In thanking those Governors who are retiring, Lord Sterling said that a great deal of the success of the Scheme to date had been due to their strong involvement and wise counsel over many years. Those Governors retiring are: Joanna Lewis, Alan Dickinson and Paul Spencer CBE.
In warmly welcoming the arrival of five new Governors, Lord Sterling said that he and the Governors and the Motability team in Harlow, headed up by Director Paul Atkinson CBE, are very much looking forward to working together. Each of the new Governors bring different perspectives and experience to the charity and they are: Lord Shinkwin, Cheryl Ward, David Hunter, Dr Stephen Duckworth OBE, and Professor William Webb.
Lord Sterling thanked Motability Operations, who deliver the Scheme on the Charity’s behalf, for once again delivering a splendid level of service to disabled people and their families, and that the Motability Governors very much appreciate the Motability Operations Board’s £400 million charitable donation, which is considerably higher than the Charity was initially expecting. These monies will help the charity to further improve the mobility of disabled people and Lord Sterling asked Mike Betts to pass on his and the Charity’s thanks to Neil Johnson, the Motability Operations Chairman, and his Board.
This is the latest in a series of charitable donations made by Motability Operations over the last 10 years. It has been made possible by an excellent operating performance delivered by Mike Betts and his team, and a windfall principally from the exceptionally buoyant used-car market.
He also commented about what had been an extraordinary year in world affairs, not least environmental concerns - in particular the debate about diesel has been, and will continue to be, of critical importance.
As is usual, the Charity, in its role, is well advanced in detailed consideration of the best use of these monies. Much work has already been done in researching and evaluating the areas which will best help disabled people and their families, and final decisions will be taken in the coming months.
For example, the Charity is, in particular, heavily engaged in examining how to enhance the existing Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle offer, improving the specification of vehicles to provide a more user-friendly experience for disabled people and their families. Furthermore, we are examining how to expand and enhance our Drive from Wheelchair vehicle programme as well as providing more support for complex adaptations. In addition, the pilot with Family Fund is making good progress. Family Fund are selecting children with a profound disability who are under the age of three and are therefore ineligible for DLA (Disability Living Allowance), who would benefit from the use of a vehicle provided by Motability Operations.
All this helps our endeavours to help disabled people and their families ‘on the road to freedom’.