A DISABLED Llandudno woman has been given independence by the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service (WMDAS).

The service helped Llandudno’s Shari Elvins, 35, gain independence through complete support from assessment to driving test. WMDAS is a registered charity partly funded by the Welsh Government and has four driving assessment centres across Wales. The North Wales centre is based at Glan Clwyd Hospital

Shari Elvins, has taken advantage of this comprehensive service, which supported her from initial enquiry through to ownership of an appropriately adapted car and full driving licence. This has been critical for Shari particularly as she is a regional assistant manager for a high street clothing retailer and her job involves travel between stores.

Shari was given expert guidance by occupational therapists and driving advisers from the North Wales centre who then worked in partnership with vehicle technicians from the centre to adapt Shari’s private car with a prescribed left handed steering ball and secondary controls fitted to her door (horn, indicators and lights).

Shari has a partially compromised right arm and is unable to operate a car with standard controls, hence WMDAS reviewed her needs and arranged for fitment of suitable solutions.

Shari said: "My time with WMDAS and the centre has been amazing, they have really empowered me. Driving has completely changed my life, the first thing I was excited to do was my food shopping as I didn't have to rely on taxis anymore. I also didn't have to live my life around bus timetables or asking people to give me lifts. It has opened up a lot for me workwise and will definitely help with my career progression."

Shari added: "After a thorough assessment with WMDAS, Tim Cowsill from the centre reviewed my car, he was amazing from start to finish, nothing was too much trouble and it was all about problem solving which he did very well. Everyone at the centre is so friendly and helpful. Tim fitted the adaptations and when I picked up my car it just felt amazing."

Once Shari's car was suitably adapted, she began a series of driving lessons provided by Bev Stevens, a specialist driving instructor with more than 20 years experience who works for WMDAS.

Shari added: "Bev has been amazing and has given me so much confidence. She made me feel at ease as she believed in my abilities. I learnt a lot from her in only a few lessons. Passing my test first time was so emotional, I couldn't be happier as I feel all my hard work and patience has paid off.”