Senior citizens in Thornliebank have stuck by their ‘you only live once’ motto by getting back behind the wheel as they go head to head on go karts.
The thrill-seeking elderly residents from Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home said they would ‘give anything a try once’ as they whizzed around the track at The Experience, Scotland’s only electric go karting arena.
Among the group was Percy who turns 102 later this month, along with 95-year-old Ellen, 88-year-old Betty, and Alistair and Davie – both 77.
Driven around the tracks in side by side or tandem karts, the residents took part in a programme called Accessible Karting, an initiative that allows people with limited mobility or additional support needs the chance to whizz round a go karting track at high speeds – something many of them never thought possible.
The programme is extremely popular with children and young adults. Some of the regular customers are paralysed, have severe autism, are blind, have learning difficulties or live with a number of other support needs.
The team are now focused on extending the offering to elderly customers who still want to embrace everything life has to offer and even have a hoist to support getting in and out of the karts. Percy is the oldest customer they have ever had on the karts and turned down assistance as he hopped in behind the wheel.
Many of the residents at Whitecraigs Care Home miss driving and the independence that it offers, while others have never driven before and would love to know what it feels like.
95-year-old Ellen said: “I would give everything a try once and I’m glad I got the chance to go on the go karts. I told Betty that I would do it if she would, so I had to go for it. I kept telling them to go faster, it was great.
“I can’t wait to tell my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all about it. I hope that it inspires them to be brave and embrace every opportunity.”
The staff at Whitecraigs Care Home regularly encourage residents to step outside their comfort zones and try new things.
Amanda Randou, activities coordinator at Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home, said: “We’re always shocked, and very impressed, by the kind of activities that residents are willing to try. We get requests within the care home to take part in things like zip lining and skydiving and we try to accommodate as much as we can.
“It was great to be able to send them out on the go karts knowing they will have a great time in safe environment, and I’m thrilled with their response. They had a great day and I’m sure we’ll be back.”
The Experience and the Accessible Karting programme are social enterprises run by Kibble, offering young people living in care the chance to gain work experience as part of their education.
Victoria Ross, worked based learning tutor at Kibble and manager of the Accessible Karting initiative, said: “Our customers love heading out on the karts, and for us, it’s amazing to be able to provide the experience for people who thought they would never get the chance to do something like this.
“We will always, to the best of our ability, accommodate all customers, and to have elderly residents whizzing around the track is a great example of the accessibility of the programme.”
To find out more about Accessible Karting and to book, visit The Experience