Slough Shopmobility to close at Christmas

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A Shopmobility service in Slough is set to close at the end of the year because funding cannot be extended beyond 2017.

The scheme is the latest in the country to face the axe because it is unable to cover the £10,000 costs needed to run it.

The service owns a fleet of mobility scooters and wheelchairs which it hires out to local residents with limited mobility.

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It was formerly partly funded by Slough Borough Council, which cut its funding in 2013.

The Slough Community Transport charity, which helps run the service, helps to transport disabled and elderly people across the area and will continue to run.

Chairman of the service, Ray Gray, told the Slough Observer: “We are all extremely sad that a service that has been provided week by week since 1997 to the disabled people of Slough can no longer be afforded.

“I was involved in the setting up of the present scheme in 1997, in partnership with Slough Borough Council. Sadly, since 2013 no support has been available, and our own charity trustees and volunteers have been marvellous in seeking to maintain the service for local residents.

“However, with costs continuing to rise, and with no external funding, we have had to make the decision to close now.”

Meanwhile, a manager of the Shopmobility, George Howard, said: “We are effectively two charities, Slough Community Transport and Slough Shopmobility, that merged a long time ago.

“Slough Community Transport was able to fund the Shopmobility with its surplus. But due to rising costs, through rent, electricity, business rates, insurance and so on – there is no longer any surplus left.”

“The scheme will close for Christmas on December 22, and we must hand back all the keys and equipment by January 2.”

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