Shrewsbury's Shopmobility service faces closure after two decades

A Shrewsbury charity which offers a service to disabled, infirm and elderly shoppers is being forced to close after 23 years.

Shopmobility Shrewsbury will continue to operate until June.

The decision to close has been a heavy blow for the charity which loans wheelchairs and scooters to shoppers visiting Shrewsbury town centre.

Volunteers at the base also give advice to those using the service, which is based in Raven Meadows multi-storey car park.

A fall in demand and a lack of funding has led to the closure.

Shopmobility aims to promote equality of access and to encourage the independence of people with disabilities, which are either permanent or temporary, through the provision of mobility equipment such as scooters, wheelchairs and power chairs.

Gillian Bradley, Shopmobility Shrewsbury coordinator, said that the number of people using the service had fallen dramatically over the last five years and closure was 'inevitable'.

"We have served the town for 23 years and there are lots of factors that have led to this very hard decision," she said. "It seems the service is just not needed as it was.

"But we are hoping that someone will take it up and run it in the future. It is a very sad decision and we hope there will be some sort of service for the town."

The service is run by volunteers and an appeal for more hands have been put out on social media for the past two years although there has been a shortage of takers.

"We just can not run it anymore," said Gillian.

"Perhaps the council will take it on or the shopping centres. In Telford the town centre management run their service so perhaps that is something that could happen here in Shrewsbury.

"We have tried hard to keep going and we will struggle on until June but we want to let as many people as possible know that we will be closing.

"We have 16 powered wheelchairs and on Monday only one person came forward to use one. Figures of people using the service have been falling over a long period of time. People are finding other ways to get around.

"This is a problem that many Shopmobility services are experiencing and many have shut. To do 23 years in the town is amazing but it just isn't viable for us anymore. Hopefully someone will step in to the breach. It was the only decision we could take."

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