Sarah’s Big Aberdeen Story

DSC00440As a child aged 9 (1977) I was knocked down in a road traffic accident. I sustained a fractured skull which left me with brain and nerve damage. Schooling wasn’t easy, but I managed to scrape by with a few qualifications. On leaving school, I joined a Youth Training Scheme which I successfully passed and began applying for jobs. I applied for a lot of jobs, but due to my disability nobody invited me for interview. After a great deal of perseverance, someone told me “You’re hired”. Unfortunately, I was bitterly disappointed when, due to my disabilities, I didn’t pass their 6 month probationary period. It was then that I decided to join a Disablement Scheme to help me find work. In 1987 I gained employment as a Civil Servant until due to my declining health I was forced into Ill Health Retirement in 2014.

I was devastated, as I still felt that I had much to give but I had no idea what to do and my confidence was at a very low ebb. By luck, I met Barbara, Chairperson of Shopmobility Aberdeen. She explained about what the charity does and that they were always looking for volunteers to support their work. This sounded perfect and I joined the Shopmobility Aberdeen volunteer crew. They gave me on the job training and also gave me the opportunity to go on a college course – Introduction to British Sign Language – which I successfully passed.

Being part of Shopmobility Aberdeen has given me confidence and a sense of achievement. I have made new friends, built up a rapport with customers and have renewed purpose. They do not judge and are happy with what you can do, not what you can’t. Most of all, I feel that I am no longer on the scrap heap and that my life is still worth living.

Aberdeen issues from this story

How can employers, transport companies, retailers and planners make Aberdeen more accessible to people with disabilities?
What support do you need in order to volunteer or to recruit disabled volunteers?
If you or a family member were temporarily disabled would you know what help is available?

Shopmobility Aberdeen is Sarah’s STORYTELLER.

Shopmobility Aberdeen is a busy charity that aims to empower, liberate and promote social inclusion for thousands of people with mobility problems. We provide a range of convenient services for those with a mobility difficulty or impairment.

Shopmobility Aberdeen’s aim is to increase independence, freedom, self- esteem and choice for people with disabilities.

We are a service dedicated to helping anyone with a mobility difficulty, be it temporary or permanent, who wishes to visit Aberdeen city centre to conduct business, enjoy our many visitor and cultural attractions or to visit the city’s wide variety of shops, leisure and business services.

We offer assistance to anyone experiencing a mobility or sensory impairment.

By providing the loan of a battery powered scooter, a battery powered wheelchair or a manual wheelchair to help ease your walking difficulty, and the assistance of a volunteer escort if required. Shopmobility Aberdeen is about freedom to get about the city centre.

You do not have to be registered disabled to use the scheme. It is available to those with sport or road accident injuries as well as those with long term disabilities.

The service is open to anyone living in or visiting Aberdeen.

If you would like to know more about our services and how we might assist you please contact us and we will be delighted to help.

Visit: Shopmobility Aberdeen, 2, First Level Mall, Union Square, Aberdeen, AB11 5RG
Tel: (01224) 254338
Web site:


  • Aberdeen Harbour Board has provided funding for Shopmobility through its community fund
  • Union Square is the base for Shopmobility and has provided with accommodation through its management
  • Rainbow City Taxis are sponsors of Shopmobility
  • Aberdeen Airport Community Trust has provided support to Shopmobility and is open all year round for funding applications,
  • Further advice and support for organisations or individuals concerned with transport and mobility for people with disabilities can be found at ACVO by talking to Alison Chandler or John Aggasild on 01224 686058.  Alison works closely with the Harbour Board and Airport on their support of the community.
  • Studio NEC are a web design and digital marketing company which has supported Shopmobility. Alasdair Simpson or Alison Chandler at ACVO can provide other help in finding support in this area.
  •  Services for disabled people from First Bus, ScotRail and Northlink Ferries
  • North East Sensory Service provides support to people with sight or hearing impairment and those working or volunteering in this field
  • Other organisations working with people with disabilities in the City include Aberdeen Action on DisabilityARCHIE FoundationI-connect North EastVisit AberdeenAberdeen Inspired
  • Access to Work – An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition to help you start work, stay in work or become self-employed. It doesn’t have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits. It can be used to for various things such as fares to work if you can’t use public transport or special equipment.
  • Momentum Skills – Momentum’s services help a wide range of people, including those with a brain injury, spinal injury, mental health difficulty, physical or learning disability, in the areas of employment and training, job retention and community rehabilitation. The organisation also provides social care and supported living services to people in their own homes.
  • Volunteering opportunities exist for everyone with many being entirely appropriate for people with physical disabilities.  Individuals seeking opportunities and organisations seeking support and guidance in opening up opportunities to disabled volunteers can seek support from ACVO’s Mike Melvin at 01224 686058 or visit the Volunteer Centre online at

What Happened Next

  • Sarah continues to provide invaluable help to Shopmobility Aberdeen through her volunteering and is a great advocate for our organization and the services it provides. Such is the improvement in her level of confidence since joining us, she has expressed an interest in joining our committee in the New Year and becoming actively involved in the decision making and governance of the charity.
  • Victoria commented “Thank you Sarah for highlighting the excellent job done by Shopmobility Aberdeen in the local community.  I myself have had experience volunteering there and would highly recommend this to anyone looking to meet new people,  learn new skills and further develop themselves. You are an inspiration Sarah. All the best to you and all at Shopmobility.
  • Charles Chisholm commented “Sarah’s Story is very well written. It articulates the difficulties that she has encountered and overcome in her life. I am inspired by Sarah’s drive to do positive things for others notwithstanding the challenges that she has encountered along her own life’s journey.  It is also great to hear that she is now getting involved in the committee and, I’m absolutely sure, will contribute in a very big way towards making a wonderful organisation even better. Well done Sarah and keep up the great work that you are doing for our community.”