A mobility aids centre in Clacton that lends equipment to people in the area is set to close next month after operating for 66 years because it is no longer cost-effective.
The British Red Cross centre, called The Mobility Aid Unit, is run by volunteers and provides equipment such as wheelchairs, commodes and crutches to people in the area.
The closure came without warning according to a local newspaper report, with one volunteer saying there had been “no consultation” prior to the announcement.
At least 20 people use the service each week, which was moved from a town centre location to unit on an industrial estate last year.
Pamela Wood, who is a volunteer at the centre, told the Clacton Gazette that the move has made the unit more difficult to access for disabled people and said that the closures “was the next step in shutting the service down”.
But Michael Lascelles, mobility aids hub manager at the British Red Cross, said that the mobility aids service in the area is not being shut down completely.
He told the newspaper: “This doesn’t mean we are discontinuing the mobility aids service in the area.
“People can still borrow mobility aids from other Red Cross premises nearby, including Abbots Community Hall in Colchester, and we provide a home delivery service for users who are unable to collect equipment from our centres.
“We are also exploring other options, such as providing a pop-up service, which has proved effective in other areas.”
Lascelles added: “We have held a briefing with our volunteers to explain the situation and answer any questions they might have, and in the coming weeks we will be individually contacting our service users to communicate this change as sensitively as possible.
“The decision to close this centre does not reflect on the dedication and commitment of our amazing volunteers, without whom we could not provide support services for people in crisis.”
Image credit: British Red Cross