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Her Majesty The Queen standing in front of a car and talking to a gentleman who is sitting in a wheelchair. They are both smiling.

History and Heritage

The Motability Scheme delivered its first vehicles to customers in July 1978 and since then, over five and a half million cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs have been provided to help disabled people with their mobility needs.  

Before the Motability Scheme was established

In the mid-1970s only disabled people who could drive themselves received any government help with transport, usually in the form of a small, blue trike which was unable to take passengers.

As a result, many disabled people were housebound for long periods and dependent on others for their mobility.

Introduction of the new Mobility Allowance

In 1976, the government introduced the Mobility Allowance to help disabled people choose and pay for their own transport.

However, it soon became clear that the allowance wasn’t enough to buy a car.

And so Motability was born in 1977.

The charity was founded to create a car leasing scheme that could offer disabled people the best value for money, give advice on suitable cars and adaptations, and make any adaptations needed.

Anyone who couldn’t afford a car through the Motability Scheme could also apply to us for a grant to make up the difference.

Since then, we’re proud that the Motability Scheme has supplied more than 5.5 million cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs to disabled people across the UK, supported by thousands of grants from our charity every year.

We are now known as Motability Foundation.

Every day we continue to expand our work, both with and for disabled people, focusing on the ongoing changes needed across different types of transport to make all journeys accessible.

The same founding principles underpin our current strategy: 

  • Solutions that meet the needs of disabled people;
  • Providing the highest standard of service;
  • The best possible value for money; and
  • Financial sustainability for the long term.

Our key moments 

This year we’re celebrating how we’ve helped disabled people to make the journeys they choose for 45 years.

Watch our short animation to discover our highlights and our ‘Road to 45’.

Video providing an overview of Motability’s Road to 45.
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Find out more

Grants to individuals and organisations

We have grants available to individuals as well as organisations and charities to help disabled people make more journeys.

Charitable Grants

Innovation and research

Our innovation team has commissioned research to better understand the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing transport.

Impact and Innovation

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

If you have any questions about our grant programmes you can learn more by visiting and reading our FAQs.