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Disabled and Stress Free Travel can go hand in hand

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With these expert tips

   Guest Post by Jason Whatling of Peterborough Shopmobility and BHTA member Company The Mobility Aids Centre

More often than not, going on holiday can be a stressful ordeal, rather than the relaxing vacation you hoped for. From fitting everything you will need into a box, to leaving the house unattended for a long period of time, there is always something to worry about.

However, this is nothing compared to the stress of getting all your mobility equipment carefully passed airport customs and trusting the airport staff to look after you and your mobility aids. Whether this is carrying your possessions onto the plane or in some cases, physically lifting you onto the plane themselves, you have to put so much faith in other people.

As you may have seen for yourself, there has been a handful of publicised issues where passengers travelling with disabilities have encountered unwanted problems when it comes to getting through the airport.

The type of problems that could be encountered range from proving your unseen disability to your special disability equipment being mistreated or handled. Of course, that is the tip of the iceberg, as there is a broad range of issues that can arise.

Therefore, you may be wondering just how you can avoid having a stressful holiday? Well, look no further, because below is expert advice for stress-free traveling with a disability.

Notify the Airport 48 hours in advance

Did you know the EU laws state that, if you have reduced mobility, you are entitled to assistance, free of charge? That includes getting on and off the plane, during the flight and in airports before and after the flight.

However, you must provide this information more than 48 hours before your flight. So, do not feel like you are being burdensome. You are, in fact, helping the airport staff by allowing them enough time to prepare for your special requirements.

Provide as much information as possible

The more information you can provide, the more prepared and stress-free the airport can make your travelling experience. This includes details of your disability and any special requirements that you may have. A good idea would be clarifying this information through email. This way, it gives the staff a source to go to in case they have forgotten anything. It also gives you the opportunity to prove the information you have supplied if the unfortunate event arises where they are not put in place.

Pay for specialist travel Insurance

Getting quality travel insurance for someone with a pre-existing medical condition or disability is notoriously difficult, but it is essential. We would recommend using Mark Bates Ltd. The website is clear and easy to navigate around and, on top of that, they provide fair prices with specialist knowledge and support for disabilities of all kinds.

Book with a specialist travel agent

If you book through a specialist travel agent, they will make sure your holiday and travels run as smooth as possible. On top of that, they will also do all the work for you, so you won’t have to worry about informing the airport before the flight.

Remember spare parts and tools

Some of your mobility equipment may need to be dismantled to fit on the flight. For example, wheelchairs need to be folded or dismantled before putting them into the undercarriage. They may even need emergency repairs during your holiday. That’s why taking a small kit of tools to help with this will speed up the process and also improve your traveling experience.

Check out the BHTA Air Transport Advice’s website for further information on how to best disassemble your equipment for a flight.


Check out the BHTA Get Wise to Flying with a Disability

With thanks to The Mobility Aids Centre, you can check out their website HERE.

April 13, 2018 |

Tourism for All

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Does having a disability put you off going on holiday? Does it feel like too much effort to research the hotel’s, transportation and area to see if you could get around easily? It can be difficult when you know a place says it’s accessible but then you discover there are stairs or a very steep hill to navigate before you get there. Discoveries like this can ruin your holiday and that is where tourism for all comes in. They provide disabled tourists and travellers with a personalised information and advice service. Although they’re not travel agents they help disabled people plan and take holidays and breaks – both in the UK and overseas – with confidence. You can check out their website at

Everyone deserves to get away and enjoy their holiday tourism for all can help you do that.

March 19, 2018 |

Wigan and Leigh Closed after 30 Years

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It is with great sadness that we inform you of the closure of Wigan and Leigh Shopmobility. After 30 years of serving their community, they were unable to secure funding to retain the service that had been apart of the community for so long. You can read more on their website page HERE.

It is a great loss both to the local community and to the NFSUK. We urge you all to support your local schemes as much as possible whether that is through a donation of money, time, or other. These services are so vital for the people who use them, they are often vulnerable members of the community trying to maintain their independence.

One way you can support your local scheme, if you have a scooter of your own, is by registering your scooter on the National Mobility Register, £6 of your registration fee goes to your chosen scheme. The register is there to help prevent theft and aid in recovery and was set up by the NFSUK in March 2017. This register is for scooters and power chairs and registration is done online. You can find out or register your vehicle HERE


February 5, 2018 |

And The Winner Is…

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L-R: June Caffyn Littlehampton Manager, Alan Gammon Littlehampton Trustee, Donna Eade NFSUK, Patricia Naismith Braehead, Christine Olsen Braehead Manager, Claire McMackin High Wycombe.

Congratulations to Braehead Shopmobility in Glasgow who took home this year’s Tom Hillier Award. 

On the 30th of November Representatives from the healthcare industry gathered together at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel to celebrate 2017 and those who made it a great year. Hosted by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and compared by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson the awards recognised marketing campaigns, products, services and individuals. Among those awards presented on the night was the NFSUK Tom Hillier Award. This year the Judging panel chose not only to award the trophy to the most exceptional scheme but also to recognise some of the schemes who showed outstanding service to the public.

Highly Commended schemes were:

High Wycombe Shopmobility

Littlehampton Shopmobility

Perth Shopmobility

A special award was issued to Alan Gammon and Littlehampton Shopmobility for their outstanding contribution to the National Mobility Register ( The award recognised Littlehampton as the pilot scheme for the register which was nationalised in March 2016.

It was a great evening of celebration for all the hard work everyone had put in over the last 12 months and we were delighted to have 3 of our schemes in attendance to collect their awards.


December 13, 2017 |

BHTA retailers now listed on the NFSUK site

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The NFSUK is managed by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and as such members of the NFSUK sign up to abide by the BHTA Code of Practice. This Code of Practice is overseen by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and this means those signed up to the code promise

  • Not to pressure sell
  • Not to cold call
  • Not to sell anything to you that isn’t fit for purpose

This is why the NFSUK recommends buying from a BHTA member. To help you easily find BHTA retailers, we have now introduced BHTA retailer companies to our website. All you have to do is click on the categories above the map on the home page and select Retailer, this will bring up all the current BHTA retailers we have listed. You can then filter this by adding the town you wish to shop in, into the search bar to see if there are any local to you. We hope that the list of retailers will increase over the coming months so please check back regularly for the most up to date listings.

You can tell a BHTA member by the display of the BHTA and CTSI logo seen to the right. Members will often have this logo on their website and displayed within their stores.

If you have any questions regarding this new feature or questions about BHTA members then please email us at and we will try our best to answer them for you.


November 29, 2017 |

Your Donations Count

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Every Penny Counts

The National Federation of Shopmobility is a non-profit organisation, we are lucky to have members of the public who wish to donate to the work we do and help us help shopmobility schemes across the UK. Until now we haven’t had an easy way that this can be done, however, last week our donation button went live on our website. You can now donate easily with any major credit or debit card through our PayPal account. You do not have to set up a PayPal account to do this and you can decide how much you donate.
If you have a local scheme we would love for you to donate directly to them. However, if you don’t have a local scheme or you want your donation to benefit as many schemes as possible then we would be glad to accept your donation to further the work we do with shopmobility schemes.
To donate just hit the donate button on the right-hand side of this page and PayPal will walk you through the process step by step. We are not able to claim gift aid as we don’t charge VAT.

November 10, 2017 |

Tom Hillier Award Entries Close Tomorrow

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BHTA, NFSUK Staff, along with Chairman of Littlehampton Shopmobility and last years winners Basingstoke Shopmobility

If you haven’t voted for your scheme you have until tomorrow to do so. The Tom Hillier Award is an award that recognises outstanding service within the National Federation of Shopmobility. Every scheme in the federation is eligible and it is you the public who tell us why your scheme should win. Shopmobility is a unique experience and we get lots of entries telling us how wonderful the staff are and how helpful and friendly they are. All schemes should be very proud of the fact they are known for their great customer service.


However, the Tom Hillier Award needs something that goes above and beyond this to set the scheme apart from the others. So if your scheme has helped you in a way that goes above and beyond the usual great service they provide do let us know. And if you’re too late to tell us this year save it and let us know next year.


This year the Tom Hillier award will be presented at the British Healthcare Trades Awards Dinner hosted by the BHTA (British Healthcare Trades Association) and is being held in London and Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson will be presenting the awards. The very best of luck to all those who have entered this year and Thank You for another year of super customer service.

September 29, 2017 |

Welcome to our News Feed

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We will be posting news from the NFSUK and also from our members, so stay tuned and check back often.

You may have noticed we have a countdown timer for the deadline of Tom Hillier award nominations on the right of the page. If you haven’t yet nominated your scheme go to the public information tab above and click on the Tom Hillier Award and you can download your form or nominate online HERE

We will be sharing information on the National Mobility Registration Scheme owned by the NFSUK for the benefit of its members and you can find out more about that service over on the NMR site at

Did you know we have printed the Shopmobility directory again for the first time since 2012 there is a new magazine available at all member schemes so drop in today and get yours. Priced at a recommended £4.99 the magazine is full of interesting articles and news as well as containing an up to date list of all the schemes that are joined to the NFSUK.

If you have your copy we would love to hear what you think? We have created a short survey that will take no more than 3 minutes to fill in. Please give us your opinion and feedback so we can make the magazine even better. Your opinions matter please fill in the survey below.

August 4, 2017 |

NFSUK Success at the Mobility Roadshow

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NFSUK Success at the Mobility Roadshow.

At the beginning of June the NFSUK attended the 2017 Mobility Roadshow and for us it was a great success.

We were over the moon to see vast improvements on last years show, including all exhibitors on one level, parking a stones throw from the front door. Even little touches such as toilets with notices that informed before you went in if they were left of right transfer and wheelchair space left at each dinning table.

One of the highlights for us was being situated in the hall which contained the sports arena, in which wheelchair basket ball and wheelchair dancing took place and we couldn’t help but join in. People were laughing and smiling enjoying the music and movement and the wheelchair routines were great.

We were able to meet with Scheme managers, scheme users and people who had no idea who shopmobility were. This made for a varied show for us and it was well worth us being there to hear feedback and inform.

We were also there to raise awareness of the New National Mobility Registration Service. Members of the public were able to come up and ask questions about the registration service which we could answer face to face. We had people sign up across all three days it was a very positive show.  We look forward to next year and hope to see you there.


Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about the National Mobility Registration (NMR).

  • It is for my Motability car?

No. This is for mobility scooters and power chairs, your car is registered with the DVLA and therefore there is no benefit to you to register your car.


  • Is it insurance?

No. This is not an insurance policy we recommend you obtain insurance for your vehicle as an extra precaution. The NMR is a register where we store your registration details against a unique registration number. If the vehicle were to be stolen we would be able to help the police in the tracking of your vehicle using the unique number and your registered details.


  • What happens to my £12 annual fee?

The register costs £12 per year the National Federation of Shopmobility UK (NFSUK) who run the service is a non-profit organisation so we donate a large portion of you fee to the local shopmobility of your choice. You choose which scheme to support when you register. This is asked when you register. Each year the scheme will be given the same donation from your registration. The remainder of the fee will be used to

  1. Maintain the website and improve the website.
  2. Help towards NFSUK costs
  3. And help support all member schemes through NFSUK projects.


  • Why do I need to register my mobility vehicle?

You don’t have to. However, 517 scooters were stolen in 2015 (valued at over £600,000) and only 22% were recovered*. We understand that your vehicle is not just a set of wheels. It is your independence your mobility and you life that is affected by a theft like this. Your scooter or chair becomes an extension of you it’s personal. Our aim is to reunite more people with their vehicles.


  • Why do shopmobility schemes need the donations?

Schemes are heavily manned by volunteers and are heavily underfunding on the whole. We have seen the closure of several schemes over the past three years. We want to help prevent this by helping schemes become less reliant on government funding. Schemes loan scooters and chairs to those with mobility impairments, whether temporary or permanent and regardless of if you own our own scooter. Shopmobility is there to support everyone and we feel there is more and more need for their services. We want to ensure they are able to continue to provide those services and the NMR will help the NFSUK do that.


If you require any further information you can go to where you can also register your vehicle. To find a NFSUK member near you or to find out more about the National Federation of Shopmobility please visit .

August 4, 2017 |
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