Wheelchair loan service closes as the site is deemed not cost-efficient

The British Red Cross has announced the closure of a wheelchair loan service it operates in Lancing, West Sussex. The organisation will not renew the lease at Brooklands House, citing that the service was no longer cost-effective from the site.

With the service due to close in late July, users of the Lancing service will now have to go to neighbouring Hove and Rustington in order to borrow a wheelchair.

Speaking to the Worthing Herald, Aaron Stevens, British Red Cross Mobility Aids Hub Manager for Sussex, explained that the Red Cross had to invest funds and lease buildings in the cost-efficient manner to enable it to help as many people as possible.

"We have been looking at the suitability and viability of Brooklands House and have taken the decision to end the lease,” explained Aaron.

"While it has been used to provide wheelchairs and other mobility aids to people in the Lancing area, it is no longer cost effective to deliver our services from this particular site, given the proximity of other Red Cross buildings.”

Additionally, Aaron noted that the organisation regularly carries out reviews of its properties to guarantee the buildings are not under-used, unsuitable for teams locally or in a wrong location for service users.

The closure follows another Red Cross loan service closure in Banbury this April

"People who need mobility aids can still borrow them from other Red Cross buildings in the area, including Hove,” added Aaron.

"There is also a home delivery service for users who are unable to collect items from our centres.”

Operating its wheelchair loan service from various outlets across the UK, the British Red Cross allows individuals to borrow a wheelchair from the charity for a single trip or for short-term use.

The organisation says it runs the service to fill a gap left by the NHS, where people who need a wheelchair for a ‘short-term’ ailment (officially, anything lasting less than six months), are not guaranteed use of a wheelchair.

Costs of using the service differs depending on the location, with the majority asking for a donation whilst others charge, although the charity confirmed people who cannot afford it will not be turned away.

"We realise that making changes to our buildings can be unsettling for those who have been involved with the service, so we are committed to putting in place a smooth transition process and communicating this change as sensitively as possible,” finished Aaron.

"We can’t offer enough thanks to our amazing volunteers for everything they have contributed to our mobility aids service and we look forward to continuing to provide our vital services to people in Lancing through alternative means.”

To find out more about the loan service, visit HERE