Specialist disabled driver lessons are helping to deliver independence to people at the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service.
As part of the Driving Mobility charity network, The Wales Mobility & Driving Assessment Service (WMDAS) has helped Llandudno’s Shari Elvins, 35, to gain independence through complete support from assessment to driving test.
WMDAS is a registered charity partly funded by the Welsh Assembly Government with four driving assessment centres across Wales.
The North Wales centre is based at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Denbighshire and operates an outreach service at the Montgomery County Infirmary in Newtown, Powys.
Services include driver and passenger assessments that aim to provide safe mobility through the appropriate use of standard and adapted cars.
Service users with restricted mobility can self-refer or are signposted via the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs.
Shari Elvins, a recent service user, has just taken advantage of the service, which has supported her from initial enquiry through to ownership of an appropriately adapted car and full driving licence.
The organisation detailed how this was critical for Shari as she is a regional assistant manager for a well-known high street clothing retailer which involves travel between stores.
Commenting on her experience, Elvins explained: “My time with WMDAS and The Disability Resource Centre has been amazing – they have really empowered me. Driving has completely changed my life, the first thing I was excited to do was my food shopping as I didn’t have to rely on taxis anymore.
“I also didn’t have to live my life around bus timetables or asking people to give me lifts. It has opened up a lot for me work-wise and will definitely help with my career progression. It’s also really nice to give back to all the people who have helped me by driving them drive around.”
She continued: “After a thorough assessment with WMDAS, Tim Cowsill from The Disability Resource Centre came out and reviewed my car – he was amazing from start to finish, nothing was too much trouble and it was all about problem solving which he did very well.
Adding: “Everyone at the centre are just so friendly and helpful. Tim fitted the adaptations and when I picked up my car it just felt amazing.”
Gary Jones, WMDAS centre manager, concluded: “The fact that we can offer a holistic service to adapted driving is a real benefit to people with restricted mobility. They only need to deal with us for everything – delivered by a diligent and caring team. In particular, Bev is a fantastic specialist driving instructor and is a real asset to WMDAS.
“Her experience culminates in a calm and reassuring approach that supports disabled drivers – totally reflecting our overall ethos that is client-centric and understanding. The teams at WMDAS and The Disability Resource Centre are delighted with Shari’s outcome and to hear how much driving has already changed her life. This is why we take pride in the services we deliver and wish Shari well with her future plans.”