Free scoot­ers

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

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.

SUP­PLIED

Raewyn Cameron, Wendy Cul­ter and Lew Findlay with the mo­bil­ity scoot­ers.

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