New mobility product loan service to step in for loss of Red Cross store
The Moray Handyperson Service is a new scheme which aims to help people with mobility needs get out and about, filling in the gap of a previous Red Cross mobility service that has now left the area.
Based in Moray, North East Scotland, the organisation already offers a variety of services to assist elderly or disabled people, such as changing a lightbulb or assembling flatpack furniture.
However, the Service is now offering a variety of wheelchairs and mobility scooters for people to hire, allowing them to get out of the house or go shopping. It operates in a similar way to Shopmobility schemes.
The range of wheelchairs available to hire include folding wheelchairs which can fit inside car boots; wheelchairs with small wheels for somebody else to push; and ones with large wheels to enable users to self-propel.
The Handyperson Service is also loaning a range of mobility scooters, alongside other mobility aids like rollators.
Malcolm Aldridge, Moray Handyperson Service’s managing director, told the Northern Scot: “The Red Cross loan people wheelchairs and have done ever since the end of the First World War. However, they moved out of Victoria House and Moray about five years ago and centralised in Inverness.
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t want or simply aren’t able to travel all the way to Inverness. Meanwhile, it’s not easy to get a wheelchair from the NHS unless you have a long-term illness.
“These issues, allied to the fact that, even though the Red Cross left quite a while ago we were still getting enquiries here at Victoria House from people wanting to borrow a wheelchair, made us think we should start hiring them out ourselves.
“We believe there’s a demand.”
The managing director added that because of its broad range of mobility equipment available for hire, it gives people the opportunity to trial a particular model before actually purchasing it.
The organisation received a £2,500 grant from the Money for Moray scheme, which paid for about half the new mobility equipment. Other equipment was bought by the Service through fundraising efforts or was donated by locals.