS, or the Police.

The Driving Assessment Grant Programme will help to provide driving assessments, vehicle adaptations and familiarisation lessons on a pilot basis to approximately 50 disabled drivers in receipt of a qualifying means-tested or disability-related benefit. Through the Driving Mobility centres, Assessors can clinically recommend the most appropriate driving controls which can include adaptations to steering wheels, pedals, seating and secondary controls. With the right equipment, motorists can drive safely and comfortably with a vast range of medical conditions such as a stroke, MS, Parkinson’s, spinal injury and limb loss. Once fitted, drivers can benefit from lessons to build competency and confidence as they learn to drive in a different way.

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, explains:

This new funding from Motability will open up even more opportunities for disabled drivers through our specialist services. Driving Mobility has always been fully committed to helping everyone gain independence safely. However, if clients have faced financial challenges, then we have been unable to help. This new pilot means we are able to support those who qualify – resulting in less restrictions for us and more drivers living life to the full. Alongside our relationship with Motability, we are supported by the Department for Transport; this new pilot programme fits perfectly with their inclusive strategy.

If clients are unable to afford Driving Mobility services or the cost of specialist vehicle controls, this 12 month pilot can cover costs up to a value of £2,000 per application. In special circumstances, applications over this amount may be considered, however every client is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with each regional centre managing their individual allocated budgets. The pilot programme represents significant news to the disabled driving community.

Barry Le Grys MBE, CEO, Motability, adds:

As a national charity, Motability has a bold vision to ensure that disabled people are not disadvantaged by poor access to transportation. We know that mobility gives freedom and independence, and so we are determined to increase the range and reach of how we can support all disabled people in the UK with the costs of their transportation needs. We are delighted to award this grant to Driving Mobility and fund the pilot as their objectives align closely to our own.

The Driving Mobility Driving Assessment Grant Programme is scheduled to run as a pilot for 12 months and is available to qualifying drivers on a first come, first served basis.

Disability Action is able to offer these assessments in Northern Ireland to anyone who meets the criteria. For more information contact our Mobility Centre Manager Angela Hutchison, Tel: 028 9029 7877, Email: [email protected].