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SALIX HOMES MOBILITY SCOOTER RULES WILL LEAVE DISABLED HOUSEBOUND SAY RESIDENTS
 

Star date: 29th November 2016

NEW SAFETY RULES FOR SCOOTERS ANGER ELDERLY AND DISABLED RESIDENTS

"It's diabolical, what they are asking..." Salix tenant

Salix Homes has brought in new safety rules for owners of mobility scooters which, on the surface, seem quite reasonable. However, elderly and disabled residents are saying that the company is discriminating against them, and that many will be left housebound by the new edict.

Full details here...


Salix Homes Safety Booklet
click image to enlarge

Recently, Salix Homes brought out a new Home Safety Guide booklet for residents, with conditions for the acceptance of mobility scooters in its properties, stating that they are a fire hazard if not stored and charged correctly.

The booklet adds that scooters can't be stored in communal areas, only in homes where there is sufficient space and where they are not obstructing access. Meanwhile, charging the scooters can only be carried out during the day and inside people's own homes.

It all looks perfectly reasonable on the surface, but elderly and disabled residents are saying that it will massively affect their lives, leaving many housebound if the rules are strictly enforced.

They argue that most Salix flats in towerblocks and apartment blocks are not DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant and that there just isn't space within homes to store the scooters without blocking access.

When similar rules were brought in within other boroughs, arrangements were put in place to help tenants. Stockport Council offered an individual risk assessment "to identify the safest and most practical storage solution for Stockport Homes customers who own mobility scooters"...

...Darlington Council stated that managers would "ensure that there is adequate space for all mobility vehicles to remain". Salix Homes, however, appears to be offering no alternatives, except a visit to reinforce the rules.

"This is affecting an awful lot of people with scooters, most of them elderly or disabled" says Sharon Hooley, a Salix tenant and independent disabled activist "It looks to me like they are discriminating against mobility scooter users.

"They are saying that there has to be enough space to store the scooters but hundreds of elderly and disabled people are living in buildings that are not suitable for them; that haven't got enough space to store them.

"Their only means of getting out is a mobility scooter" she adds "I use a scooter if my powered wheelchair breaks down and it has to go in the hallway because I can't leave it outside."

Sharon also says that the new rules only apply to scooters and not powered wheelchairs, even though they are more or less the same, and takes issue with the edict that scooters cannot be charged overnight, only during the day...

"How do you charge a scooter during the day when you're using it?" she asks "There's never been a case of scooters blowing up, it has 22 mechanisms to make sure. They are more than safe and there's no reason to put that in there."

Her sentiments are echoed by Gerald Pearson, an elderly gentleman who has a heart condition and arthritis, and uses his scooter almost every day... "Scooters need to be charged at night" he insists "How can we charge them during the day when we use them? It's diabolical, what they are asking."

Sharon adds: "It takes five years to get a power chair from NHS so, in the meantime, how does a disabled person become mobile? They have to buy a scooter. By putting in all these rules without solutions, Salix is discriminating against them."

The Citizens Advice Bureau leaflet `Renting from a social housing landlord' states that every tenant has `the right not to be treated unfairly by your landlord because of your disability....'.

"If they are going to impose these rules, Salix needs to find suitable homes for people" Sharon concludes "because people at the moment don't have appropriate homes."


The Salford Star asked Salix Homes for a comment but the housing company never responded.

Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) wrote
at 15:30:05 on 01 December 2016
@etorw In my opinion, your comment shows a complete lack of understanding of the "Fire Safety Protocols". You say a "Mobility Scooter", should not be blocking the "Fire Exit". Where in this story does it state that the disabled are blocking the "Fire Exits" with their "Mobility Scooters"? My second comment would be that you obviously have not read or understood the "Fire Safety Poster" that is posted within every "Tower Block". One of the first things it states, is "do not to panic", " and "walk to your nearest "Fire Exit". Where on earth does the word "Sprinting" appear", within the "Fire Safety Rules". Secondly, when the Salford Star mentioned blocking "Fire Escapes", they were referring to the fact that due to most Salix Homes Properties, not being DDA Compliant, there is insufficient space to store a "Mobility Scooter" thus blocking the "Disabled Persons Access" to their "Front Door". I'm kind of guessing that the Physically Disabled won't be "Sprinting" if their is a fire. In conclusion, and in my opinion, I do not believe that you have understood what the Salford Star is trying to convey to the general public. And as far as "Sprinting" goes, you should certainly not be running from a fire, as you are at risk of injury. I hope this helps you understand the context and facts concerning this Salford Star Story, and also helps you understand the "Fire Safety Guidelines" while living in a "Tower Block". Kindest Regards, Tahir Chakotai, (Independent Housing Advocate)

etorw wrote
at 07:01:02 on 01 December 2016
Mobility scooters definitely shouldn't be near fire exits, they shouldn't be in the way when the user is sprinting out of there.

Gaynor Heaton wrote
at 18:53:53 on 30 November 2016
For around 40 years my brother-in-law worked as a Surveyor for different Social Landlords and he is adamant that mobility scooters cannot be banned. When a tenant is disabled and the property is not suitable for a Mobility Scooter then the landlord must either move the tenant or make a suitable alternate facility for the storage and battery-charging of the Scooter.

Danielle wrote
at 07:07:10 on 30 November 2016
I thought salix homes couldn't get any worse, somehow they managed to get worse. Disgraceful. They shouldn't be allowed to do this.

Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) wrote
at 07:07:07 on 30 November 2016
P.s. Shopmobility within the Manchester Arndale Centre, charge their Mobility Scooters, when the shop is shut, so they are charged for the next morning. If they are a fire risk, and need to be kept an eye on when charging, why does the Manchester Arndale allow such a fire risk to occur 360 Days of the year. The answer is, there are so many electrical safeguards against the overcharging of a Lead Acid / Gel Battery, that a "Modern Mobility Scooter" is no longer deemed a fire risk. And if Salix Homes feels that their Housing Stock is not DDA Compliant and their is insufficient space for a Disabled Persons Mobility Scooter, then they should be automatically referred to Social Services, to assist in a Section 184, Application for Homelessness, because their property is not suitable for their disabled needs. "If any Vulnerable / Physically Disabled Adult is asked to remove their Mobility Scooter from their property, or is told they cannot use it, by their landlord, this is deemed an act of abuse towards a vulnerable / disabled adult". "Call social services immediately and ask them to undertake a Safeguarding Assessment" (Refer to the Care Act 2014) for more information. I hope this helps all the vulnerable and disabled adults understand their housing rights. Kindest Regards, Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) & ( Mobility Scooter User)

Sharon Hooley (Independant Advocate and Disabled Activist) wrote
at 07:06:41 on 30 November 2016
Also I've never known a shopmobility to go up in flames due to charging all their scooters and wheelchairs over night. The fact that there is now 400 plus people on the waiting list for a powered wheelchair means that more than ever, disabled people have to use mobility scooters as they await their properly fitted chair. So it's a direct discrimination towards the disabled.//CBP... You are quite right. Salix had better pull their fingers out and deal with this properly. I'm fuming with them.

Reg Howard wrote
at 18:51:51 on 29 November 2016
Once again we are seeing the real face of Salford, Salix (Salford council) riding rough shod over the eldely and disabled people of this city. I would take issue with their point that scooters are a fire risk, as Sharon rightly points out,preventive measures are in place to prevent that. As a scooter owner myself, I can state that if I didn't have it, my life would be confined to being indoors. luckily, I am not a salix tenant and so I am not subject to these draconian measures, but wish that that the lunatic who came up with this scheme, never has the misfortune to join us users.

Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) wrote
at 18:51:45 on 29 November 2016
As a Ex-Mobility Scooter owner, and Salix Tenant, as a result of receiving the new Safety Manual 2016, I have had to purchase an aluminium framed, Powered Wheelchair. However, being a qualified Retired Chartered Electrical Design Engineer, I can inform everyone, with the exception of the steering circuit, there is absolutely no difference between the electrical operating and charging circuits between a Mobility Scooter and a Powered Wheelchair. Therefore in conclusion, and my opinion, if both Mobility Devices charge and operate in the same way, then by conclusion, this is a direct breach of Discrimination against Salix Homes Tenants who use Mobility Scooters.

CBP wrote
at 18:51:14 on 29 November 2016
If the Salix properties are not DDA compliant and there is a resonable need for them to be compliant, but Salix are stalling on that issue, then those conncerned should group together, find some legal support and funding and take Salix to court under the Equality Act 2010. Salix have a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

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