Heavy duty mobility scooters have been listed as part of a Shopmobility service’s fleet upgrade to cater for more and more overweight users.
The scheme, which lends mobility equipment to elderly and disabled people and which is run by Warrington Disability Partnership (WDP), is looking to bring bariatric models into its fleet in response to user demands.
The current models in the fleet are able to cater for a max weight of 35st but recently the scheme has had to turn people away who exceed the weight limit.
Dave Thompson, co-founder and chief executive of the WDP, believes that the mobility scooter market has “not kept pace” with increasingly heavier users.
The cost of repairing the service’s fleet has amounted to around £2,000 recently, which has come as a result of scooters being damaged when people exceeding the 35st weight limit have used the equipment.
Mr Thompson told the Warrington Guardian: “If people over 35st were to use the equipment it could do damage to them and damage to the piece of kit itself, which would then be out of action for dozens of people.”
The Shopmobility scheme is now on a funding drive so it can buy mobility scooters capable of carrying people up to 65st.
Mr Thompson added: “We’re putting a call out to any organisations, individuals or businesses for small donations to make this happen.
“A lot of people are actually overweight because of medical conditions or musculoskeletal problems.
“This will enable these people to maintain their social networks, to allow them to go to pay a bill or just to do their shopping.
“Large parts of the town centre are pedestrianised and you can’t necessarily park near to the area you want to get to, so Shopmobility is a vital lifeline for lots of people.”