Blue Badge pilot scheme extended
The Blue Badge scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you have a disability. Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Helpline Manager, Elaine Harley, explains how a new pilot project is making it easier for people with dementia to access this important scheme.
Many of you will know that getting a Blue Badge for someone with dementia has been a challenge, unless the person qualifies under physical disability criteria.
In 2013, Transport Scotland started to gather information on extending the eligibility criteria for the scheme to include people with significant cognitive impairment or with a diagnosed mental health issue.
The responses received indicated that there certainly was a need to extend the scheme to people whose physical mobility might be fine but whose cognitive impairment meant that they were no longer safe in busy traffic areas.
It was clear that many in this group and their carers would benefit from holding a Blue Badge, so the driver of the vehicle could park in disabled spaces much nearer to shops and other community facilities.
On 1 April 2016 a pilot project was set up to extend the standard Blue Badge scheme to anyone with a diagnosed mental health condition who receives certain social security benefits and whose lack of awareness of danger from traffic is likely to compromise the safety of the person, or other persons, during journeys. The initial pilot was for a year, but this has now been extended for a further six months and it will run until September 2017. From the start of April this year, Scottish Local Authorities will also have discretionary power to issue a badge for three years instead of just one.
There have been a number of teething troubles with the scheme, and publicity for the pilot has been patchy across Scotland. Our Dementia Advisors, Link Workers and local services have worked hard to promote awareness of this pilot. If you know someone who would benefit from having a Blue Badge please get in touch with the Blue Badge team at your Local Authority or with your local Alzheimer Scotland service.
Alzheimer Scotland is included in a working group monitoring this very welcome extension to the scheme, and we’re keen to hear your stories about ease of applying and the difference having a Blue Badge has made.
Please get in touch and let us know your experience.
Phone: 0808 808 3000 (24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline)