Shopmobility pleads council to reverse decision to cut £30k funding

bracknell shopmobility

A Shopmobility service in Bracknell, which offers mobility equipment use to residents for a small annual fee, is fighting a decision by the council to cut £30,000 of annual funding.

Bracknell Shopmobility sent a letter to the council asking it to reconsider a decision that was made in 2016 which would see the council’s funding cease in 2020.

The service already raises nearly £30,000 a year on its own to go towards running costs but acting chairman, Bob Draper, said “it is going to take a lot of effort to raise another £30,000”, according to a local newspaper report.

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Mr Draper told Bracknell News: “The council said we should be able to replace their grant with an anticipated membership increase which would increase income.”

“But we have spelt out that this is very unlikely. Even if it (the membership) was to double we would have to charge a huge amount of money in order to reach the former amount of grants.”

He added: “We expect the councillors to consider our letter in the spirit it was written as we all want to see Shopmobility in the town centre.”

Bracknell Shopmobility’s membership has grown by 8% since 2017 with 120 people now paying £30 a year to use the service.

This is much less than the 270 members who used the service in 2012.

Bracknell Forest Council member, Iain McCracken, executive member for culture, resources and public protection, told the Bracknell News: “I can confirm we have received a letter from Shopmobility asking the council to reconsider its decision regarding funding for the voluntary organisation.

“We will be reviewing this request as part of the council’s usual budget cycle, which is due to start shortly.

“Shopmobility will be notified directly once we are in a position to share the outcome of its request.”

In June 2017 the service introduced new fees for membership and also for hire of equipment by non-members.

Fees had not increased for a number of years but “increases were inevitable” with its grant from Bracknell Forest Borough Council being reduced.

But it has secured the lease on its premises until 2026.

Image credit: Bracknell Shopmobility

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Joe Peskett

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