Electric scooters and wheelchairs are an essential tool in maintaining the mobility and independence of anyone who has become unable to walk any distance.
They afford a freedom that is essential to the welfare and moral wellbeing of anybody who has become dependent on others to push them in wheelchairs. It is always a delight to talk to the recipient of a scooter and hear their anecdotes of how they are now able to go to the shops, the library, visit friends and day centres and stop off at the pub on the way back! Not forgetting, of course, being able to attend Lodge meetings on a regular basis.
The Province owns several scooters and wheelchairs which are lent out to Brethren, and their dependants, who have become incapacitated and have limited mobility. This stock is of general purpose, straight forward equipment- we are aware that some people will require specialised chairs- we apply to the Masonic Charitable foundation for these. This scheme, which has attracted a lot of admiration from our surrounding Provinces was set up by Phil Blacklaw. The project has been very popular in helping many of our brethren and is a great asset to the Province. The scheme has however become difficult to manage as it has become large. We are determined to build on its success to ensure that everyone who needs a scooter has one and no one is refused or overlooked. We have worked to find out how many scooters we have, that they are safe and in good order; we have a specialist engineering firm who service and repair our scooters as necessary.
We are keen to provide scooters and will arrange delivery within the Province, through Phil Menday, who works hard to acquire and keep a small stock in a secure lockup. We do have to make sure that, not only are the scooters in good order but that the new owners are happy to control them safely. We therefore hand them over after a very short on-site training session to ensure that the scooter is suitable for the person’s needs. We have to be aware of the legislation laid down in the government website, particularly with regard to eyesight. This is only applied to those who want to drive their scooter on the road, not to those who just want one to cruise around shopping centres. If we discover poor eyesight, we will advise ways to improve it and when we are satisfied, we will supply the scooter.
We do ask that the scooter is insured, which we will arrange and pay for if the brother is unable to afford it, -we have negotiated a low cost with a local company.
Should you know of any Brother or a dependant who would benefit from a scooter, please inform me directly or through your Lodge Almoner so that consideration can be given to the possibility of assistance. We do not apply a means test for the provision of a scooter, but we do distribute them depending on need, we are very happy to lend one to a brother who would otherwise not be able to get about
The scooters are not sold to the recipient but are lent for as long as is required. When the scooter is no longer essential it is collected and brought back into ‘stock’; it remains the property of the Buckinghamshire Masonic Benevolent Fund under whose auspices it is funded and maintained. We will collect or deliver a scooter to anywhere in the Province as required.
Provincial Grand Almoner