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Author: Philip Graham

Remote Camping With A Disability

Remote Camping With A Disability

Hi All,

Our Google Search Engine has produced an interesting article from over the pond. I wont bore you with too much text on the subject but will let you watch a short video and add the link if the article interests you.

 

 

 

In a nutshell the fire crew involved offered some individuals a “chance of a lifetime” experience. They took two disabled individuals on a 4 day trip to give them a new lease of life and open up new opportunities to them. To read, and see more click here.

 

Feel free to share any similar stories with us and thanks for reading.

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Driving Techniques

Driving Techniques

Hi All,

We have recently come across an issue a gentleman is having regarding the driving of his vehicle. This is in no way our area of expertise so I would like to try and gather some further info/alternative methods or accessories that could help.

I use hand controls which is a new learning curve, up for accelerating down to brake. I can manage most driving situations except the hill start and turning sharp right at the same time. i.e. the right hand is pressing down on the brake the left hand is on the steering spinner knob, the hill is so steep the car rolls backwards as soon as the brake is slightly released and before acceleration can be applied by the upward movement of the hand control.

Alternatively, the central mounted brake is on and the left hand controls this while the right hand is used to accelerate as in a normal hill start. No hands are available to turn the steering wheel in time to turn right.

Trying to hold the vehicle stationary by increasing engine revs is ok for a short period but the tension in the hand begins to make loss of grip after a short period waiting for a break in the on coming traffic.

Can anyone give advice please

Hopefully someone can advise us and we can help out.

Thanks for reading and chat soon.

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VAT Relief Further Info

VAT Relief Further Info

 

Hi All,

Thanks to Mac, a friend of the page, we have had further info and personal experiences shared with us. I’ve asked him if it was okay to forward this on and he had kindly agreed so below are his accounts on the subject.

My motorhome has a number of adaptatios. I was diagnosed with ms over thirty years ago and as is the devil it is has progressed. I have now purchased a number of mh’ s with adaptation to suit my needs. My current one is an Adria Polaris which has ramp acces to the ‘garage’ and air suspension which enables me to lower the van for ease of access. Auto transmission and cruise control. Fortunately I dont require control adaptation but the Merc sprinter power unit and rear wheel drive has an amazing stability and comfort. I was able ,through the conversions to purchase with vat exemption. I always produce my exemption dwp exemption certificate from road fund taxation and with a customs and exercise pre formated downloaded claim form for vat exemption even for its services or repair work.
If you are travelling into Europe, include the form, your vo5 registration document and blue badge. Many aires du service both in France and Spain have disabled motorhome parking spaces which allow free parking. September through to November 2016 my wife and I spent eleven weeks between both countries and didnt have to pay a single euro. Some sites even have electric hook ups which again can also be free of charge. One site, I was unsure, so paid for the night. Next morning, the parking attendant knocked the van door, I assumed I hadn’t paid sufficient but he asked me to sign a recite and repaid the five euro’s very apologetically. He then insisted we should also connect to the electricity bourne which he unlocked for our specific use without any charge. The west coast of france has many of these sites and new ones are appearing along the spanish Pyrenees with the same concessions.
Whilst traveling in Europe, should you have water system failure or electronic problems, you can get much better rates for spates or repair by visiting boat chandleries. Power boats and sail boats use exactly the same components as motorhomes at much better prices. This includes batteries and solar panels. Mac

I’d like to thank Mac again for this and would encourage any of you guys to share similar info on any posts you see. When we set the page up this was exactly what we hoped for and the more involvement, the more helpful the page becomes. Thanks again Mac and thank you all for reading.

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VAT Relief

VAT Relief

 

Hi all,

A frequently debated subject is that of VAT relief on motorhome adaptations and accessories. I will try to help clear this up with a few examples of what does and doesn’t qualify for this. As always we are open to opinions and I’m simply giving our opinions on things, it may be that you can offer up some information we’re not aware of. I’ve pasted the current information of the government website below.

https://www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vat-relief
VAT relief for disabled people
If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you won’t be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use. Also, you won’t be charged VAT on:
the installation and any extra work needed as part of this
repairs or maintenance
spare parts or accessories
The product and your disability have to qualify.
Qualifying products or services
Your supplier can tell you, but usually products designed or adapted for a disability qualify. For example, certain types of:
adjustable beds
stair lifts
wheelchairs
medical appliances to help with severe injuries
alarms
braille paper or low vision aids – but not spectacles or contact lenses
motor vehicles – or the leasing of a motability vehicle
building work like ramps, widening doors, installing a lift or toilet

The goods and services that you are buying have to be for the disabled person’s personal or domestic use. HMRC’s guidance advises that this does not include use for business purposes. Thus, HMRC comment that if a self-employed blind person purchases a Braille embosser for a computer that is used in his business, then that purchase cannot be zero-rated. The legislation does not actually define personal use so it may be that some business use should not preclude relief. You should be aware, though, that HMRC could challenge any claim that such goods or services were purchased for personal or domestic use.

The good or services must be just for your own use, not for use by anyone else. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and buy goods and services for both of you to use, then you will not have to pay VAT.

Below I have found an example of what qualifies in a home environment. I have added this as a lot of the examples will cross over to motorhomes/caravans. Hopefully it will also clear up what/why certain accessories are not considered VAT exempt.

Alterations to your home
There is no general VAT relief on building modifications for disabled people. However, some specific building works (including materials connected to the work, preparatory work and making good the immediate area) to adapt a private  residence (including garden, granny annex or similar and second home or holiday home) because of your disability can qualify, including:
constructing ramps or widening doorways or passages to help getting in and out of a home or move around inside it
installing, extending or adapting a bathroom, shower room, washroom or lavatory where the work is necessary to suit the condition of the disabled person
installing a lift – such as a stair lift or chair lift – that is designed for use in connection with a wheelchair
installing an alarm system so you can call for assistance.
Unfortunately, some things which you might think should qualify do not, such as:
constructing new doorways or passages
installing, extending or adapting a downstairs bedroom
alterations to accommodate special medical equipment (the equipment itself might qualify for relief, but the alterations to your home do not)
materials from building merchants in connection with works performed by a family or friend for free or in a Do-It-Yourself capacity.
One area that gives rise to difficulty is kitchens. You can only get VAT relief on equipment designed specifically to suit disability, for example, a bespoke knee space hob unit specially made for a wheelchair user to sit at it (however the hob appliance itself would not qualify). Relief is not available on general purpose equipment even though it does, in fact, alleviate disability. For example, a mass-produced corner carousel in a kitchen may make things easier for a person with MS suffering with fatigue or lack of energy, but it is also a convenience for able-bodied people and a better means of utilising space. Although it is undoubtedly of use to the person with MS, it has been designed for general use and not more specifically for a disabled person.
Other equipment
A range of goods and services (bought or leased) might be free of VAT if they are specially designed to help with a disability. Examples include:
wheelchairs and carriages (including most mobility scooters)
medical or surgical appliances – like pacemakers, artificial respirators, artificial limbs or leg braces, (but plasters, bandages, and so on do not qualify as they are not appliances)
electrically or mechanically adjustable beds (must be akin to beds commonly used in hospital wards)
commode chairs, stools and other similar devices to aid with bathing
chair and stair lifts for wheelchairs
computer software designed specifically for disabled people, for example to overcome communication problems
hoists and other lifting equipment including lift and tilt or riser chairs
emergency alarm call systems of the type that link you to a specified person or a central control centre
low-vision aids (magnifying equipment, and so on) but not spectacles or contact lenses
Braille embossers and other similar equipment, such as a braille keyboard
gadgets and devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled people, like kettle tippers and long-handled pick-up sticks
text telephones, but not hearing aids (unless for the auditory training of deaf children)
incontinence products
specialist clothing, footwear and wigs (but not dentures).
You might also be able to get VAT relief on:
the cost of installing some of the items in the list above
the cost of adapting general-purpose goods to suit your particular needs (including any materials needed to adapt the goods but not the cost of the goods themselves)
repair and maintenance costs of qualifying goods such as those listed above
parts and accessories designed solely to go with qualifying items (for example, a generator purchased to run a stair lift if there is a power cut does not qualify because it is a general-purpose item that could have other uses).

So whilst it is clear that accessories specifically dedicated to disabled use are VAT free (wheelchair carriers, lifts etc) other more generic accessories (towbars, grab handles etc) may not as they could have a more general purpose in the eyes of the government.

Hopefully this is of use to some of you and thank you for reading.

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Leveling Systems

Leveling Systems

Hi all,

We have recently come across a product that may suit many of you, at a considerably lower price than you pay for similar/inferior products currently on the market. With this in mind we thought it was worth bringing to your attention so you could examine the options further……..

Having a stable and level camper parked is the dream of every camper. Sleep undoubtedly much better, your intimate moments will remain so, pots and pans do not slip from your hob, fit snow chains or change a tire will be easier and more comfortable.

 

The LEVELLING KIT HYDRAULIC  AUTOMATIC  MA-VE offers this with a truly amazing price-quality ratio.

Conceived and realised taking care of every detail to give you quality, reliability, comfort and top performance category, consists of a hydraulic power supplied 12V or 24V and a hand pump as a guarantee to withdraw even feet in case of power failure .

The 4 lifting cylinders can be chosen from among the different models available in our range. The different models are characterised by different capabilities in terms of lifting force, different dimensions in the drive position, different work trips and different types of interface to the frame to meet all the requirements POSSIBLE.

All types of cylinder are painted with 5 coats of paint for a duration against the really high mountain and corrosion end a large flat surface on the floor to prevent subsidence. The plate is suitably stiffened by ribs and realised in stainless steel for durability and fitted with a water drain holes and fixed to the cylinder in non-rigid manner to ensure a correct support on uneven surfaces.

The accompanying electronic control unit is able to perform automatic complement manual cycles levelling or allow easy achievement of other objectives such as the emptying of the tanks. The user interface is instead characterised by a simple control panel that integrates adorned the original your vehicle in an elegant and discreet way.

A completion is also it located on an APP for smartphones that allows remote control of the system and ensures further simplification of operations.

Control Panel

Practical, stylish and well integrated within your RV, let you manage in a simple and intuitive all the features through automatic leveling, the manual leveling, unloading tanks and alarm management.

Top technology

to better use your leveling system can also be operated remotely via a dedicated APP down loadable on your smart phone that still enhances the functionality and comfort.

Practical, stylish and well integrated within your motor home, enabling you to manage in a simple and intuitive all the features through automatic leveling, the manual leveling, unloading tanks and alarm management.

– Stainless steel floating plate with water drain holes

– CUT-OFF optional mechanical security system that prevents the return leg in the event of accidental discharge pipe cut

– 5 coats of paint for a great durability

At £3500 inc VAT, with a £750 inc VAT  fitting fee this system is considerably cheaper than anything else on the market, that is of the same quality. The automatic leveling  is exactly that…one touch leveling. Other “automatic” levelling systems refer to the controlling of the hydraulic legs.

To look into it further and find your nearest fitting center, go to their site and take a look.

Thanks for reading and hope this info is useful to you.

 

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Buying a caravan or motorhome for modification

Buying a caravan or motorhome for modification

Hi all,

If you intend to buy a caravan or motorhome in order to have it modified to cater for additional needs, it is important to do your research first and ensure that the model you choose is suitable for the adjustments you require. A reputable supplier of accessibility aids will let you know if yours isn’t suitable for their products, but this won’t come to light until after you have spent a considerable sum of money on your new vehicle.

Buying a modified vehicle also requires a certain level of research before committing to a purchase. While the adjustments may sound great on paper, you will need to make sure that they do actually make access and navigation easier for you. Again, failing to do so could result in a very costly mistake.

To avoid financial disasters of this kind, ask the following questions when shopping for a caravan or motorhome:

  • Will the caravan or motorhome fit where you intend to park or store it?
  • If you need a wide entry door, is there one fitted? If not, can it be done?
  • How much does the vehicle cost, including any extra modifications that may be required?
  • Are the controls suitable? If not, will replacing them fit within budget?
  • Do the cab seats swivel?
  • Does the caravan or motorhome include ramps or a wheelchair lift?
  • Is the payload sufficient for any modified equipment you may want to add?
  • Will the internal layout allow you to navigate easily and without too many obstructions?
  • Can you move from wheelchair to seat and back again?
  • Are the light switches and other fittings within easy reach?
  • Is the shower big enough to allow easy access?
  • Can you operate all appliances and equipment? Remember to check the shower, toilet and sinks too
  • Is there room to store a wheelchair (if required) or any other equipment you will need to take along?
  • Are tables and worktops at a suitable height?
  • Does the caravan or motorhome suit your individual requirements? Does it tick all the boxes for what you wanted from your new vehicle?

The questions which are relevant to you will, of course, vary and you may have numerous others which we haven’t added to our list. Take the time to consider what you want, need and can do without before viewing any caravans or motorhomes, remembering to write it all down so you don’t forget anything important on viewing day.

Should you think of an important factor after you have viewed the vehicle, don’t be afraid to contact the dealer and ask. It is essential that the caravan or motorhome is perfect for you and they should understand that.

I hope this is useful to some of you and, as always, feel free to add your comments to improve the post. Thanks for reading.

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Free Members Area

Free Members Area

Hi all,

I am adding a members section to the blog. This is not currently an overused feature as the page is in its baby stages, however I have put it in place so that if we get a lot of spam there is a dedicated area for discussions and/or advice that this wont reach. There is nothing more annoying than getting response notifications on your comments or questions when you are waiting for genuine answers or opinions. This is all free, it is simply for more private discussions.

I hope this is something you find worthwhile but, as always, feedback is welcome.

Thanks for reading.

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Wheelchair Walk Books 

Wheelchair Walk Books 

Hi all,

I have comprised a short list of books, and their authors, together for you to have a look at. I hope some of you find this useful but as always I would welcome opinion or additional material that I haven’t listed.

A few of the books are area specific but there are a few that offer a widespread list of walks that are either wheelchair/buggy friendly by their nature or by design.

  • “Walking with Wheels” by Eva McCracken

  • “Miles without Stiles” for walks in the Lake District

  • “Beautiful Buggy Walks” by Richard Happer

  • “Buggy-Friendly Walks in the Thames Valley”

  • “Lakeland’s Easiest Walks: Suitable for Wheelchairs, Pushchairs and People with Limited Mobility” by Doug Ratcliffe, Margaret Ratcliffe

  • “Dorset Accessible Walks: 25 Accessible Walks in the Beautiful Country of Dorset” by Marie Houlden · Stobart Davies

  • “All-Terrain Pushchair Walks” by Eleanor Simmons

  • “Short Walks on the Pembrokeshire Coast” by Ed Tamkin

  • “Easy Miles No Steps No Stiles”

Thank you for reading.

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First Hand Experience

First Hand Experience

Hi All,

I have recently had the good fortune of an introduction to a couple who’s blog will hopefully be of use to you. Pete and Wendy are the exact target audience for who we want to help and/advise with this blog, however they’ve compiled all their own  experiences, holidays, issues and thoughts into their own site.

They’ve transferred from caravan to motorhome so have a huge wealth of experience to share. Starting in 1989, and still going, they have an active update log from 2000! I certainly hope to consult with them over future thoughts and posts, but to get everything they have posted so far visit them at http://www.wheelgotravelling.info/

As always, feel free to comment and if you have similar sites just let us know and we will look to add them to the page.

Thank you to Pete and Wendy and thank you all for reading.

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Adapted Vehicle Needs

Adapted Vehicle Needs

Hi all,

I have been doing a little research into what people actually want from an adapted/custom built vehicle. Whilst all requirements are specific for the individual I wanted to put a few bullet points that seem to be generic to the subject.

 

  • Wider Doors

  • Fold Out Ramps

  • As much privacy as possible with amenities

  • Grab Handles

  • Hoist/Winch

  • Mobility Scooter Charge Point (whilst wild camping)

  • Wet Rooms

Below is an interesting quote from a lady highlighting some issues and perspectives:

 

For my wheelchair bound husband he wants room to move around in a wheelchair preferably without bashing into the cupboards etc. A roomy wet room with shower chair. Now we feel if it’s a four berth van then the shower room should be in the middle as you don’t want everyone traipsing through the bedroom in the middle of the night to use the loo, so either two convertible seating areas either end, or a fixed bed at one end. It’s a problem as we both want different things. I like sleeping with my man, but if we do that then the stowage of the wheelchair at night becomes a problem. I will have to access the loo at night and would prefer to keep my shins and toes intact. When the bed problem is solved we move on to the space problem. I do not want to be tripping over the wheelchair, or having to ask Steve to move, everytime I want to make a drink, or step outside, cook a meal, see to the dogs, so I want space in the living area. Steve wants a wheelchair lift not a ramp. He feels this enables him to take a coffee outside and come in independently if I am not around (dog walking or shopping etc. It’s the discussion we are having at the moment. It’s why I want a slide out, but he’s not keen. I want to look at Winnebagos etc, he wants to stay British and short. I can see all the reasons for and against on both sides and it’s giving me a headache!

Ultimately it seems that dignity/normality should be the cornerstone of any product or customization.

Thank you for reading and ,as always, please comment to make this post better.

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