You don’t have to be disabled to use a Shopmobility scheme, in fact it doesn’t matter why you have limited mobility, the service is available for everyone who might need extra help to access shops and attractions in towns and cities. Shopmobility loans out mobility equipment including scooters, powered wheelchairs and manual chairs enabling you to have the freedom to get out and about independently.
This service is available in most towns and cities across the UK so you don’t have to worry about transporting heavy scooters with you if you go to visit friends and family in other parts of the country. Full training is provided before hiring out equipment, in case you’ve not used one before. Anyone can use the service and service users include:
- People with permanent or temporary walking difficulties
- People with heart or lung diseases
- People with a disabling illness
- Heavily pregnant women
- People recovering from a disabling illness or injury
- Older residents or visitors
- People who are recovering from any leg or foot surgery
The great thing about the service is that the lovely people who run it can also deliver the equipment to your location within the city centre. For example, if you’ve just got off a train but can’t walk to the Shopmobility office then you just need to give them a call and they’ll do the rest. If you think you might need the services of a particular Shopmobility regularly you can also sign up for an annual membership with them.
Some Shopmobility schemes will also be part retail outlet and sell mobility equipment such as scooters. For a Mobility battery, visit http://grovesbatteries.co.uk/Mobility.aspx. If you’ve never used a Shopmobility before, the easiest way to find out where they are is to look on the website for the National Federation of Shopmobility’s directory. Over the past forty years, Shopmobility has become a well recognised feature of our towns and cities. There are now 400 regional schemes with 750,000 regular users between them.
It all started in 1970’s Peterborough when members of the Peterborough Disabled Drivers Club were concerned about a proposed shopping centre becoming inaccessible for people with mobility problems. They decided that some form of scheme was needed to hire out wheelchairs for shoppers that needed them. Shopmobility began later that decade with two sites, one in Peterborough and one in Milton Keynes.
More and more sites opened up and by 1990 the National Federation of Shopmobility UK was created to support and promote existing schemes and help with the development of new schemes opening. Shopmobility has gone from strength to strength and now there are around 350 schemes that are NFSUK affiliated and 50 that are unaffiliated. The number of schemes has doubled in just the last decade. Some larger schemes have paid staff with over 40 scooters for hire whereas others are smaller and run by volunteers.