A new set of plans are being put in motion for a mobility scooter project that aims to help disabled people to get roving around the Malvern Hills. The plan is to provide mobility scooters to allow disabled people easier access to the area, where they may have been denied access before.
The organisers of the project have carried out a routine assessment by taking to the hills riding two mobility scooters on the Worcestershire Beacon, which is the highest point of the hills.
The plan came about when Dr Adrian Burden, founder of the Wyche Innovation Centre, thought it would be good for local residents and visitors who had restricted mobility to have better access the the Worcestershire Beacon.
As the Innovation Centre is close to some of the most popular visitor spots on the hills, and contains the Malvern Hills GeoCentre, and Cafe H2O, it wasn’t difficult for Dr Burden to motivate the centre staff , now named ‘Team Jamboree’, to start raising funds to buy a mobility scooter.
When speaking to local press, Dr Burden said: “The intended route would enable residents and visitors of the Malvern Hills with restricted mobility or a disability to travel up to the Worcestershire Beacon whilst accompanied by a friend or family member. This initiative will help more people access the Malvern Hills and enjoy the fresh air and fantastic views on offer.”
He also commented that there has been enthusiastic support from the Malvern Hills Conservators, the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Disabled Ramblers.
Dr Burden’s team are now working closely with Countryside Mobility, a project of Living Options Devon, who have experience in providing mobility scooters to various attractions in the UK.
The recent route assessment conducted using two mobility scooters to test the terrain was a very important part of an access audit and risk assessment to measure what routes would be suitable for access, and whether anything major needs addressing before allowing the scooter service to be offered.
Following the route assessment, Dr Burden stated that the following weeks would see the project reviewing the risk assessment findings, and looking at recommendations. The team hope their plans are feasible, and will do everything they can to make it happen. More details of the project will be released once the feasibility studies have been completed.
The Malvern Hills has been hitting the local headlines because of the controversial proposal to build a cable car system that would run down the side of the Worcestershire Beacon. The mobility scooter project idea was sparked off in part because of a debate arising from this issue regarding disabled access to the Malvern Hills.
The hills are largely accessible for disabled visitors given the appropriate mobility aids, and the Disabled Ramblers charity have been successfully organising rambles over almost the whole length of the Malvern Hills for years. It has been the aim of the Conservators to keep the hills open to all, so this mobility scooter project will be another very welcome way to give access to the breathtaking scenery and countryside for those less mobile.