British red Cross pop-up

The British Red Cross and Tesco supermarket have set up a pop-up wheelchair loan service in the Hampshire town of Aldershot to provide essential mobility support for elderly and disabled people.

British Red Cross staff will be on hand once a week in the Tesco car park at Aldershot to distribute wheelchairs on a socially distanced, click and collect basis.

The project will help vulnerable people regain their independence by improving their mobility, as well as easing the pressure on NHS services by freeing up beds and enabling patients to return home sooner.

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Geoff Cheshire, head of the mobility aids service at the British Red Cross, said: “We know there’s a need for a service like this and we’re delighted that Tesco is helping to make it happen by providing car park spaces for our teams to use.

“We have all been restricted in what we can do over the last year but we hope these pop-ups will help people remain active, get out and about and begin to return to the lives they enjoyed before the pandemic.”

It is hoped such convenient access to wheelchairs at Tesco sites will play a big part in helping people get back to life as normal and ensure no one is left behind because of mobility challenges.

The wheelchairs can be booked on the Red Cross online booking system by calling 0300 456 1914 and making a donation when booking.

The pop-up service is good news after the British Red Cross closed a number of mobility equipment centres in Hampshire in 2018, despite local petitions campaigning to keep the vital equipment centres open..

The charity argued that having so many centres was becoming an expensive way to operate as it was paying commercial rates to operate in buildings. It said at the time that it was considering a collection and home delivery service as well as pop-up shops.

In 2019, news that the charity was opening two mobile pop-up services in Hampshire to enable vulnerable people to borrow vital mobility equipment was welcomed by many.

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