The Big Event gets Manchester’s disabled drivers on the road with the help of soap star Cherylee Houston

Soap actress, and Motability Scheme customer, Cherylee Houston officially opened the biggest disability event of its kind in Manchester last week. The Motability Scheme was celebrating the 10th anniversary of its One Big Day events and attracted more than 8,000 visitors to EventCity in Manchester to discover all they need to know about the Scheme. Hosting the UK’s largest display of vehicles available for disabled people, the flagship two-day event made its return to Manchester on 5 and 6 May 2017.

More than 500 visitors took to the wheel and experienced a test drive with a professional driving instructor, in a range of adapted and non-adapted cars. Test drives give guests the chance to get a feel of which vehicles might best suit their individual needs and visitors had the option to test drive the cars themselves, or be taken as a passenger. The Big Event provided the opportunity to try a variety of cars and adaptations all in one place. There were over 15 adapted cars available to test drive,  fitted with some of the most popular adaptations on the Scheme including hand controls, steering wheel balls, electronic brakes and left foot accelerators.

Visitors enjoyed exploring the Motability Scheme’s diverse display of vehicles including more than 100 cars from around 27 of the leading manufacturers including Vauxhall, Ford, Nissan and Peugeot. The Big Event also gave visitors the opportunity to explore over 25 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and 40 scooters and powered wheelchairs, as well as a wide range of products from adaptation suppliers. Attendees were able to talk to Motability Scheme advisors and gather useful information from Scheme partners – Kwik Fit, RAC and RSA Motability – as well as advice from Driving Mobility and Disabled Motoring UK.

For the first time ever, The Big Event had a quiet room featuring sensory lights and toys as well as soft play mats and bean bags to make the event more accessible to people with autism and other cognitive disabilities.

Younger visitors made the most of the free children’s entertainment and enjoyed playing on the bouncy castle, getting their faces painted and taking photos with the Motability Scheme mascot, Billy the Bear.

Alison Beasley, The Big Event organiser, Motability Operations Ltd, said:

“We are always excited about returning to Manchester for The Big Event and this year was even more special as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our One Big Day programme. It was great to have one of our customers and soap star Cherylee Houston officially open the event and talk to visitors about her experience on the Scheme.

“With the introduction of the quiet sensory room at this year’s event we are proud to have been able to make the event friendlier for those with cognitive disabilities and look forward to increasing these facilities in the future. We’re pleased that so many visitors were able to take part in test drives and it’s wonderful to see disabled motorists feeling confident about getting on the road with the Motability Scheme.”

All the One Big Day events are free to attend, including free parking. Visitors are also treated to a free cup of tea or coffee when they arrive. The events open at 9am and close at 4pm.

Full programme of 2017 One Big Day events:

  • One Big Day Exeter – Westpoint, Saturday 15 July 2017
  • One Big Day Harrogate – Yorkshire Event Centre, Saturday 12 August 2017
  • One Big Day Peterborough – Peterborough Arena, Saturday 9 September 2017
  • One Big Day Edinburgh – Royal Highland Centre, Saturday 23 September 2017

Find out more about One Big Day online at and for the latest announcements, pictures and videos, visit the ‘Motability Events’ Facebook page (
For more information on leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability Scheme, visit or call 0800 953 7000.

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