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The Recharge Scheme: Improving Mobility Access

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 7th, 2011

The RECHARGE Scheme™ is about encouraging local businesses and organisations to provide a power point so you can recharge the battery on your electric wheelchair or scooter, if required. The Scheme was first developed in the Shire of Nillumbik. It is a Disability Services Community Building Program initiative (Metro, Rural and DeafAccess), supported by the Victorian Department of Human Services, in partnership with Local Government. Thousands of organisations and businesses are also proud program partners.

RECHARGE was developed in response to the increasing number of people in Nillumbik with restricted mobility using electric scooters or wheelchairs as a means of transportation. Negotiating the steep roads and footpaths of the area however means that batteries run low more quickly and deter people from travelling longer distances. Through the MetroAccess initiative, we have been able to respond to these needs and draw on the strengths of Local Government and the Community to ensure people who use an electric scooter or wheelchair have more opportunities to participate in their communities.

Based on the community need and subsequent success of the Scheme, many other Victorian councils are joining forces to encourage local businesses and organisations in their area to participate. In November 2010, the RECHARGE Scheme™ received a Commendation by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), as part of its ‘Bold Ideas, Better Lives Challenge’ for a proposed national roll out plan. This is the first significant step towards securing an appropriate Sponsor to fund the national roll out. Pending funding, the Scheme would rolled out Australiawide from 2012.

RECHARGE stickers are displayed on the windows of participating businesses so you can easily find them. There are also RECHARGE stickers placed above or near power points so you can quickly ascertain which power point has been designated for your use.  The RECHARGE website also maintains a list of accessibility resources, and the RECHARGE finder lists recharge points in greater Melbourne.

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