Shrewsbury Ambassador empowered thanks to Recare – supplied Motability Permobil powerchair

Church volunteer and Shrewsbury Ambassador, Ruth Bertenshaw, can travel with confidence thanks to a new Motability powerchair from Oxfordshire supplier Recare – after a previous dealer literally left her stranded.

Ruth received her previous powerchair in March 2020, also funded through the Motability scheme. Her previous powerchair supplier informed Ruth they would return in a few weeks to make necessary alterations, as the chair was incomplete and set up incorrectly upon handover despite Motability’s stipulations. Ruth subsequently learned through a Facebook disability information site that the company entered administration soon after. 

Ruth says:

“When I received that powerchair, I was given the impression there were a few simple issues that would be easily resolved when the supplier returned. I quickly realised that there was more to it. The powerchair would only travel for two miles until it lost all power leaving me stranded. It was an absolute lemon! I’ve had five powerchairs, so I’m experienced enough to tell the difference between a good and bad one.”

Living in Shrewsbury, a hilly town with old, cobbled streets to navigate, Ruth needs a reliable powered wheelchair, that can cope with slopes and different terrains, to maintain her independence and active involvement with the local community. As a town ambassador, Ruth volunteers as a guide for visitors and is a Learning Ambassador for a local church. In 2018, she won the Churches Conservation Trust’s North Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Ruth’s health conditions began seventeen years ago when she was diagnosed with a knee tumour, and a subsequent collapsed spinal cord. After being struck on the head by a customer at work, Ruth had a stroke and is now a full-time powerchair user. Having been left in the lurch by her powerchair supplier, Ruth contacted Motability and was assigned to a different mobility dealership – Recare based in Oxfordshire.

Ruth says:

“I felt strongly that I needed a new powerchair altogether, especially after I became stranded in the middle of Shrewsbury when trying to visit my sick mother. Thankfully, we have one accessible taxi firm locally, Shrewsbury Taxis, as I became totally reliant on their wheelchair accessible vehicles. After several visits from Recare, offered free of charge, they strongly advocated on my behalf with Motability for them to agree to a replacement powered wheelchair. Recare could not have been more helpful in assisting me in resolving everything.” 

Ruth continues:

“We were in lockdown due to the pandemic, so Allan Mitchell and Ray Wright, Recare Rehabilitation Consultants, arranged an outdoor assessment in a convenient location, near to where I live. They took full measurements and discussed my requirements thoroughly. They really went through everything in great detail. I explained that my preference was for a mid-wheel-drive powerchair. Living where I do, I needed absolute confidence that I will stop on a slope!”

Recare suggested a test-drive of Permobil’s latest mid-wheel-drive M5 Corpus, new to the Motability scheme – a powerchair with exceptionally advanced features, combining comfort and stability with the ability to travel further. Straight away, Ruth says, she could tell that this was a well-built and thoughtfully designed powerchair: “The Permobil M5 Corpus is a fantastic piece of mobility equipment. I was really keen to go ahead; however, there was a necessary upfront expense which I couldn’t afford. I approached several charities, but due to lockdown they were all in a difficult position and funding wasn’t available. Needless to say, Recare considered an alternative solution by suggesting the Motability leasing scheme. They went back and forth to Motability as my advocate to work through the costing. Given the position I had been left in with the previous powerchair, this removed all the stress for me, and was the reason I was able to get this powerchair that is truly right for my needs.” Following Ruth’s assessment and having finalised financing, Ruth’s new Permobil powerchair was delivered just over a month later. 

Now available to Recare clients through the Motability scheme, the latest version of the M5 Corpus provides an exceptional driving experience both indoors and out. With enhanced range and battery life, Ruth benefits from longer journeys with added reassurance and stability. Powered elevating legrests heighten comfort and circulation. The unique ‘Active Reach’ function allows the M5 to tilt forward in addition to the standard tilt function, helping with daily tasks such as cooking. The Permobil M5 Corpus powerchair also offers ‘Active Height’ seat elevation, which means Ruth can drive and operate the powerchair whilst maintaining eye level during conversations. With agile suspension and customisable seating, Ruth can now comfortably and safely navigate through her hometown independently and not worry about getting stranded. 

Ruth adds:

“I really appreciate how much thought and craftsmanship have gone into the Permobil M5 Corpus. There is real attention to detail such as an allen key conveniently stored in the backrest, and a flap cover for the legrests so I’m not exposed to the hard workings of the wheelchair. These details make all the difference. I don’t think I could go back to an inferior powerchair– they just aren’t reliable. One of my previous wheelchairs had frequent issues with parts, including the motors, electrics, and suspension. On one occasion, the wire that connected the motors to the battery burnt through, causing me to have a nasty accident as the chair swung round. Now, I have full confidence when I’m out and about. Plus, Permobil’s bespoke options meant that I could personalise my powerchair – I’ve had so many comments about the fact that it’s an eye-catching purple!”

Ruth highly recommends leasing through the Motability scheme as without this option, she would not have been able to achieve independence with peace of mind. Ruth concludes: “The Motability Scheme is great – it certainly does remove a lot of stress. And I’m now a proud owner of a Permobil M5 Corpus which has made a huge difference to my life. I have complete control going up and down Shrewsbury hills as my powerchair grips well and doesn’t slip or lose traction. Recare really went above and beyond what I expected from a mobility dealer. Nothing is too much effort. In fact, Ray Wright from Recare only recently visited me to adjust my armrests. I am so grateful that I now have a powerchair I can rely on.”