Getting around Palmerston North just got easier for people with mobility issues.
Two mobility scooters have been presented by Enable New Zealand to the City Council exclusively for their use.
Available free of charge from the council customer services centre on The Square, the scooters would assist elderly folk and those with disabilities or medical conditions to run errands and shop.
Enable NZ’s Community Disability Support Services manager Raewyn Cameron said she came across the public mobility scooter idea when she visited New Plymouth last year.
Scooters had been made available so people could get around the city’s Pukekura Park and take in the annual Festival of Lights.
‘‘I thought having those scooters was a good idea.
‘‘Two or three months later we had a couple of new scooters left over, and I thought of ways they could be made available for people who were elderly or disabled or who struggled with mobility.’’
Cameron said people could not always bring their scooters with them, especially if they were from out of town, while those with disabilities were usually on a limited budget and might not be able to afford one.
‘‘I approached the mayor with it who said it was a great idea and pointed me in the direction of Lew Findlay,’’ Cameron said.
Findlay, who has the City Council portfolio for seniors and aged care and is the local director of Grey Power, was excited by the donation.
‘‘It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s going to be great for the city.
‘‘A lot of older people have told me they will be making use of the scooters.
‘‘The reaction at a Grey Power meeting was ‘why hadn’t it been done earlier’?’’
Findlay said the idea had been floated at the council three or four years ago but there was no money available.
‘‘So, when Enable made the offer, we grabbed it.’’
He said there was a delay between the offer being settled and the handover in October while health and safety, and operating protocols were worked out.
A1 Wheelchairs had joined the Enable NZ - Council partnership to service the scooters twice a year.
For people aged 18 and over who have limited mobility, the scooters could be booked for up to four hours during council office hours by calling 356 8199.
Raewyn Cameron, Wendy Culter and Lew Findlay with the mobility scooters.