Lucy Edwards smiling at the camera with her cane

Motability Scheme Ambassador: Lucy Edwards

Lucy Edwards is a presenter, influencer, author, activist and now a Motability Scheme Ambassador, keen to spread the word about how her vehicle transformed her life and could do so for many others. In this article with Lifestyle Magazine*, she shares her experience of being a Scheme customer and what her car means to her.

Growing up, Lucy Edwards thought her life would follow a certain path; passing her driving test, going to university, studying law. But at 17, she lost her sight due to a genetic condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti, and everything changed.

“You do not have to subscribe to the norms that society places on you. I do not look to those as things anymore because of the amazing fruitful life that I do have,” she says.

And what a life?! Lucy has amassed 1.8million TikTok followers, 798,000 YouTube subscribers and 195k Instagram followers. And that’s before you even get to her TV and radio presenting career, and her work as a keynote speaker and brand ambassador.

So how did she achieve such success? “When I lost my vision, I felt stranded. I always talk about this line between sighted and non-sighted me. For the first few years of my blindness, I felt like a bit of an imposter in my own body,” she says. Lucy went online to find a community, uploading her first YouTube video in 2014 and before long, having discovered a passion for journalism, she had built a portfolio and applied to the BBC.

There she found true inspiration: “meeting people who were blind, who became my bosses, who were producers on my show, the BBC made me believe I could be successful. Meeting [BBC News Editor] Damon Rose, [BBC journalist] Emma Tracey and then working on In Touch with [visually impaired] Peter White gave me the confidence to put myself out there and understand that I could interview anyone.”

Lucy’s ‘why’

Having gained that journalistic foundation, Lucy’s attention turned to TikTok. She started posting with then-boyfriend, now husband Ollie, in August 2020, and, by the end of that year, she had a million followers. One video, ‘blind girl does her own makeup’ has picked up 20.1million views and counting.

When choosing what to share, Lucy always goes back to her ‘why’.

“My ‘why’ is thinking about all the little Lucys out there. When I’m thinking about my personal brand, about presenting, when I’m working with fabulous brands like the Motability Scheme, I’m thinking, what would a little Lucy know about a Motability car? I did not think a blind person could access the Scheme, so my ‘why’ is to tell little Lucys you can.”

Lucy found the Motability Scheme in 2022, “As a young blind person you think, guide dog, cane. You do not think, ‘one day I’m going to have an Audi.” When it came to choosing her Motability Scheme car, an Audi Q3, boot space for the two guide dogs, one retired (Olga), one working (Miss Molly), was key. She jokes that Ollie calls her a ‘passenger princess’, so she added a heated seat as well as Sonos speakers as an extra, “because I adore sound, it’s my main sense”, and she can connect her iPhone to give Ollie directions via Google Maps, “I suddenly felt autonomous to be the map reader.”

Lucy is based in Birmingham but is frequently in London for work. “With my Motability Scheme car, we are able to go in and out of London with no charges,” she explains. Vehicles used by disabled people are exempt from London’s congestion charge.

“I also film content all around the country. Someone could message me and say, ‘we need you at this postcode.’ I’ve got my Instagram tent in my car, for when I’m changing outfits, all my makeup, my brushes, it’s like a studio on wheels as well as my independence and freedom. And also I can say, ‘do you want a lift?’”

The day after we speak, Lucy has five meetings, she says that simply would not be possible without her car. “Mobility as a blind person is daunting, so you want different ways to get about. My guide dog gives me wings, but my car also gives me wings. I cannot even tell you how much joy that car gives me.”

It’s not all work. Lucy’s Motability Scheme car facilitates an annual break with school friends in deepest darkest Wales, and trips to a special location for her and Ollie. “There’s a little place in Totnes that we have been going to since we were 17. We take the girls (Miss Molly and Olga) for some R&R (rest and recreation).

The car is also important for her guide dogs’ ‘free runs’, “when they get to have fun in the park and be a real dog,” she says. “I take Miss Molly in the car for those because if I take her on her harness on a walk towards the park, she might think she’s going to the park every time we go to the shop. Having the car separates that for her little doggy brain.”

Read the Motability Scheme’s top tips for keeping your dog happy in the car

Becoming a Motability Scheme Ambassador

Lucy says getting the car was smooth and the Scheme itself is stress-free. “I’m such a busy woman, but I do not have to worry about the car at all,” she says. “Ollie’s insurance is within the lease, which is taken out of the high-rate mobility part of my Personal Independence Payments (PIP), so it’s all just done for me. Even when we broke down at the side of the road, we were a priority with the RAC because we have a Motability Scheme car.”

Did you know?

As a Motability Scheme customer, you’ll get access to a brand-new car as well as the worry-free package which includes breakdown cover, servicing, and insurance for up to three drivers.

Impressed, Lucy was keen to work with the Motability Scheme to help spread the word, and now she’s an Ambassador. “It comes back to my ‘why’,” she explains. “I love telling young blind individuals what they are entitled to. I really want to raise awareness.”

The new Motability Scheme Ambassadors are a collection of interesting and engaging Motability Scheme customers with a range of backgrounds, disabilities, careers, interests and Scheme experience. 

The aim to share their authentic experiences as customers and raise awareness of what’s available, how it works, and how the Motability Scheme provides freedom and independence. The idea of sharing this matters to Lucy, “If I can give people who are struggling, or losing their vision, the knowledge to make their life easier in any way, I want to be that resource.”

Meeting the other Motability Scheme Ambassadors has been meaningful. She says;

“I knew nothing about disability until I became a disabled woman myself. Having that ambassador community, and seeing all walks of life making use of the Scheme is really lovely. I did not know you could adapt a car if you have limited mobility in different parts of your body, and you can even have a car if you do not drive, like me. I love being an ambassador, it’s one of the best educational pieces I’m doing, trying to tell people that they can be more independent with the Motability Scheme.”

At their recent photoshoot, Lucy says, “being in a group of like-minded individuals who understand” was a powerful experience. She describes how living with a disability has its challenges but how the ambassadors “see the ability in it”. All are keen to spread the word that, with the right tools and technology, they can thrive. 

As Lucy says: “The Motability Scheme is paving the way to say anyone can be independent. Also it lays the groundwork to understand that we are valid individuals in society. It’s saying, ‘Hey, we are people that need to get to places, we are busy individuals, we want to be seen, we want to be heard, we want to be free and we’re here, we’re available for bookings and work, we are independent. That’s the thing.”

Motability Scheme Ambassadors

The Motability Scheme Ambassadors, who are all Scheme customers, were selected to represent a diverse range of disabilities, backgrounds, interests, careers and most importantly, lived experiences of the Motability Scheme.

Find out more about all the Motability Scheme Ambassadors

Breaking down barriers

There have been many milestones for Lucy; from becoming Radio One’s first blind presenter to her work with haircare company Pantene, where she consulted with Proctor and Gamble (P&G) on the creation and launch of the NaviLens code. This can be scanned from a phone to provide information about a product. “I did not expect to find myself crying in my twenties because I knew the price of a shampoo, but it is a moment I’ll cherish,” says Lucy.

The codes are now everywhere from cereal boxes to train stations, but Lucy is not stopping there, “I do not just want to cater for me as a blind person, I want to be able to understand what all communities want,” she says. “It’s about universal design from the ground up.” As always, it goes back to her ‘why’ and all the little Lucys out there. Whatever might hold them back, she’s aiming to break down that barrier.

*This article first appeared in Lifestyle Magazine.

Lifestyle Magazine

Discover the latest Motability Scheme news with Lifestyle, the quarterly customer magazine. This is available to all Scheme customers and delivered free of charge. You can read the latest issue online or sign up to receive Lifestyle in the post.*

*Only available for Motability Scheme customers free of charge.

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