New partnership puts people with a disability in the driving seat

Specialist Vehicles Rental (SVR) in Birmingham has chosen Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) as its new charity partner.

SVR supply specially adapted lease and rental vehicles to people living with a disability across the UK. This new partnership will support QEF Mobility Services’ work providing driving assessments and driving lessons to disabled people; helping each person to be as mobile and independent as possible and providing unbiased information about the most suitable option of vehicle and adaptations available to hire, lease or purchase.

Based in Surrey, QEF provides expert advice and life-changing services to almost 10,000 disabled children and adults every year, enabling people to develop key life skills, increase mobility and maximise their independence.

The charity’s Mobility Services is one the UK's largest providers of mobility advice and support for disabled people and those with age-related impairments. The charity has a specialist driving school with a team of qualified and experienced Driving Standards Agency Approved driving instructors who have been trained to the highest standards. QEF’s Mobility Services include rehabilitative tuition, driving lessons for confidence training - helping people to adapt to new methods of controlling the vehicle and driving lessons for new drivers up to test standard.

SVR was impressed by the charity’s unwavering commitment to ensure disabled people live as independent a life as possible and has pledged to give a 5% donation to QEF from every car supplied to a QEF client who uses the code ‘QEF’ as well as 5% off the cost of the rental, lease or purchase to the client themselves.

Leo Visconti, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at QEF said: “SVR’s enthusiasm for our work was evident from the moment we spoke, and we are delighted to have been chosen by them. We are a small charity, but we have big ambitions to ensure that our services enable disabled people to maximise their mobility and independence, and that anyone who wants to drive has the opportunity to learn to drive, as it affords freedoms that everyone should have, and this partnership will help us reach that goal.”

Kumba Bockarie from Croydon, contracted Polio when she was just four years old which effects the stability in her legs and means she struggles to walk long distances. She used QEF’s Mobility Services to help her pass her driving test to give her independent mobility and reduce her reliance on public transport.

Kumba said: “I have triplets and previously I had to rely on public transport to get us all around. The everyday trips, such as getting to school, were stressful. I can’t run for the bus, so there were times when one of my triplets would run ahead to hold the bus until I could get there.   I needed to learn to drive so I contacted QEF’s Mobility Services to organise an assessment. The Occupational Therapist tested my reaction times on a static rig using hand controls and then as I had a good response to this, I drove a car on their private track for the very first time – it was so exciting.

“QEF sent the results of my assessment, along with my doctor’s letter about my medication, to the DVLA and once I received my provisional license, I started driving lessons with QEF and I passed my driving test in May 2018. Since then, it has been fantastic – it has given me freedom - we can just get up and go and I can drive anywhere we want. There’s no stress and I can get the kids to school on time! Driving has opened up so much for me and has truly changed my life.”

Juggy Kudhail, the founder and MD at SVR added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be supporting QEF. It is not just a relationship, it’s a partnership where we look forward to working closely with QEF and their clients whilst supporting the charity. We endeavour to help understand peoples ‘life objectives’ and find solutions for their specific requirements. We work in close collaboration to ensure that we meet if not exceed expectations for all involved. SVR will find an answer for a client who needs our help. Our team are passionate in what they do and will always look to go the extra mile to help achieve customer satisfaction.”

It is hoped that the partnership will raise a minimum of £5,000 to support QEF’s mobility services. For any QEF clients that choose SVR, motoring and mobility solutions will be developed that are tailored to a clients’ specific disability and within their budget. These include adaptive equipment from basic hand controls through to full wheelchair access and hoists in its new vehicles and used vehicles. It can also create adaptations to a clients existing vehicle.

Every customer that uses the code ‘QEF’ will receive a 5% discount and SVR will also give a 5% donation to QEF. 

To find out more about leasing, hiring or adapting a car through SVR call 01922 624967 (Press option 4 for QEF referrals) or email QEF@specialistvehiclerental.co.uk or visit their website specialistvehiclerental.co.uk/contact-us/

Hear what some of our corporate partners say about working with us...

“Last year, having considered a range of local charities we selected QEF as our ‘charity of the year’ as we felt their purpose and vision to help people with disabilities or injuries to gain independence and lead a fuller life resonated with our goal to ‘lead the world in essentials for a better life’

We have been partnering with them since, embarking on a wide range of activities from cake bakes and car washes, to pumpkin carving and raffles to raise funds to buy a Bugzi for one of QEF beneficiaries. The QEF team have been very supportive coming on site to joining us and educate our employees on the services QEF provide. We had a very successful day with QEF last summer redecorating their canteen and landscaping their gardens, again with tremendous support from the QEF staff and some of their residents who came to join us for tea.  The event was attended by over 70 K-C employees who thoroughly enjoying spending time together outside the office to provide practical help and make a difference to the space used by the QEF community.

Through our combined efforts we have managed to raise enough money to buy one Bugzi earlier this year which is now being used by a young boy called Dylan. A couple of employees were able to go and meet Dylan having a test run with his new mobility device and were delighted and moved to see the joy he experienced through gaining more independence.

We had plans in place for another practical support day but is on hold due to the current climate – we hope to be in a position to hold it again soon and in the meantime continue to support QEF remotely through as best we can.”

Kimberly-Clark Reigate Community Committee

"At Squire Energy we have always believed we are part of a community and when we looked to support that community better we wanted to work with a charity that was not only local to us and fundamental to making a difference to as many people as possible but one that also had reach. With QEF delivering vital support to individuals, families and children in the way they do it wasn’t hard for Squire Energy to choose to lend its support with one voice. QEF’s vision, enthusiasm, determination and compassion won us over.

Our partnership with QEF has taught us a lot about support, team-work and fundraising but also how hard they work on behalf of the community. With QEF’s insight and creative thinking we have found a co-operative and pro-active partner who really help us to not only understand where and when we are most needed but also offer the opportunities and tools for us to participate in rewarding and effective fundraising activities. We look forward to continuing this partnership into the new year and beyond."

Steve Gray, Project Manager at Squire Energy