THE UK Government has awarded £1.5m of funding to a mobility charity as part of a support package for disabled people.
The Government yesterday announced the package – worth £2.5m in total – in a drive to help the disabled community travel more confidently.
A bumper £1.5m of this has been awarded to Driving Mobility, the national charity that coordinates driving and mobility assessment centres across the UK.
This follows Driving Mobility’s pilot of its ‘HUBs’ accessible travel information service, which the charity is now hoping to expand on with its newfound funding.
Yesterday’s official announcement from The Department for Transport read: “The Government has today announced a £2.5m package to support disabled people travel more confidently on our transport network as it reopens after Covid.
“The new funding will include £1.5m allocated to support all 13 Driving Mobility Centres across England roll out a ‘HUBs Mobility Service’.
“These vital services help people stay mobile after they have been advised to stop driving or if they are unable to learn to drive due to their disabilities, offering them advice on alternatives such as powered wheelchairs, community transport and local services.
“The HUBs have been successfully piloted at seven of the Driving Mobility Centres over the last two years and have already helped over 4,000 people regain and retain confidence to travel.
“The real-life benefits of staying mobile were highlighted in the Inclusive Transport Strategy which sets out the link between reduced mobility and access to transport with loneliness and social isolation.”
Wendy Morton, Accessibility Minister, said: “This funding will help people travel with confidence and comes just in time as our nation rebuilds from Covid.
“We want to help everyone to be mobile and these vital HUBs Mobility Services will provide life-changing travel advice keeping people connected to their friends, work and support networks.”
Driving Mobility is supported by the Department for Transport and provides a range of services including ‘fitness to drive’ assessments from its nationwide centres.
Led by Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors, these services strive to facilitate personal mobility and driving independence for clients mostly signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and the NHS.
If driving is not a viable option for clients, its new HUBs service offers impartial advice on transport alternatives such as community transport and accessible bus, coach, rail and plane travel.
Driving Mobility can advise clients on accessible venues and locations along with lifestyle choices and inclusive activities.
Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement which ensures our HUBs service can now evolve to the next level.
“Our team has proven with the latest accurate information and expert knowledge, that we can successfully guide individuals back to safe and appropriate transport options, without needing a car.
“The UK Government recognises that inclusion, equality and accessibility are vital to strengthening everyone’s well-being as we exit the pandemic – our centres are proud to underpin this commitment.”