The start of a new year means many of us will decide to find new ways to exercise our body and/or our mind, perhaps take up a new hobby or even learn a new skill. A Motability Scheme car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) can be a huge help, as it gives you access to opportunities both locally and further afield so you can broaden your horizons.
It might be that you want to meet up with friends in your local community for a bit of yoga, or do something more active like surfing or wheelchair rugby. The Parasport website, developed by Paralymics GB, has lots of information and ideas to help you get started. You can search for local clubs using their postcode search, or try one of the online workout classes that is featured on their site.
You could also check out WheelPower, a national charity for wheelchair sport. They offer a full range of sports and activities available to people with disabilities. They also host online classes and organise sports festivals and various charity challenges throughout the year. Learning a new sport can be a great way to get (or stay) fit.
Achieving new goals is also beneficial for your mental wellbeing, consultant clinical psychologist, Dr Sally Austen suggests:
“Hobbies can provide much-needed structure in our lives. The routines and rituals associated with hobbies aid contentment. The process of learning something new at whatever age and at whatever level is good for our brain function.”
How our customers make the most of the Scheme
You could follow in professional actress Freddie Stabb’s shoes. Freddie has used her Motability Scheme vehicle to get around to her acting jobs and auditions, but you don’t have to be professionally trained to enjoy a creative pursuit. For example, you could take up singing lessons, join an amateur drama club or try out other forms of acting. Freddie explains how she relies on her Scheme car:
“It gives me the essential ability to move around just like people without such disabilities. I cannot simply rely on public transport, as buses only have one spot which is often already taken. Like many others, my car is vital for my independence as well as my wellbeing.”
It doesn’t have to be a structured hobby either – you can use your Motability Scheme vehicle to just get out and explore the world a bit more. There are plenty of ideas for accessible days out on our website, with all sorts of places listed and their accessibility information provided. You can also take a look at The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, which has reviews for over 200 days out across the UK.
If you’d prefer to grow your horizons by studying something new, the new year is also a great time to make the first steps towards that change. One Motability Scheme customer, Pauline, shared her story of using her car to get her to college a couple of times a week for four years, until she earned her PhD in German.
“When I’m driving, it’s the one time in the world when no one knows that I’m disabled. Because for all intents and purposes, I look ‘normal’ behind the wheel of a car. It’s a very enabling thing to be able to drive. It’s given me a new lease of life.”
While we live in a world of home deliveries, many customers simply enjoy using their Scheme vehicle or product to get to their local high street, so they can buy the items they need for their hobbies. For Motability Scheme customer John, that could mean fishing supplies before he uses his car to get out to the fishing lake for a day:
“It’s my sanctuary. If I want to get away from everything, I go for a day’s fishing. I forget about my MS. I forget about everything else. I just enjoy what I’m doing.”
The Motability Scheme provides access to a new level of freedom, and the opportunity to explore new places and take on new challenges. Whether it’s a new hobby, a sport or learning a new skill, it’s great to find new ways to expand your horizons. It can give you greater focus and a new sense of purpose, and that in turn can be very good for both your physical and mental health.
When it comes to trying out a new activity, it’s important to find something you enjoy rather than something you feel you ‘should’ do. When we do something for fun, even if it is improving us in some way, we’re much more likely to stick with it and get more out of it. Spend some time thinking about what you might enjoy and let your imagination run free – often the planning is as much a part of the fun as the actual doing!