Shift to online purchasing a factor in Herts Ability decision to close equipment centre
Herts Ability (formerly Hertfordshire Action on Disability) has announced that it will relocate from the premises it has called home for 32 years in October, along with closing its mobility equipment centre.
The charity was established in 1958 by the then Welfare Department of the County Council to provide mobility and healthcare equipment to local residents.
Over the years, Herts Ability has expanded the services it offers to includes OT assessments, driving advice and assessments, as well as an equipment centre which retails a wide range of mobility products.
In February 2020, prior to widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the UK, Herts Ability rebranded, moving away from its former Hertfordshire Action on Disability (HAD) identity to shift the focus from disability to ability.
The rebranding followed a significant website revamp completed in 2019 – at the time, the organisation highlighted that it was exploring new ways to generate revenue to ensure it can continue to run its services in the years to come.
For more than the last half of its life, Herts Ability has operated from the Woodside Centre in Welwyn Garden City, where it has received subsidised rent and service charges from Hertfordshire County Council for the past 32 years.
Now, the council – which owns the centre – says it intends to build a school for pupils with special needs on the site, requiring Herts Ability to relocate to a new premises.
Herts Ability said: “Our lease expired on 13th August 2020. However, the County Council has indicated that the deadline will be extended to the end of October 2020. We are grateful to the Council for subsidising our rental and service charges for all of this time.
“Unfortunately, neither Hertfordshire County Council nor Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have been able to find us a suitable property within their portfolio to which we can relocate. We are therefore having to move to new commercial premises in the Welwyn-Hatfield area as most of our customers live locally.”
From the new headquarters, Herts Ability confirmed it will continue to operate its driving assessment and mobility services, stating it is currently exploring how it might provide assessment services to people in their homes rather than on-site.
The charity revealed, however, that it will close its mobility retail operations.
“At the same time as we move, we will also be closing our Equipment Centre, which has provided older and disabled people with specialist assessments and equipment needed to maintain their independence,” explained Herts Ability.
“We have reluctantly taken the decision to close this service because we now have to be more cost-conscious, and the move to new premises means we will have to pay a higher rent. In addition, COVID-19 has meant that fewer people now wish to come to the Equipment Centre, instead preferring to obtain equipment online.”
Ahead of the October move, Herts Ability has called on customers that have ideas or suggestions about it can adapt or tailor its core services to meet their needs to get in touch.
“We also need public support with raising much-needed funds,” added the charity.
“If you would like to donate or fundraise for us, please visit our website www.hertsability.org.uk or contact Sean Lawrence on 01707 384263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We need your support now more than ever.”https://thiis.co.uk/a-shift-to-online-purchasing-a-factor-in-herts-ability-decision-to-close-equipment-centre/https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Herts-Ability-to-relocate.jpg?fit=900%2C543&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Herts-Ability-to-relocate.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomRetailer NewsSector NewsThird SectorTrade Newscharity,driving assessment,Hertfordshire Action on Disability,Herts Ability,mobility equipment centre,mobility services,Online Shopping,OT assessment,relocationHerts Ability (formerly Hertfordshire Action on Disability) has announced that it will relocate from the premises it has called home for 32 years in October, along with closing its mobility equipment centre. The charity was established in 1958 by the then Welfare Department of the County Council to provide mobility...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine