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Plans announced for network of 'enabled living centres'

Details have been announced for a planned network of seven 'enabled living' centres around the UK where disabled people will be able to see, compare and try a wide range of aids to mobility and independent living.

The first centre opened in Evesham, Worcestershire, in October 2008, and includes an outdoor all-terrain test track for mobility scooters, wheelchairs and walking aids as well as indoor displays and demonstrations of other aids.

"People with disabilities are among the most disadvantaged when it comes to buying the very things that will help to make their lives easier, and we aim to redress that," said David Badham, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and Chairman of Indy Independent Living, the company established to operate the new centres.

"Expensive items such as stair lifts and walk-in baths are often bought without the opportunity for users to test and compare different types, while choosing the most appropriate wheel chair calls for expert advice which is rarely available at the point of sale."

Showroom under construction"While the internet and mail order have made it easy for people to buy a vast array of disability aids they cannot ever provide the opportunity to see, feel, try and compare all the options. These are exactly the gaps which Indy centres aim to fill."

Each Indy centre will have its own resident Occupational Therapist as well as qualified support staff. The company will also provide e-commerce and mail order facilities for all the equipment on display at the centres.