A service which offers advice to people looking to buy mobility equipment is to close down, sparking fears that rogue mobility traders could take advantage of vulnerable elderly or disabled people.
Disabilities Living Centre Nottinghamshire (NDLC) offers free impartial advice and assessment on disability equipment so residents can live independent lives but is no longer able to sustain itself following funding cuts.
Users of the service have expressed concern that their ability to live independent lives will be hampered. They are also worried that potential rogue mobility traders in the area will not be kept in check. The centre directs customers looking for products to reputable traders in the area.
One service user who received advice on a bidet and handrails is angry at the closure. He told the Newark Advertiser: “If I wanted advice, I would certainly ring them. I think what’s happened to this service is disgusting. It’s just the way of the world nowadays – there is no priority given to the ill or the disabled. It isn’t easy being disabled. The main point of my life is to stay independent and that’s what this service gives to disabled people.”
Council funding cuts and the added expense of moving to a larger, costlier base mean the service can no longer fund itself. It generated its own income, around £27,500 a year, by holding exhibitions and hiring out its training room.
Toni Roberts, manager at the centre, told the newspaper: “We provided advice to disabled people – for instance, there are a lot of rogue traders out there so we put them in touch with reputable traders for buying equipment. Unfortunately, the trustees of the charity couldn’t see that we would be able to get enough future funding, so we have had to close the service.”
The centre is to shut its doors on 31st July after 30 years of offering advice. The five staff who work there will be made redundant. Some equipment will go back to companies that provided it and some will be sold or given to other organisations with a similar ethos.