The Motability Scheme began in the UK in 1977 and has gone from strength to strength. In the early 1970s, only disabled people who could drive themselves received help with transportation from the government, and this was normally in the form of a small blue trike that couldn’t take passengers. When Motability was founded, it gave back a great deal of independence to many people who were – until that point – housebound for long periods and reliant on others for mobility. Lord Goodman, one of the scheme’s founders, said of motability: “It is the most successful achievement of my career and the most fortunate thought that ever came into my head.” Since inception, Motability has helped three and a half million disabled people to obtain a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.
What does Motability mean?
In 1976, the government introduced a new Mobility Allowance, a cash benefit to allow recipients to choose the best means of getting around, whether on a mobility scooter, using a taxi or driving a car. The problem was, the allowance was not enough to buy or run even the smallest, cheapest cars. Lord Goodman came up with an idea for how disabled people could obtain a vehicle economically using their allowance, and that idea was Motability. Motability was set up as charity to raise funds, make grants and provide complete mobility packages so that disabled people could lease vehicles affordably. Today the scheme has 600,000 customers, and many major car companies are involved in it. One of them is Ford, which prides itself in its extensive Ford Motability car range and the fact that one in five Motability cars are Ford models.
In 2003, the Motability Scheme celebrated its 25th anniversary by having a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. A Motability car was featured in the garden to symbolise the ability of disabled people to access the most secluded corners of the countryside thanks to the scheme.
What vehicles are available?
You might at first assume that the range of car options for Motability customers is limited. But thanks to Motability’s huge success over the decades, major carmakers have made virtually all of their popular models available to Motability customers in adapted forms. These include the latest models from Ford: the new Ford Focus, Galaxy, C-Max, S-Max, Mondeo, B-Max, Kuga, Tourneo and Fiesta. All models come with a vast repertoire of features, such as servicing, maintenance and repairs, RAC breakdown assistance and insurance and accident cover. Ford Motability facilities are available at dealerships in Andover, Dorchester, Taunton, Poole and Yeovil.