After Tim* had a heart attack and stroke, he was not allowed to drive due to the effects of the brain damage this caused.
Tim found himself feeling lonely and isolated. He lives in Gateshead, and struggled to travel to volunteer at Riding for the Disabled in Sunderland, as well as his part-time jobs in Newcastle. “I can travel alone on public transport,” Tim explains, “but it would take nearly two hours to travel to where I volunteer, taking two buses and a metro. It’s just 10 minutes in a car or taxi.”
He had to rely on his brother giving him lifts places, working around his brother’s own job.
This is when Tim decided to self-refer to the North East and Cumbria Hubs Mobility Advice Service for some support.
The team talked to Tim, and his brother, to understand what he needed.
They thought that he might be entitled to some benefits, which Tim hadn’t considered before. With Tim’s permission, the team contacted Age UK who checked what benefits he might be entitled to, and Tim was surprised to learn he was eligible for more than he realised.
This helped him travel around more easily. “That was a wonderful shock,” he says: “Without that help with taxi fares, I would struggle to manage both my volunteering and my job, and would spend winter days sitting alone at home.
“My brain stays active through my paid work as a medical actor, and I am on a brain exercise schedule at Riding for the Disabled. Without the help of the Mobility Advice Service and Age UK, I would miss out on all this rehabilitation as I simply couldn’t travel there.
“Being able to get a taxi is a saviour, especially if I have been volunteering in the morning before travelling to work in the afternoon. Without this, it would take me 80 minutes of travelling on public transport and I could not to get to my jobs on time.”
The North East and Cumbria Hubs Mobility Advice Service helped Tim find ways to maintain his independence. By connecting him with other services, he is now able to enjoy his volunteering and professional work without worrying about transportation.
North East and Cumbria Hubs Mobility Advice Service provides advice on access to public transport and alternative travel options for people who are advised to stop driving and those unable to learn to drive.
*Names have been changed to protect people’s privacy.