A council in London has made arrangements to secure the future of a Shopmobility service which had faced closure amid funding cuts.
Kingston Council, which currently runs the local Shopmobility, is said to be in “advanced stages” of finding a charity to run the mobility equipment hire service on its behalf in a move designed to save the authority £26,000.
The Shopmobility service, which has been running for 30 years is expected to change hands next year.
Recently, it has seen a decline in demand for its mobility scooters and wheelchairs and was initially set to have its funding cut. But Kingston Council has pledged to freeze funding cuts for a year, according to local newspaper reports.
Councillor Liz Green, leader of Kingston Council, told MyLondon that she would not want to be in a position when she is elderly where she “even go to the shops”.
She said: “It is astonishing that the Conservatives thought it was a good idea to cut this vital service, and I am extremely glad that we have found a way to save it from closure.
“Allowing people to live independently is a key liberal principle, and safeguarding services such as these is what a Liberal Democrat council will consistently deliver.”
But Councillor Kevin Davis, who is its Conservative leader, said that the Shopmobility service was always set to close under plans to redevelop the shopping centre, which it serves.
He said: “Very few people use the service, so other options were being examined including being imaginative about funding and seeing whether it is something businesses wished to see sponsored.”
Image: Eden Walk shopping centre, which Kingston Shopmobility serves. Image credit: Google