With my mobility becoming worse I had become reliant on my previous car. Everyday stuff such as shopping, seeing my son who lived in the north or just staying connected meant it got a lot of use. However the accident had left me marooned at home, racking my brain on how to get back out on the road.
I was largely dependent on benefits and subsequently had limited cash flow. I didn’t feel comfortable taking a punt on buying a car privately and lacked the capital to buy from a dealer. I had seen a leaflet from the Motability Scheme about leasing new scooters and cars but was loathe giving up the mobility component of my DLA award which would allow me to qualify for it.
As I pondered balancing the pros and cons of joining the Scheme, I started to see it could benefit me. I was keen to give something back to my local community and had recently acquired a volunteer job with a local disabled charity as a form filler. Much of the work was to visit people with severe disabilities at their homes, but to do it would require a car as the London borough I live in is very big.
I knew volunteering could be a stepping stone to something better and the desire to help people, tipped the balance in favour of the Scheme. What with my other commitments and the need to perform for those depending on my work, required not only a friendly face and someone to listen to, but a person they could rely upon.
Achieving those goals was impossible, if I was unable to see my clients because of my transport issues. I decided that a car leased through the Motability Scheme could be the catalyst to bring things together. I visited a Motability Scheme dealership soon after and chose a car using the insurance money I had received for my accident as a down payment.
“I decided that a car leased through the Motability Scheme could be the catalyst to bring things together.”
Whilst I waited for the cars arrival over the next few weeks, I immersed myself in the charity, its mission and core values. I also talked to a number of clients, setting meetings up, ensuring them that all deadlines for forms would be met. When the car arrived I was prepared and raring to go at my new position.
For the next two years I criss- crossed the borough meeting people with disabilities from a variety of backgrounds. It was incredibly rewarding work. Many of the people I met lived with very complex issues but their families and carers were always so welcoming, making me feel at home.
That love made me determined to do my very best for them and in that period I claimed thousands of pounds for them in benefits they might not have received if our service hadn’t been available. It was touching when clients phoned to thank me for helping them find that little bit extra but I was just happy to have done my bit and made their lives easier.
What was nice though was a paid job came up in the charity towards the end of my stint as a volunteer which suited me perfectly – I applied for it and was delighted to be appointed. It would be my first full time salaried job since diagnose of Multiple Sclerosis twelve years before. Inside I was elated, proud to have come out of the other side still able to believe.
In many ways my journey had been forced upon me, resulting in the roll of the dice, but happily it had come up trumps. I still saw some of the clients at events who then started to help me. My new role with the charity was as a fundraiser. Although I never expected reciprocation the bond we’d formed from the form filling meant I had a steady supply of swimmers, runners and walkers happy to support my fundraising activities.
From a little seed not only had I grown but all that effort had seen others grow too – it was brilliant!
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people and their families to access a brand new car or scooter, by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease the vehicle of their choice. Find out more: