A South Yorkshire mobility specialist has donated two mobility scooters to give disabled and elderly visitors greater freedom to explore at Wentworth Woodhouse.
The battery-powered scooters can cover up to 16 miles and can cope with stone and wooden floors on the Grade I listed Rotherham mansion’s ground floor, plus gravel paths and lawns in the grounds.
They have been gifted to Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust by Handsworth-headquartered Clark and Partners, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary next month.
The mobility specialist decided to donate the scooters after touring the house and learning about the Trust’s determination to become one of the most inclusive and accessible visitor destinations in the country.
“When we heard about its mission we immediately decided we wanted to help,” explained Sales and Marketing Director Debbie Ashton. “Its objectives are in line with our ethos of helping people with disabilities, and mobility issues in older age, to keep their freedom, confidence and independence. We realised how difficult it must be for someone who relies on a scooter to get around the house and gardens and decided to donate two vehicles.”
Added Debbie: “Our shareholders live in Rotherham, we employ 39 staff from the local area and our MD Paul Bennett once worked on the wider Wentworth Estate, shadowing the gamekeeper. We love Wentworth Woodhouse and are proud to support it.”
Clark and Partners began as car repairers, went on to specialise in adapting disability cars and became wholly focused on mobility following a management buy out in 2019. Its four stores in Sheffield, Rotherham and Derby and online shop supply mobility equipment ranging from daily living aids to powered wheelchairs, home lifts and hoists. The company also provides a start-to-finish home adaptation consultancy service to enable clients to stay at home.
The One Rehab Vantage scooters, which retail from £1,575 each, will be available to hire for free. People interested in using one can contact info@wentworthwoodhouse org.uk
Sarah McLeod, Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust’s CEO, commented. “We are very grateful for this very generous gift from Clark and Partners. It means people with mobility challenges who may not have been able to visit us can now plan to do so. It can be very difficult to transport your own mobility scooter; we will now have two charged up and waiting.
“The scooters are a great boost to the Preservation Trust, which is working hard to make Wentworth Woodhouse as welcoming and accessible as possible for everyone who works, visits or volunteers here.
There are many improvements we want to make, including the addition of a lift to our first and upper floors, which we need so badly. We plan to start fundraising for this in the near future.”
Wentworth Woodhouse visitor Hilary Bullock, 85, of Dronfield, was asked to ‘test drive’ the scooters when they arrived, along with Lucy Nadin, the Trust’s Front of House officer. Commented Hilary, whose daughter Gillian is founder of AccessibleUK: “My husband was from Blackburn in Rotherham and knew Wentworth Woodhouse well. I love visiting the house and grounds, but I do get tired after walking for a while. I’m so pleased there are now free scooters to use.”
Lucy, of Worsbrough, has the condition Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, which causes muscle wastage in her legs and arms. She said: “The scooters will give me more independence to explore the house and gardens unaccompanied, in my own time. I think it’s great we can now offer this free service to our visitors so that more people will be able to access what Wentworth Woodhouse has to offer.”