Mobility Camping

Many of us will suffer from decreased mobility as we get older. Usually it takes the form of reduced joint articulation and declining muscle strength. In addition, some of us will have the misfortune to suffer an accident or illness, which robs us of a more significant amount of mobility.

We’ve not met anyone, no matter how serious their mobility problems, whose quality of life hasn’t benefited by ‘carrying on camping’. A bullish attitude won’t be sufficient though – you’ll need to think carefully about the likely problems and buy some specialist equipment to solve them.

A specially-adapted motorhome is the most popular choice of the disabled traveller. Some, if accompanied by carers, prefer to continue using their touring caravan or tent. The big advantage a motorhome has over a touring caravan and tent is that it isn’t necessary to transfer from the transport to the living area. This is particularly important if a transfer hoist, lift, or ramps are required to get aboard.

A great way to organise your thoughts is to divide a piece of paper into three columns. At the head of each column put one of the basic activities. These are Access, Driving, and Living.

Now run through what’s usually involved to carry out everyday activities and jot down any problems encountered and what’s needed to solve them. Then tour the dealers, specialist shops and services to look for something that will help with achieving success at each activity.

ACCESS AIDS

Mobility CampingCaravanners should try getting in and out of both the tow vehicle and the caravan or motorhome. Decide whether you wish to accomplish this unaided by a carer. Wheelchair users will also need to make sure they can transfer to any lifting system every time and not just on ‘good days’. One set of lightweight portable folding ramps can be used for both the towcar and for the caravan. Electrically-operated 12V stand-on lifts are also available.

Those wheelchair users who can manage a few steps may find a double or triple wide-tread step and a sturdy grab handle or two will be sufficient to get them on-board. Others will have to use a robotised lifting seat such as a Turny to gain entry into the vehicle.

Whatever the method of access, if a wheelchair has to pass through, ensure the door is wide enough. A motorhome built on a panel van may well have an extra-wide full-height side sliding door suitable for wheelchair access, but other units will have to be specially adapted.

DRIVING AIDS

On offer is everything from a steering wheel knob (spinner) to voice- activated control of all auxiliary systems including heating/air-con, wipers, lights, indicators and horn. Drive-from-wheelchair systems are very sophisticated now, though if you’re a caravanner you’ll need to change your towcar for something with sufficient interior height.

Don’t forget to check with the DVLA whether there are any restrictions on your driving licence regarding vehicle class (type), transmission, weight and your entitlement to tow a trailer.

LIVING AIDS

Do consider how you’re going to get the water and empty the waste or loo. Many just hook the Aquaroll or Wastemaster on to the back of their electrically propelled mobility scooter. This is fine for transporting the water, but what about emptying or filling? Disabled motorcaravanners usually require much less assistance as motorcaravans have large on-board water tanks.

It will pay to replicate the most helpful living aids used around the house (devices such as a one-handed can- opener and kettle cradles) and keep them in the ’van rather than rely on memory or a packing list.

Many motorcaravanners carry a mobility scooter in the ’van’s garage, on a rack, or on a trailer. KD (Knock Down) mobility scooters – ones that quickly and easily disassemble into several stowable components – will fit easily into a caravan seat locker, though be aware that many have small wheels that will struggle on campsites with no defined pitch access and/or long grass. Choose a Club Site with Tarmac roads and either hardstandings or ‘all weather’ (reinforced) grass pitches. Siting a caravan on a pitch can be completed with a remote-controlled motorised mover and an electric battery drill attachment will lower and raise the steadies with ease.

Designed to be different

A standard caravan or motorhome with a few minor adjustments will often make a big difference, but sometimes a special unit needs to be designed from the outset to be able to accommodate those with the most limiting disabilities.

Before tackling your present unit in a well intentioned, but possibly misguided, flurry of DIY have a look at what the professionals can do for you. Providing certain conditions are met, a specially-adapted motorhome can be purchased VAT free. The disabled member of the party does not have to be the driver.

For caravans, only adaptations can qualify for VAT relief unless the caravan is specifically designed and built for disabled use. However, the Motability scheme can be used to assist in the leasing of a towcar, but there will be an additional premium payable for larger cars and SUVs. More enlightened lenders will count Disability Allowance paid at the higher rate as ‘income’ when assessing suitability for a loan to purchase a motorcaravan, touring caravan or towcar.

Club together

New members may not be aware of just how appealing our site network is. A careful glance at the symbols accompanying each site entry in Your Place in the Country will reveal that most Club Sites cater for the walking disabled and the majority also offer separate facilities for wheelchair users. In addition, the Club has an ongoing programme to improve its site facilities for the more severely impaired but independent disabled travellers.

Holiday Site Managers and their staff are always happy to assist disabled members with siting and setting up their ’van, but please phone ahead if you are going to require help on arrival. More useful information is available in Your Big Sites Book which uses similar information symbols to indicate the level of disabled facilities on the Club’s five-van Certificated Sites and listed commercial campsites.

We’re not finished yet! Providing you have your own facilities on board, a warm welcome awaits disabled travellers at any DA or Section weekend meet or Temporary Holiday Site.

Camping and Caravanning Club directory of Services and Suppliers (please note inclusion on these pages does not mean endorsement by the Camping and Caravanning Club

Motorcaravan Manufacturers

Willing to undertake a one-off design and build, or alter one of their production models

DRIVELODGE MOTORHOMES
Keighley
BD20 7RS
Tel 01535 637 777
www.drivelodge.co.uk

EAST NEUK CAMPERVANS
Anstruther
KY10 3XE
Tel 01333 310 440
www.eastneukcampervans.co.uk

IH MOTOR CAMPERS
Knottingley
WF11 0BS
Tel 01977 677 118
www.ihmotorhomes.com

LEISUREDRIVE (FG) LTD
Bolton
BL4 8EL
Tel 01204 574 488
www.leisuredrive.co.uk

MIDDLESEX MOTORCARAVANS
London
HA8 6RW
Tel 02089 524 045
www.middlesexmotorcaravans.co.uk

MURVI MOTORCARAVANS
Ivybridge
PL21 9GE
Tel 01752 892 200
www.murvi.co.uk

NIRVANA
Herne Bay
CT6 8JZ
Tel 0800 328 1475
www.nirvanarv.com

NU-VENTURE MOTORHOMES
Wigan
WN3 5AT
Tel 01942 494 090
www.nuventure.co.uk

RAINBOW CONVERSIONS
Wisbech
PE13 2XQ
Tel 01945 585 931
www.rainbowconversions.co.uk

ROY WOOD TRANSITS
Winnersh
RG14 5HU
Tel 0118 979 0202
www.roywoodtransits.co.uk

RS MOTORHOMES
Goldthorpe
S63 9BL
Tel 087000 270 055
www.rsmotorhomes.com

TIMBERLAND MOTORHOMES
Kirmington
DN39 6YP
Tel 08450 099 998
www.timberlandmotorhomes.com

WENTWORTH MOTORCARAVANS
Staines
TW18 3JY
Tel 01784 433 081
www.wentworthmc.co.uk

WILDAX MOTORHOMES
Keighley
BD21 1PH
Tel 01535 608 555
www.wildaxmotorhomes.com

YOUNG CONVERSIONS
Milton Keynes
MK2 3HU
Tel 01908 639 936
www.youngconversions.com

Dealers

Retailers able to assist in the purchase of a VAT exempt specially adapted motorcaravan or touring caravan

Motorhomes

BEDFORDSHIRE MOTORCARAVANS
Wilstead
MK45 3HU
Tel 01234 741 919
www.bedfordshiremotorcaravans.com

BROWNHILLS GROUP
Tel 0800 374 941
www.brownhills.co.uk and www.hymeruk.com

CHELSTON MOTORHOMES
Tel 01823 662 075
www.chelstonmotorhomes.co.uk

CLEVELAND MOTORHOMES
Darlington
DL2 1RH
Tel 0800 980 5364
www.clevelandmotorhomes.co.uk

COTSWOLD MOTOR CARAVANS
Gloucester
GL2 9QL
Tel 01452 857 131
www.cotswoldmotorcaravans.co.uk

DISCOVER LEISURE
Tel 0845 1200 173
www.discoverleisure.co.uk

DON AMOTT
Derby
DE65 5FJ
Tel 08454 560 582
www.donamott.com

HAYES LEISURE
Darlaston
WS10 9SS
Tel 01215 263 433
www.hayesleisure.co.uk

LAZYDAYS
Market Drayton
TF9 2SY
Tel 01952 550 282
www.lazydays.biz

MARQUIS MOTORHOME CENTRES
Tel 08000 267 777
www.marquismotorhomes.co.uk

MIDLAND INTERNATIONAL MOTORHOMES
Coventry
CV5 9EL
Tel 02476 336 411
www.midland-international.co.uk

NIRVANA
Herne Bay
CT6 8JZ
Tel 0800 328 1475
www.nirvanarv.com
(Own range of specially manufactured motorcaravans)

RICHARD BALDWIN MOTORHOMES
Halifax
HX3 0TP
Tel 01422 364 222
www.richardbaldwinmotorhomes.co.uk

SIMPSONS MOTORCARAVAN CENTRE
Great Yarmouth
NR31 0LN
Tel 01493 601 696
www.simpsonsmc.com

STEWART MOULAND MOTORCARAVANS
Peacehaven
BN10 7ET
Tel 01273 587 229
www.stewartmouland.co.uk

TRAVELWORLD RV
Telford
TF7 4QR
Tel 0845 230 5033
www.usrv.co.uk

TODDS
Preston
PR5 5JD
Tel 01772 335 360
www.toddsmotorhomes.co.uk

TYNE VALLEY MOTORHOMES
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
NE16 6AX
Tel 0845 644 5449
www.tynevalleymotorhomes.co.uk

WEBBS MOTORCARAVANS
Warminster
BA12 8BT
Tel 01985 850 850
www.webbsmotorcaravans.co.uk

WELLSBRIDGE SALES
Ramsey Forty Foot
PE26 2XJ
Tel 01487 812 901
www.wellsbridgemotorhomes.co.uk

WEST COUNTRY MOTORHOMES
Tel 01278 761 200
www.westcountry-motorhomes.co.uk

Touring caravans

COACHBUILT GB
CV11 4MD
Tel: 024 7630 4754
www.coachbuiltgb.co.uk

FRY’S CARAVANS
YO25 9QE
Tel 01377 271 383
www.frys.co.uk

NIRVANA
Herne Bay
CT6 8JZ
Tel 0800 328 1475
www.nirvanarv.com
(Own range of specially manufactured touring caravans)

Adaptions and Additions

DRIVING [D]
ACCESS [A]

ALFRED BEKKER [D]
Driffield
YO25 9DJ
Tel 01377 241 700
www.alfredbekker.com

AMF BRUNS UK [A]
Manchester
M17 1SN
Tel 01618 727 951
www.amf-bruns.co.uk

AUTOADAPT UK [A] [D]
Aston
B7 4PR
Tel 0121 333 5170
www.autoadapt.co.uk

AUTOCHAIR [A]
Alfreton
DE45 1DX
Tel 0800 214 045
www.autoadapt.co.uk

AUTO-SLEEPERS MOTORHOME SERVICE CENTRE [A]
Broadway
WR12 7QF
Tel 01386 853 511
www.auto-sleepers.co.uk

AUTOVAN SERVICES [A]
Wimbourne
BH21 2HD
Tel 01202 848 414
www.autovan.co.uk

BRIG-AYD CONTROLS [D]
Welwyn Garden City
AL7 1BS
Tel 01707 322 322
www.brig-aydcontrols.co.uk

CHARLES & SON [A]
Poole
BH12 3LL
Tel 01202 733 772
www.charlesandson.co.uk

CHRIS ELLIOTT ADAPTIONS [A] [D]
Peterborough
PE3 7PR
Tel 01733 333 023
www.chriselliottadaptions.co.uk

CITY MOTOR SERVICES [A] [D]
Cardiff
CF3 2GA
Tel 02920 364 800
www.citymotorservices.co.uk

COACHBUILT GB [A] [D]
Nuneaton
CV11 4MD
Tel 02476 304 754
www.coachbuiltgb.co.uk

CONVER-TECH [A]
Maidenhead
SL6 3ST
Tel 01628 836 303
www.conver-tech.co.uk

COWAL MOBILITY AIDS [A] [D]
Great Kingshill
HP15 6HL
Tel 01494 714 400
www.cowalmobility.co.uk

DOLPHIN STAIRLIFTS [A]
Poole
BH15 2AA
Tel 01202 669 194
www.dolphinstairlifts.com

DS & P MOBILITY ELECTRONICS [D]
Aylesbury
HP18 0JH
Tel 01296 658 508
www.dsp-mobilityelectronics.com

ELAP ENGINEERING [D]
Accrington
BB5 1QG
Tel 01254 871 599
www.elap.co.uk

KC MOBILITY SERVICES [A] [D]
Batley
WF17 8LL
Tel 01924 442 386
www.kcmobility.co.uk

LODGESONS LTD [D]
Cardiff
CF10 LQ
Tel 08700 132 420
www.lodgesons.co.uk

MOBILITY CONVERSIONS [D]
Manchester
M6 6SY
Tel 01617 459 737
www.mobilityconversions.co.uk

PWS [A]
Poole
BH12 4PE
Tel 01202 746 851
www.pwsacc.co.uk

RATCLIFF PALFINGER [A]
Welwyn Garden City
AL7 1ET
Tel 01707 325 571
www.palfinger.com

RICON UK [A]
Manchester
M43 7EF
Tel 01613 016 000
www.riconuk.com

SOUTH HEREFORD MOTORCARAVAN CENTRE WORKSHOP [A]
Forest of Dean
GL16 7NA
Tel 01594 835 777
www.motorcaravans-motorhomes.co.uk

STEERING DEVELOPMENTS [A] [D]
Hemel Hempstead
HP2 7HF
Tel 01442 212 918
www.steeringdevelopments.co.uk

SVO SPECIALISED VEHICLE OPTIONS [A] [D]
Calne
SN11 9PR
Tel 01249 815 141
www.specialisedvehicleoptions.com

UNWIN SAFETY SYSTEMS [A]
Martock
TA12 6EY
Tel 01935 827 740
www.unwin-safety.com

Living Aids

ALL TERRAIN WHEELCHAIRS LTD
Telford
TF4 2RW
Tel 01952 504 623
www.allterrainwheelchairs.co.uk
Off road electric and manual wheelchairs including 4-wheel drive

ETAC UK formerly BALDER UK
Hook
RG27 9GR
Tel 01256 767 181
www.etacuk.com
Electric and manual wheelchairs

BEAMER
Salisbury
SP5 2QW
Tel 01794 885 814
www.tramper.co.uk
Mobility vehicles

BROMAKIN WHEELCHAIRS
Loughborough
LE11 5GU
Tel 01509 217 569
www.bromakin.co.uk
Manual wheelchairs, adapted manual bikes and trikes

CHARTERWOOD MOBILITY
Maidstone
ME14 5LH
Tel 01622 730 519
www.charterwood.co.uk
Mobility vehicles

CLARKS INDEPENDENCE CENTRE
Leeds
LS18 4JX
Tel 01132 588 888
www.clarksmobility.com
Mobility vehicles and general aids

CONNEVANS
Reigate
RH2 9YR
Tel 01737 243 134
www.connevans.com
Equipment for the deaf

DRAGONMOBILITY
Cambridge
CB4 3JD
Tel 01223 464 460
www.dragonmobility.com
Manufacturer of power chairs

EASYLIFTER
Leicester
LE11 1JY
Tel 01509 268 400
www.easylifter.co.uk
Removable hydraulically assisted rack

ELECTRIC MOBILTY EURO
Ilminster
TA19 9DL
Tel 01460 258 100
www.electricmobility.co.uk
Mobility vehicles and electric wheelchairs

EUROMEDICAL MOBILITY
Maidstone
ME16 0PU
Tel 01622 755 744
www.euromedical.co.uk
General aids, folding lightweight wheelchairs

GERALD SIMONDS HEALTHCARE
Aylesbury
HP19 8UA
Tel 01296 380 200
www.gerald-simonds.co.uk
Electric wheelchairs, swivel seats and wheelchair accessible vehicles

POWABYKE
Bath
BA1 2SQ
Tel 01225 443 737
www.powabyke.com
Mobility vehicles

RJ MOBILITY
Halifax
HX3 5AF
Tel 01422 358 888
www.rjmobility.com
Manual wheelchairs including compact folding ones

SEW N SO’S
Spalding
PE11 1HU
Tel 01775 767 633
www.sewnsos.co.uk
Bespoke wheelchair and mobility equipment covers

SIMCROSS SERVICES
Abbotts Langley
WD5 0PL
Tel 01923 264 415
Fabrication service, ramps, steps handrails etc

SCOOTERMART MOBILITY SCOOTERS
Brierley Hill
DY5 1TB
Tel 08448 880 177
www.scootermart.co.uk
Mobility vehicles, electric wheelchairs

SUNRISE MEDICAL
Stourbridge
DY8 4PS
Tel 01384 446 688
www.sunrisemedical.com
Mobility vehicles

TALLEY MEDICAL
Romsey
SO51 9AQ
Tel 01794 503 500
www.talleygroup.com
General medical aids

TEST VALLEY MOBILITY
Test Valley
SO51 0HA
Tel 01794 521 217
www.testvalleymobility.co.uk
Slings, lifts, hoists and overhead tracking system

TGA ELECTRIC LEISURE
Sudbury
CO10 1WH
Tel 01787 882 244
www.tga-electric.com
Mobility vehicles

THOR-WORLD INDUSTRIES
Chesterfield
S41 9QX
Tel 01246 260 981
www.thorworld.co.uk
Ramps

TOWTAL
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 3DB
Tel 01782 333 422
www.towtal.co.uk
Mobility vehicle platforms, trailers, towbars, general fabrication service

VICARIOUS BOOKS
Kent
CT20 1JP
Tel 01312 083 333
www.vicarious-shop.co.uk
Specialist retailer of motorhome books and campsite guides

VINYL VALUE
Charmouth
DT6 6BY
Tel 01297 560 651
www.vinylvalue.co.uk
Bags and canopies for wheelchairs and mobility vehicles

Here to Help

BATH INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL ENGINEERING
Bath
BA1 3NG
Tel 01225 824 103
www.bime.org.uk
Medical engineering charity. Successful designs are made available on a ‘not for profit’ basis

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT
Tel 08701 226 236
www.dft.gov.uk

ENGLISH HERITAGE
Tel 08703 331 181
www.english-heritage.org.uk
Disabled visitors’ guide to English Heritage Properties

HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE (CHARITIES & HEALTHCARE TEAM)
Tel 08450 109 000
www.hmce.gov.uk
VAT notice 701/59 ‘Information on the zero-rating of VAT on the purchase of specially-adapted road vehicles’

MOBILITY CHOICE
Tel 08452 410 390
www.mobilityroadshow.co.uk
Organisers of the Mobility Roadshow

MOBILISE (Formerly Disabled Drivers’ Association)
Tel 01508 489 449
www.mobilise.info
Charity with monthly magazine

PEOPLE FIRST LTD
Tel 01754 899 202
www.peoplefirstltd.com
Advice on aids, driving and access

RADAR (ROYAL ASSOCIATION FOR DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION)
Tel 02072 503 222
www.radar.org.uk
Radar key, information

RICABILITY
Tel 02074 272 460
www.ricability.org.uk
Information on products for consumers with disabilities

RNID (ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF)
Tel 08088 080 123 or textphone 08088 089 000
www.rnid.org.uk
Information, advice and products for the deaf

SCOPE
Tel 020 761 97100
www.scope.org.uk
Help, advice and support for people with cerebral palsy

THE NATIONAL TRUST
Tel 01793 817 634 (Type Talk aware)
www.nationaltrust.org.uk
‘Access for All’ guide to NT properties and ‘Admit One’ scheme

*Please note inclusion on this page does not constitute endorsement by The Camping and Caravanning Club.

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