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Southend Road  
All Terrain Mobility Ltd

All Terrain Mobility Ltd.

113 Southend Road, Rochford, SS4 1HX




“Keeping Mobile”
         - talking with Ian, Liz & Rachel Halamandres of All Terrain Mobility
(February 4th 2013)

You will see on the previous page we encountered this business some while back and felt we would like to know – and provide the information for our readers  - something more about remaining mobile when disability, or simply old age, creeps up on us and threatens to shut our lives down. If you visit this shop you may well find Ian, his wife Liz, and their daughter Rachel, all in attendance and as they all contributed to this discussion, we’ll simply refer to them as ‘The Halamandres’ or ‘Hal’ for short. You will find more information on their own website, but talking it through is sometimes easier to take it in than simply seeing facts on a sales page, so here they are ....
Rochford Life: Whenever one drives along Southend Road past your shop, there is this almost confusing range of vehicles outside. What I would like us to do is help people who might, for a variety of reasons, be finding they are becoming less mobile and who are wondering what sort of vehicle they may need to be thinking of getting, to get about.
Hal: Well at the top of the range, if you like, are what are referred to as Class 3 Scooters. They will have lights and indicators and a horn and can do up to 8 miles an hour and allowed on the road and it should be registered with the DVLA and will have a tax disc and registration document, the same as any other road vehicle.

RL: So there are obviously at least three different classes of scooter?
Hal: That’s right. Well let’s say there are three classes of ‘invalid vehicle’. Class 3 are road scooters and Class 2 are pavement scooters. The class 2 scooters go up to 4 miles an hour and don’t have to have indicators and so on. Class 1 tends to just be a manual wheelchair. Class 2 is motorised and under a certain weight limit and, as we’ve said for pavement use, although it can cross roads.  

RL: If I am getting older and wish to maintain mobility when it is clearly declining, what is going to make me decide between Classes 2 and 3?
Hal: Really, it’s about how much you want to do with it. Class 2, we said, is limited to 4mph, pavement use only. Because it is at the lower end of the scooter scale it is generally going to be slightly less comfortable than Class 3. It tends to have smaller batteries and lack suspension but, having said that, you can get some Class 2 scooters with suspension and with lights. If you want to go further afield and have something that will get about faster, you are into Class 3.  

RL: Class 3 are obviously going to be more expensive therefore?
Hal: Yes, Class 3 could be anything from £1500 to £6000, and the difference is simply the same difference you find between a cheap basic care and one with higher quality body, fittings etc. Class 2 tend to be between £1000 and £2000.

RL: Are people able to get grants for such vehicles?
Hal: Not to buy scooters, but you are investing in maintaining or extending good mobility. You can sometimes get a wheelchair through Wheelchair Services when referred to them by your GP or occupational therapist, if you think you need a wheelchair. They can provide fairly standard wheelchairs and power-chairs as well on occasion, but that is for people that need one all the time not just occasionally.  

RL: So what is a power chair?
Hal: A powered wheelchair is a Class 2 or Class 3 vehicle but is distinguished from a scooter in that it is generally operated by a joystick where the user may have use of only one arm; it often has a small wheelbase and is more useful indoors, although it can be used out of doors.

RL: Ah, so there is another deciding criteria.
Hal: Yes, if someone comes in who wants to go out shopping, wants to get out in the fresh air and who is able enough to be able to use a scooter, we would recommend a scooter. But if someone is, say, a stroke victim, or someone has severe impairment and couldn’t steer a scooter or didn’t have the strength to steer a scooter, then you would point them towards a power chair, because they can operate the power chair, literally with one finger.

RL: This can become very clever technology then.
Hal: Oh, yes. The high end power chairs which are prescriptive can be operated even without a finger; there are all sorts of mechanisms for operating them, with your chin for example. We do prescriptive chairs and two of us are qualified in prescribing. Generally, someone who has difficulty in walking – which is usually why someone will have one of our vehicles – will usually have a scooter for getting out and about. If you only want it for getting around, say sheltered accommodation, then you may go just for a power-chair or a very small scooter.   

RL: So from what you are saying, people can really get out and about with a scooter?
Hal: Oh yes. We have someone just round the corner who recently went to Barleylands and back. He goes up to the Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court so, yes, he does get around! Power-chairs have a slight advantage in that legally people have to accommodate them and some trains seem to sometimes be a bit funny about letting scooters on but with power-chairs they have to. You get on with a ramp which you pre-book the day before, for either end.

RL: You refer to someone round the corner. Do you have people who come back to you again and again?
Hal: Oh yes. Of course we encourage regular maintenance of vehicles, once a year for service and safety check and check batteries and so on, but many of our users just drop in regularly for a cup of tea and chat. We do get very close to many of them and always welcome them here, for whatever reason they come.  We feel it is important to be here for them, so provide an ongoing service and relationship between customers and ourselves. We want to do everything we can to look after them in whatever way we can. It’s not just a place to come and buy a vehicle. We love to see them coming back and dropping in again and again. That’s what it’s all about.

RL: Well thank you very much indeed. That has been very helpful and it sounds like you have something here that is much more than a mere shop. Thank you again.   

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