QEF has opened a new driving assessment service in Southampton. Part of QEF Mobility Services and accredited by Driving Mobility, the new outreach service will provide driving assessments for disabled people and those with age related impairments. The expert team of specialist Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors will also be able to make recommendations for vehicle adaptations; enabling people to safely access driving, so they can be as independently mobile as possible.
QEF’s new service in Southampton has opened as a result of the closure of Wessex DriveAbility in March 2023. With a population of 1,998,300* in Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, of which 410,100** people are over 65 and 342,885*** are disabled, there was a real need to support residents of this county and parts of Wiltshire and Dorset with professional and accredited mobility advice and assessments.
People like Lewis Clasby from Portsmouth, who in April 2022 had a stroke at the age of just 23, after contracting meningitis. After spending 3 months in hospital where he had surgery to remove a blood clot and was given only a 20% chance of survival, he was discharged home with an at-home rehabilitation package. As a father to a young boy, not being able to drive significantly impacted his and his family’s independence. Once his doctor medically cleared him to drive, the DVLA referred him to QEF’s service in Southampton for a driving assessment. This included a cognitive test, a road drive using an automatic car and a supplementary test to confirm his ability to drive a manual car, all of which he passed.
Lewis says, ‘The centre was only 45 minutes from me which was great and I can’t praise them enough. I was nervous but I can’t believe how good my assessment was. They calmed me down and I felt very relaxed and comfortable – it wasn’t intense at all. I’ve been driving for 12 years and it is ridiculously important –
for work and with my child – it’s everything really, its independence.”
QEF provide a range of expert mobility services at several locations across the South East including Carshalton, Leatherhead, Twickenham, Worthing and now Southampton. They also provide neuro rehabilitation in Surrey for people with acquired neurological disabilities, residential care for people with learning disabilities in Kent and bespoke assistive equipment for disabled children.
Michelle Giles, QEF’s Mobility Services Manager says: “This centre will provide expert mobility advice to disabled people and those who need a driving assessment to confirm whether they are safe to drive, possibly with adaptations. Residents in Hampshire and areas of Dorset and Wiltshire will benefit from a local service that can support them to be as mobile as possible, so they can live the life they choose.”
All of QEF’s Mobility Centres are accredited by Driving Mobility, a UK wide organisation that ensures common standards, promotes good practice and offers training to accredited centres. Edward Trewhella, Chief Executive of Driving Mobility says: “I am delighted to see the new QEF Mobility Services outreach up and running in Southampton and supporting so many people in the area. QEF are bringing their expert knowledge through Approved Driving Instructors and Occupational Therapists and I am sure they will provide an excellent service; supporting many more people to access driving.”
QEF’s assessment service in Southampton is based at Regus International Centre, International Business Park, George Curl Way, Southampton SO18 2RZ. For more information call 0208 770 1151 or email email@example.com.