Members will know that the third aim of Voice is “… to encourage people of all abilities to access the hills.” However, in our first year our efforts were concentrated on campaigning against the proposal for a cable car to be built on the hills. Meanwhile, staff from the organisation Jamboree, who work at Cafe H2O, at the Wyche Cutting, were busy trying to raise money to purchase a Tramper (an all terrain mobility scooter), so that those with impaired mobility could access part of the Malvern Hills. In April of this year, Jamboree succeeded, having obtained funds and support from a number of partners, including the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Malvern Hills Conservators. The local news report can be found here: Malvern Gazette
Since April 2016, those with impaired mobility can hire the Tramper from Cafe H2O (Cafe H2O) and travel up to the Worcestershire Beacon, via the tarmac track. In order to do so, users need to join the organisation Countryside Mobility. Countryside Mobility has Trampers located throughout the UK, in order to enable people to access the countryside at close hand, rather than just from the seat of a car. By joining, members are able to hire Trampers from all of these locations. Once a member, you then have to pay an additional hire charge for the hire of one of its Trampers. The hire fee pays for the upkeep of the scooter, the annual insurance, the cost of recharging the batteries each day, and so on. Click here for the story about the Malvern Hills’ Tramper on the website of Countryside Mobility: Countryside Mobility . From there, you can find all the information you need about joining Countryside Mobility.
In September, the Chair was walking on the Malvern Hills when he met Tony and his family. Tony was travelling on the Tramper, which he had hired from Cafe H2O. It was a beautiful Autumn day. Tony was able to take himself off up into the hills, spontaneously and independently, when the fine weather promised an enjoyable ride to the Worcestershire Beacon and stunning views from the summit. All this, thanks to the vision of the Jamboree staff. Tony told the Chair that he had supported the proposal for the construction of a cable car on the Malvern Hills, before the arrival of the Tramper at Cafe H20. However, since Tony has been able to hire the Tramper his views have changed.
The charity behind Countryside Mobility, Living Options Devon, established the Tramper hire scheme in order to empower those with a disability or Deaf people to lead the lives they choose. I had the benefit of using a Tramper when I visited the wonderful “Hannahs” at Seale Hayne, in Dartmoor. It was there that I learnt about the network of Trampers located throughout the Devon countryside (which is stunning, by the way). One of the partners of Countryside Mobility is the National Trust, which I would personally nominate as the charity, which has done the most in the UK to enable the mobile impaired to access nature and wildlife. The National Trust has mobility scooters for hire for free, upon paying an entrance fee to one of its sites, although not all are Trampers. It is always best to call ahead because often you need to book a scooter. Some National Trust properties are better than others. At some, there are no scooters or only one may be available, for a time restricted period. Croome, for instance, is one such property. Ickworth House in Suffolk, on the other hand, has quite a few trampers, which can be used for an entire day. With the “can do” attitude of Jamboree, Countryside Mobility and the National Trust, more and more of us with impaired mobility can get out into the fresh air to enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer, without so much as a cable car in sight.