Scooter issues, a wider problem

"NOT PINK": Goldberg is looking forward to replacing his old scooter.
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Anthony ‘‘Goldberg’’ Bartlett’s mobility is suffering as his motorised mobility scooter reaches the end of its natural life.

The 48-year-old Ashburton man relies on the scooter day in and day out to get around town. But its seat and other parts of the exterior are held together only by duct tape, and it is prone to breaking down.

With a heart condition and breathing issues, Goldberg can not walk long distances. But he finds himself sometimes having to push his broken-down six-year-old scooter home.

Relying on a sickness benefit, he was having trouble finding the cash to buy a new one, which could cost upwards of $6000.

But service co-ordinator CCS Disability Action Ashburton service coordinator Moira Youngquest has stepped in, saying she is this week helping Goldberg access funds in his KiwiSaver to buy a new scooter.

Goldberg said he had been forever grateful after Ray White of Ashburton helped him to replace his last scooter in 2018, at that time also helping him access money from his KiwiSaver account.

‘‘Any scooter of any colour, not pink,’’ he said of what he would like his new scooter to look like.

Youngquest said Goldberg’s scooter issues highlighted a wider problem.

Disabled in Ashburton could find it financially difficult to afford new scooters, as well as batteries and repairs.

The Ministry of Social Development can help with the cost of batteries and repairs in the form of a loan.

In addition Lottery Individuals with Disabilities provides grants to a maximum of $4000 plus GST.

‘‘It is not uncommon to have to apply a number of times without success,’’ Youngquest said.

She suggested a local trust to which people could apply for funding for scooters and repairs would be helpful.

She said such a trust could also provide a free service for the scooters to be regularly checked.

‘‘This service would not fix the scooters so as not to take away clients from the local businesses that service the scooters in the area.’’

Another suggestion she thought could have some merit was an organisation buying scooter batteries direct from a distributor, to help lower the price of these.