Costs force Lowestoft mobility service to cut its hours

Margaret Oldham from Lowestoft Shopmobility. Picture: Nick Butcher

Margaret Oldham from Lowestoft Shopmobility. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

A Lowestoft mobility charity has been forced to cut its opening hours by a third as the organisation is finding it increasingly hard to pay for its operating costs and staff.

Lowestoft Shopmobility, which hires out mobility scooters and electric and manual wheelchairs, is reducing its service from six to four days a week at its Station Square base.

The charity, set up in 1987, says the move to cut days is necessary because it can not afford to pay a co-ordinator's salary for six days a week as the rent and running costs are becoming more difficult to find.

To help mitigate the loss of two days' service Lowestoft Shopmobility has arranged for a scooter and a wheelchair to be based at The Navigator café in Lowestoft library for seven days a week when it is open.

Margaret Oldham, chairman of Lowestoft Shopmobility, said: 'Last year we helped people with a total of 800 hires. Some people have said that they would not be able to do their shopping or even get out of the house without our help.


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'Others have said how much it improves their independence and even their health, as without the scheme they would feel so isolated and not be able to meet up with family and friends.

'It was started with Big Lottery funding, but since 2003 we have had to fundraise in order to keep it running. However, at a meeting of the management committee we decided we had no option but to reduce the service from six to four days a week. We are sorry to have to reduce the service to our 39 members and to visitors to the town, but we cannot continue to pay a co-ordinator's salary for six days each week and the rent and running costs are becoming more difficult to find.'

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Mrs Oldham added: 'As the population becomes older and as we have an ideal town for people with mobility problems to visit, this need will not go away.'

Anyone interested in supporting Lowestoft Shopmobility should ring 01502 588857 or email lowestoftshopmob@btconnect.com

Do you have a Lowestoft story? Email anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

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