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It’s a tough job addressing the disability gap

By Frances Waight

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Despite the 2010 Equality Act, there are few signs that disabled people are having an easier time when it comes to securing employment. Although recent figures suggest the number of disabled people in employment increased by 94,000 in 2014/15, the ‘disability gap’ – the difference in the employment rate between disabled people and the rest of the UK population – grew by 4.1 per cent to stand at 32.9 per cent, a little above the average figure for the past 10 years.

When a suitable position is available, with an employer keen to provide the appropriate support, a job can often fall through because of transport problems. It will not be until 2020 that all buses and coaches in Britain must be wheelchair accessible by law. In the meantime – even if a wheelchair user is lucky enough to find a suitable bus service – there are still issues to overcome, such as the misuse of wheelchair spaces and the reluctance of bus drivers to intervene to offer assistance.

The reality for now is that disabled people need to bypass public transport to get to work. Thankfully the Motability scheme provides help to more than 640,000 people in the UK in the form of a suitably modified lease vehicle.

But what if you are without your leased car while awaiting maintenance or repair? Previously such a calamity would have led to an enforced spell away from work. Thankfully Adapted Vehicle Hire can help employers and employees with these predicaments, offering wheelchair accessible vehicles and adapted cars for a day, a week, a month or longer – whatever you need to ensure employees can still go about their daily routine.

In 10 years AVH has grown from a small provider with just a handful of wheelchair accessible and adapted vehicles, to a nationwide business able to meet the needs of hundreds of drivers, wheelchair users and carers, with a wide range of transport options for all manner of disabilities.

Key to the company’s success is its deep understanding that everyone’s requirements are different. This starts with an individual consultation with each customer before they are allocated a vehicle and extends to a personal hand-over of the car to ensure it is suitable, and the customer is equipped with an understanding of how everything works.

In addition to short-term hire, AVH also offers long-term rentals as a flexible alternative to vehicle purchase or lease. With a minimum rental of just 28 days, this service is ideal for drivers seeking an adapted or wheelchair accessible vehicle for extended periods but with more flexibility than a standard lease. After the 28 days is up, you can return the vehicle at any time.

All AVH adapted vehicles are equipped with a left-foot accelerator and single-lever push-pull hand control as standard, with the option of further special adaptations available as required, and there is a range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles offering one and two wheelchair positions.