Prisoner in my own home: Falkirk OAP's fears after ban on storing mobility scooter at flat

A Falkirk pensioner fears being left a prisoner in her own home after Falkirk Council banned access to her home with her mobility scooter due to fire safety issues.

By Darren Gibb
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 4:07 pm

Mrs Jean Dobbie (81), who lives in the town’s Symon Tower, needs to use her mobility scooter as she has trouble walking short distances due to health conditions.

She says the council’s ban on storing them in the tower block has left her a virtual prisoner in her own home as she struggles to walk the distance to the garage she has been allocated for her much needed mobility aid.

The council provides the facility, where she can also charge her scooter, but the pensioner claims it is damp and dimly lit, and that has caused problems with the scooter’s battery, but has also caused her to trip and fall on two separate occasions.

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The Callendar Park high rise blocks, including Symon Tower

She said: “Eighteen months ago I was told very abruptly by Falkirk Council that I would have to store my scooter in a garage which is damp, cold, and dimly lit.

"Within a few days of it being stored in the garage problems started with the battery.

"It stopped completely when I was out on it and I only got home due to a lovely couple who saw me and stopped to help, and gave me a lift home.

"I have also fallen twice in the garage due to it being dimly lit.

"Again thanks to neighbours who called the Mobile Emergency Care Service, I was only left with broken glasses, a few bruises, and a large lump on my head – luckily I never broke any bones.”

Mrs Dobbie said she has lost faith in her scooter’s reliability and is now leaving her home less often as a result.

"Even though I have bought new batteries and a stronger charger for it, I have lost a lot of faith in it since it has been stored in the garage,” she said.

"I used to enjoy going out for a cup of tea but now I now only go out once or twice a week – I feel like a prisoner in my own home!

"I have repeatedly asked the council questions regarding taking my scooter into my flat, even just to dry it out after being in the damp garage, but I get no answers – nobody is interested anymore.

"There are people up here in the high flats who are worse off than me – I always thought that when you reach my age all you wanted was a nice quiet life.”

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We work with partners including Scottish Fire and Rescue to ensure our residents are safe within their properties and we have a duty to comply with the law relating to fire safety.

“Unfortunately, due to fire safety issues mobility scooters cannot be stored within the flats and communal areas.

“We are carrying out a range of improvement works at the high flats which includes the provision of suitable storage and charging facilities for mobility scooters.”

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