5 Places for a Disabled Activity Break in the UK

If you require a fun getaway and want to experience some new activities, treating yourself to an adventure break may be the ideal holiday for you. As providers of high-quality mobility scooters in North Devon, we know how important it is to have the accessibility to an adventure! Here at Essential Mobility, we have selected a variety of accessible sites across the country which are specifically aimed to offer activity holidays for those who have disabilities. If you would like some handy tips on travel, take a look at our blog on Travel Advice for the Disabled.

Exmoor pony in a field.

The Calvert Trust

The Calvert Trust is an exceptional charity who specialise in providing accessible, adventure holidays for everyone to enjoy. There are three centres in total, and these are situated across England in Exmoor, Kielder and the Lake District. The accessible sites each offer a range of activities specialised to each centre and include experiences such as abseiling, kayaking, cycling and horse riding. Here at Essential Mobility, we are proud to know that Calvert Trust Exmoor is located not far from our Barnstaple store. Located close to the stunning North Devon coastline, a more recent addition to the list of activities, Calvert Trust Exmoor now provides one to one surfing lessons which make for an exciting adventure break!

Swans grazing at the edge of water.

CanalAbility

This award-winning charity offers exciting activity breaks for those who would like to experience life on a canal. They host adapted canal boats which can be used by those who have disabilities or special needs. The canal breaks can be enjoyed as a full day out or as a weekend getaway. Situated in Essex, the charity offers journeys through the beautiful countryside belonging to Essex and Hertfordshire along the River Stort and Lee. Adventure trips allow you to steer the canal boat and you can try your hand at managing the locks. Longer breaks will enable you to experience the city of London through the Grand Union Canal. Fully equipped to meet requirements necessary for passengers, the boats are fully centrally heated to deliver fantastic adventures all year round.

East Soar Outdoor Experience

This accessible site can be found in South Devon, nestled amongst a charming National Trust farm, close to the well sought after coastal town of Salcombe. It is home to a variety of activities which offer the opportunity to team build. Whether you would like to make the most of the stunning nearby beaches, have a go at bushcraft, test yourself with problem-solving challenges or cook up a feast with outdoor cooking, there are plenty of options to choose. It is mainly aimed to provide outdoor activities for children with educational needs but can also be accessed by mainstream groups. The accessible site stretches across seven and a half acres of glorious countryside and farmland.

Close up on the deck of a white yacht.

The Nancy Oldfield Trust

Their motto is ‘making adventure possible’, with a stunning site located in the idyllic village of Neatishead on Barton Broad, at The Nancy Oldfield Trust, you will want to indulge in the all the water activities offered here. The site specialises in water based activities including sailing, canoeing and motorboat trips. The motorboat trips soar across the Barton Broad, offering a sense of tranquillity amongst the beautiful scenery and wildlife of the area. Available for holidays over a week or a couple of days, this accessible site is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Woodlands Adventure

Located in the West Midlands, Woodlands Adventure is geared to bringing groups of people together through fun and life-enhancing activities. Whether you belong to a university social group, want to organise a school trip or require a bonding experience for work purposes, this adventure break is the perfect place to make memories and try new experiences. On hand to ensure any necessary requirements are met, Woodlands Adventure is equipped with hoist and slide boards to ensure all guests can have a go at a desired activity and staff are fully trained to support all guests. Popular experiences at this accessible site include paddle sports, a climbing wall and abseiling.

Have you experienced a memorable holiday in the UK? Do you have any suggestions for accessible sites in the UK? We would love to hear about them! Share your experiences with us via our social media channels- we look forward to hearing from you.

Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

On 7th October 2019, Sainsbury’s and Argos announced that they would be introducing sunflower lanyards across all of their stores in the UK. Their aim is to ensure shoppers with hidden disabilities receive an improved experience, as staff and fellow shoppers are made aware of potential disabilities.

This introduction followed a trial in 2018, where the success of the lanyards showed encouraging signs where there were proven benefits to shoppers and employees.

The scheme is intended to reassure and assist customers with hidden disabilities. By wearing the lanyard, staff can very easily and quickly identify a member of the public that may need assistance or extra support.

What are Sunflower Lanyards?

A sunflower lanyard is intended to be worn by a person with a hidden disability. The bright green lanyard is dotted with sunflowers, making it very easily identifiable when worn around the neck and free from obstruction. The sunflower lanyard scheme is supported by various charities, including Alzheimer’s Society, RNIB, The National Autistic Society and many more. Several businesses are opting to introduce the scheme too, with many airports taking positive steps. Most notably, is Manchester, where a Sunflower Room was recently opened, allowing those with disabilities to take some time away from busy departure lounges.

Wearing a lanyard is entirely voluntary, and those with hidden disabilities are not, under any circumstance, required to wear one. Instead, it is an opt-in, whereby those with hidden disabilities or families and friends who are accompanying them, can discretely inform staff that they may need assistance.

What is Classed as a Hidden Disability?

An umbrella term, a hidden disability encompasses a range of disabilities. A hidden disability is classed as a disability that is not immediately obvious to others. People with hidden disabilities may face additional difficulties when out in public, as it may not be entirely obvious to staff members that they require assistance.

Hidden disabilities include but not limited to:

• Epilepsy
• Diabetes
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Cystic Fibrosis
• Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disabilities
• Deaf or blind.

Two heads of sunflowers.

Where Can Sunflower Lanyards be Used?

Although there are currently only a handful of businesses which have opted to introduce the use of lanyards, as awareness of their meaning and popularity increases, many other businesses will likely follow suit. This increase in awareness also means that the general public is becoming more aware of their meaning. We hope that over time, those with hidden disabilities can wear their lanyard in public, and the majority of people will know exactly what they represent. Whether you’re on public transport, at an airport, in the supermarket or the garden centre, you will be able to receive the additional support that you may need discretely.

How to Get a Sunflower Lanyard?

Lanyards are free, and you don’t need to provide any proof of your disability. Simply head to a participating store and request one at either the checkout or service desk. You might want to call ahead to check they have them available to avoid any disappointment.

Will you be opting into the sunflower lanyard scheme? Are you pleased that it has been introduced? We’d love to know what you think of it; get in touch via our social media channels.

If you are or know of anyone with limited mobility, why not browse our range of high-quality mobility scooters? Here at Essential Mobility, we pride ourselves in offering the best service to our customers, where your needs are of paramount importance to us, give us a call and find out how we can help you.

Adjusting To Life With A Mobility Scooter

If your ability to walk reasonable distances is deteriorating, you might be considering a mobility scooter. Using this aid can help you get your life back. You regain some independence, meaning you can participate in activities that you may not have previously been able to. However, going from no assistance to using a mobility scooter can be daunting. So, to help with this period of change, we have put together some top tips on how to adapt to life with a mobility scooter.

a person using a mobility scooter in a park

Ensure Your Home Is Ready for The New Addition

You may or may not require your mobility scooter when in the comfort of your own home. If you only have limited ability to move while you are at home, this could be an excellent chance to walk short distances, to ensure you keep physically active. However, if you do require support at all times, you need to make sure that your home is suitable for your mobility scooter. Some homes are built with wider doorways and entrances, but if your house wasn’t, you will likely need to get them extended. With this extra space, you will be able to move more freely around the property, without having to worry about hitting or knocking anything over. Furthermore, if your property is slightly raised, you will require a ramp so that you can access your home with ease.

Independence is key! So, when it comes to the bathroom, you want to ensure that you have all the assistance you need. Having the correct facilities will allow you to gain that freedom once again and need no one but yourself. Sturdy grab bars are essential in the bathroom. These can help you move from your scooter and around the room with ease. Slipmats are especially important in the bathroom to avoid any accidents because the floor can, at times, get wet and therefore create a hazard. Additional adjustments would include increasing the height of the toilet and also removing the vanity from underneath the sink. These changes will allow you to use the bathroom more freely.

disabled access bathroom facility

The same suggestions apply for both the kitchen and bedroom. First and foremost, make sure that the items you want regular access to are stored in the lower cupboards and drawers. It is also useful to remove cupboard doors to avoid any restricted access. Although rugs and mats look nice, they can obstruct movement when using a mobility scooter; it is best to remove these to ensure you can move around effortlessly. For further information on how to adapt your home, check out our blog on mobility aids to consider for your home.

Keep Yourself Active

When you are limited with movement, it can be tough to remain active. However, don’t think that because you are restricted to a chair that you can’t do some physical activity! It is essential to try and do a little bit of exercise every day to keep yourself moving. Doing this will help avoid any aches or pains. Staying in one position every day can leave your body feeling still, especially your neck, as you are sat continuously upright. A way to avoid this is to do some chin to neck exercise; a simple movement that can relieve any tension in the neck. Your shoulders too can get uncomfortable from lack of mobility so to loosen them up, do some shoulder rolls. You want to sit upright in your chair, raise your shoulders and slowly roll them in a backwards motion; the goal is to perform a circle. To focus on loosening the lower body, raise one leg at a time and perform small circular motions with your foot. A few circles with each foot can help with any tension in your lower legs. Complete these exercises daily, and you should feel less discomfort. Therefore, enjoying using your scooter more!

a mobility scooter plugged in to charge

You Don’t Need to Worry

Gauging the width and speed of your scooter can be daunting, so here are some tips on how to stay safe. Firstly, ensure the battery is always fully charged; this is to avoid any cut outs while out in public. Secondly, practice makes perfect, so do a few laps around your local area to get used to the sensitivity of the scooter and also the width of it. Learning the size of the scooter can be one of the toughest challenges, so it’s great to get some practice in! To make travelling easier, consider purchasing a high-quality mobility scooter; they can move on multiple terrains effortlessly and are more comfortable.

Here at Essential Mobility, we have a wide variety of mobility scooters that you can either hire or buy. Start your journey to independence and freedom by checking out our range today to find your perfect match!

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Disability symbol on a parking space

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The issues of loneliness amongst the elderly and what a Channel 4 documentary is doing to help

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Spending time together can help to combat loneliness

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