Countryside Mobility South WestIntroductionThe Countryside Mobility South West scheme (CMSW) is managed and operated byLiving Options Devon (LOD) www.livingoptions.org, a ULO and registered charity thatexists to ensure people with physical and/or sensory disabilities and Deaf people with signlanguage can make an active and equal contribution in society.The scheme currently covers South West England and aims to greatly increase theopportunities for mobility impaired, elderly and frail people and their families to experienceand enjoy the regions countryside through the provision of specialist mobility equipment.The mobility equipment is operated by partners to members of the public though a serviceuser membership system and consists of all-terrain ‘Tramper’ scooters and wheelchairaccessible ‘Wheelyboats’. The equipment currently provides new and improved access atmore than 25 countryside sites and visitor attractions for use on carefully selected pathsand trails and inland waterways.Since the project started around 600 people have benefited directly from the schemeusing equipment for over 1500 hours. In a recent survey 89% of members reported thatjoining the scheme and using mobility equipment had improved or significantlyimproved their enjoyment of the countryside. First time user feedback from member’sshows a 99% satisfaction rate with the membership system and training provided bypartner sites and other common feedback about benefits of the scheme includes:• Ability to join friends and family on outings• Ability to explore more of sites and enabled people to visit places they would normally be unable to visit.• Improved confidence and wellbeing• Independence and freedomOperation of the scheme
CMSW has established a partnership1 of public sector organisations and privatebusinesses who are working together to deliver, develop and promote the scheme acrossthe region.Trampers are leased to partner sites for an annual fee which covers all start up work/costsincluding; health and safety guidance, a site disability access audit, staff training,insurance, equipment servicing and maintenance, use of all operational forms andprocedures and ongoing operational support from project staff.Wheelyboats are provided through a partnership with the Wheelyboat Trust (WBT) andpartner sites with cash match funding raised by the site or the WBT. Once a boat is placedthe host site takes on full responsibility for insurance and operation of the boat to thepublic in accordance with the relevant hire boat codes of conduct. All equipment providedthrough the project remains the property of LOD.Partner sites charge for the hire of the equipment or ask for a suggested donation. Incomegenerated from hire charges is retained by the host site. All equipment is operated througha membership system which costs £10.00 per year or £2.50 for 4 weeks.The equipment and partner sites are advertised on the CMSW website which ismaintained by LOD. Additional promotion work is coordinated by LOD including socialmedia accounts, press releases and attendance at shows.Supporting and training other ULO’s who wish to establish CM schemes.LOD has developed a robust but flexible operational model for the scheme that can beeasily rolled out to other areas of the UK. 83% of existing partners reported that they weresatisfied or very satisfied with the operational procedures and membership systemsdeveloped by LOD and 89% were satisfied or very satisfied with the way the overall projecthas been managed by LOD.After proving that the scheme works and that there is demand from service users, LOD arelooking for new partners elsewhere in the UK and can offer the following services to anyULO’s interested in setting up a similar scheme:• Presentations to explain how the scheme works, information on potential partners and what work is required to successful establish a similar scheme.• Stakeholder and service user consultation to investigate demand and likely uptake in new areas• Organisation and facilitation of taster days at a potential local ‘host site’ to engage service users, potential project partners and other stakeholders.• Guidance and support in setting up new schemes.For more information please contact:1 Devon County Council, South West Lakes Trust, Forestry Commission, Torbay Coast and CountrysideTrust, The Wheelyboat Trust, The National Trust, Beamer Ltd (Tramper manufactures), Bristol City Council,RSPB, Gloucester County Council, Tamar Valley AONB, Cornwall AONB, Cotswold Way National Trail,Grand Western Canal Trust, Devon Cycle Hire, Abbotshood Cycle Hire, Royal Horticultural Society, DameHannah Rogers Trust, Batsford Arboretum, Exmoor National Park Authority, Dartmoor National ParkAuthority, Tamar Valley AONB, North Devon AONB.