Funding worries for Shopmobility in Yate

January 30 2018

Vice-chairman David Bell, a founding trustee since 2004, said: "We hope we can continue this vital, much-needed service for our users but that is dependent on continued funding."

A SCHEME that provides mobility scooters and wheelchairs in Yate Shopping Centre could limit its opening hours or even close if funding concerns continue.

Shopmobility was established 12 years ago and soon became a lifeline for many South Gloucestershire residents, offering them independence so they could visit the shops and services within the centre.

But those running the scheme said in difficult economic times, there were worries about continued and future funding for the service, with some of its South Gloucestershire Council funding due to end.

Shopmobility is based in Yate's library and attracts users from all over South Gloucestershire and further afield.

Since its launch in 2006, hundreds of people have registered with the scheme.

Vice-chairman David Bell, a founding trustee since 2004, said: "We hope we can continue this vital, much-needed service for our users but that is dependent on continued funding."

Councillor Janet Biggin, who is chairwoman of Shopmobility South Gloucestershire, said: “People come from all over South Gloucestershire and beyond to use Shopmobility as the shopping centre is flat and easily accessible.

“Yate is the only place in the district, apart from the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, where people can visit a variety of shops and services through scooter hire.

“We are really making a difference to those people who use the service to visit the shopping centre - allowing independence to our service users, who would be isolated without it."

As well as daily hire, Shopmobility also hires scooters and wheelchairs for longer periods to those with limited mobility.

In an annual service users’ survey, many people said the service helped them socially as they were able to get out and about, helping to reduce social isolation and improve their health generally. There were even many calls for increased opening hours.

Over the years, the scheme has received funding from a number of sources, including South Gloucestershire Council, the National Lottery, individual donations and town and parish councils.

Anyone who wants to use the scheme can email shopmobilitysouthglos@yahoo.com or phone 01454 868718 or 07999 574474 for further information.

The Shopmobility office is also open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9.30am-4pm and on  Thursdays and Saturdays from 9.30am-2pm.