Herts Ability has had to close its equipment centre, citing customer preference of online purchasing as one of the reasons behind the decision.
Formerly known as Hertfordshire Action on Disability, it had reopened for business on July 13.
However, it had to move from the Woodside Centre in Welwyn Garden City where it had been located for 32 years because the owners of the property, Hertfordshire County Council, wish to build a school for pupils with special needs on the site.
The lease expired on August 13 but the local authority did indicate that the deadline will be extended to the end of October 2020.
As part of the news release, Herts Ability explained: “We are grateful to the Council for subsidising our rental and service charges for all of this time. Unfortunately, neither Hertfordshire County Council nor Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have been able to find us a suitable property within their portfolio to which we can relocate.
“We are therefore having to move to new commercial premises in the Welwyn-Hatfield area as most of our customers live locally.”
The company went on to confirm: “At the same time as we move, we will also be closing our Equipment Centre, which has provided older and disabled people with specialist assessments and equipment needed to maintain their independence.
“We have reluctantly taken the decision to close this service because we now have to be more cost-conscious, and the move to new premises means we will have to pay a higher rent. In addition, COVID-19 has meant that fewer people now wish to come to the Equipment Centre, instead preferring to obtain equipment online.”
It added: “We will continue to operate our driving assessment and mobility services, and we are investigating how we might be able to provide assessment services to people in their homes instead of them having to come and visit us.
“If any of our customers have ideas or suggestions about how we can best adapt and utilise our core services to meet their needs, we would be delighted to hear from you. We also need public support with raising much-needed funds.
“If you would like to donate or fundraise for us, please visit our website www.hertsability.org.uk or contact Sean Lawrence on 01707 384263 or email email@example.com.”