Disabled women banned from charging mobility scooters in Ravenscraig flats

Two disabled women who live in a high-rise flat have been banned from charging their mobility scooters in the building, and have been told instead to walk 150 yards away to use charging points in an underground car park.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 5:04 pm
Catherine and Angela at Ravenscraig flats.

Angela Johnston 60, and Catherine Barclay, 62, live on the 11th and 10th floors respectively at Ravenscraig flats in Kirkcaldy and have been safely charging their mobility scooters in the flats’ storage room on the ground floor for years, but Fife Council recently ordered them to stop, saying it was a fire hazard.

Council staff then recommended the disabled pair dismantle the scooters at the end of each day to remove the heavy batteries and take them up to charge in their homes – something deemed dangerous by the Motability charity.

They have also been told by the council to take the scooters into their homes to charge, but they don’t fit.

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Catherine and Angela have been told that they can no longer charge their scooters in the storage area.

Angela has been using a mobility scooter for around five years, and has been using the storage area to charge it without any problems until recently.

She said: “I was absolutely devastated. I lost my husband just over a year ago, so I don’t have anybody that can go out and get my shopping.

"It’s my only way of getting out and about. I have to go to hospital, to clinics, and without the scooter it would cost me a fortune in taxis.

"It’s quite hurtful. When council workers turn up here they have their electric cars. But they can get their cars charged at a hundred different points that they have.

"We have to go along to Catherine’s sister’s and she’s been really good. By the time we get here we have to save enough charge to get back. It just impedes anything like a normal life.

"This is awful. We’re quite young, it’s not our fault we have disabilities.

Catherine said: "It affects us as we do need to charge them. We’ve had to take them to my sisters 20 minutes away in Dysart and they have to be charged outside in all weather.

"We have to leave them there and sit in the house and wait. But we can’t wait six or eight hours.

"I’ve lost so many hours’ sleep over it. It’s quite distressing because i really need this. It’s my only way of getting out for shopping, appointments or to see people.

"I can’t manage to walk to bus stops. This is a lifeline. I can’t do without it.

Angela said: “We’d both be housebound if not for the scooters. It’s just awful.

“We’ve been fighting this for months but it feels like years.”

Fife Council Housing Manager Joan Lamie commented: "The safety of all the residents in these flats are our top priority. Working with the fire service, we have advised residents that charging mobility scooters in a storage area that has no fire protection is not safe. The fire service has also written to residents to explain this.

"We have provided residents with seven scooter charging pods in the undercover car park area and would urge residents to use this facility.

"We also have plans to provide an additional scooter charging pods on the cobbled area behind the lock ups. This work should be finished by spring next year."