A Story from the Neuromuscular Centre’s Mobility Event

Gemma and Andrea at a Cheshire and Wirral Hubs outreach eventHaving recently taken on the role of Cheshire and Wirral’s Hubs Mobility Service Adviser, I attended a mobility event at The Neuromuscular Centre in Winsford, Cheshire. The centre enables people with a Neuromuscular condition to have healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. The event was an ideal opportunity to promote the Hubs Mobility Advice Service and make connections with a community that may find the service helpful. I really enjoyed talking with people with a variety of mobility issues and learn more about their experiences, one of whom was Andrea. It was great to hear her story about the support she and her family have received from the Hubs Mobility Advice Services across the country.

Andrea’s in-laws, who live in Hampshire, have recently given up driving and sold their car. It was a big adjustment for them as they have a love of old cars and had always enjoyed driving in the UK and overseas. Unfortunately, Andrea’s mother-in-law is losing her sight and her father-in-law will be 90 this year! Andrea contacted Cheshire & Wirral Hubs for advice, and she was provided with the contact details for the Hubs service which covers the Hampshire area. They were very happy with the advice and support they received, including information about reliable taxi services which they could use on a regular basis.

This inspired Andrea to think of her own mobility needs. Andrea has a neuromuscular condition and since breaking her leg in a fall has been unable to use her mobility scooter or drive a car. Around her house she uses an electric wheelchair, but she had been unable to venture outside the home independently for many, many months. After contacting the Cheshire & Wirral Hubs service again, this time about her own needs, Andrea was provided with information about the local PlusBus service. PlusBus offers door-to-door transport for people who find it difficult to use public transport. They have accessible vehicles, including tail lifts, and their drivers are trained to nationally accredited standards.

Andrea now uses PlusBus frequently. She has become a strong advocate for the service and describes how it has been a lifeline for her, allowing her to reclaim her independence. She says: “The PlusBus Service has helped me regain my confidence. I use it to get to hospital appointments and to travel into Chester city centre. It’s a door-to-door service and the staff are wonderful, very kind and respectful and always willing to go the extra mile. I simply drive my electric wheelchair onto the tail lift which enables me to get onto the bus whilst remaining in my wheelchair. When I went for a hospital appointment, there was another lady on the bus, who also had an appointment.  She suggested that we meet for a coffee afterwards, whist we waited for the bus, which we did! I look forward to my trips on the PlusBus and very much appreciate this much needed service. It’s not just for the elderly, but those with disabilities and long-term health conditions too.”

The PlusBus regularly uses Dial West Cheshire’s Shopmobility Service in Chester as a drop-off and pick-up point. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, the Shopmobility centre offers mobility scooters and wheelchairs for hire, but also acts as a friendly, welcoming, and accessible place where people can wait for PlusBus vehicles.

Whilst at the Neuromuscular Centre event I also picked up other Hubs-related enquiries. I look forward to working with the Centre, Chester DriveAbility and other, local organisations to enable more people to benefit from FREE impartial advice on accessible transport solutions that maintain their independence. The Hubs Mobility Advice Service plays a crucial role to enable Andrea and others to live more active and fulfilling lives.

Gemma Coleman

Cheshire & Wirral Hubs Mobility Service Adviser

March 2023