Hereford-based dealer Mills Mobility Aids will step in to take on the local Shopmobility’s customer subscription base from the end of this month, when it will close because of pressures including funding cuts.
Mills Mobility, which opened just eight months ago, is increasing its staffing to cope with its new arm, which will operate as a not-for-profit service and will maintain current Shopmobility rates.
Owner Greg Mills, who has been in the mobility industry for 12 years, said that the dealer is trying to keep the service running for Hereford and ensure that people have the facilities they need.
He told the Hereford Times: “Being a Herefordian, I have seen how important this service is to many residents and have been working alongside Services for Independent Living (SIL) to try and prevent the closure.”
Mills Mobility already offered the current Shopmobility service free repairs at its workshop but will now absorb all overheads. Mills hopes to run a sustainable scheme from its existing premises as of 9th April.
Mills added: “I am aware our location is not ideal but we cannot afford to open new premises at this time. We can accommodate several cars on site and anyone using the service is more than welcome to park at our unit to take the scooters into town, about a ten minute scooter ride.
“We believe it is important to invest back into our community and this is why we have chosen to implement a new service.”
Mills Mobility opened in July and operates from a 2,000 square foot showroom where it provides new and refurbished mobility equipment.
The SIL, which runs the current service issued a statement saying: “On the 31st March, Hereford City Shopmobility will be closing its doors in Maylord car park, Hereford for the last time. The service, which is provided by Services for Independent Living (SIL), has struggled for some time financially and reduced grant funding over recent years means SIL can no longer provide the service.
“This was a difficult decision for the Board to take and over the past six months SIL has been working hard to find another organisation willing to take on the Service. Their hard work has come to fruition, and on the 9th April a new provider will open its doors to provide Hereford Shopmobility.
“Mills Mobility Aids will be refurbishing the existing equipment and ensure it is in good working order ready for the start of the new Service and has made a generous donation to SIL in recognition of the work they have done providing the Service for the past five years.”