Lowestoft Shopmobility providing 20,000th hire in 2018
20,000th hire in 2018. From left: Margaret Oldham Chair, Client and Eddie Davey Coordinator

Based on the East Coast, Lowestoft Shopmobility has purchased a new mobility scooter worth £2,000 to add to its range following being awarded a grant by Central England Co-operative’s Community Dividend Fund.

The funding, which guarantees that at least one per cent of the Society’s trading profit is reinvested into local communities to help projects thrive across the Midlands and East Coast, provides grants between £100 and £5,000 every three months to worthy applicants.

The aim of the community resource is to address a range of social, emotional and practical needs to enable people to take greater control of their own health.

A statement from the Shopmobility at the end of 2018 highlighted how important applying for grants had been for ensuring it was able to maintain its mobility scooters hire fleet, as well as noting a change in user trends.

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“We have been very fortunate this year in obtaining grants that have not only enabled us to have our scooters professionally serviced but to purchase three new travel scooters. Travel scooters that can be taken apart and put in the boot of a car have become increasingly popular with people wishing to hire scooters. So much so that this year we have had more hires of them than the larger scooters.”

In 2018, a number of Shopmobilities reported struggling financially as Local Authorities across the UK continued to look at means of cost saving, reducing the availability of funding for a number of schemes.

Cambridge City Council cut funding for its shopmobility in 2018 and introduced a fee structure which proved unpopular and unsuccessful with users. The City Council recently proposed a reversal in its 2019-20 Budget, reinstating £45,000 of funding for the scheme and removing the charges.

In 2018, Lowestoft celebrated 21 years operating as a scheme, having originally set up as part of D.I.A.L. (The Disablement Information and Advice Line) in 1997 Lowestoft Shopmobility eventually went its own way and became a separate charity in June 2003.

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