Northampton town centre shopping service for people with disabilities is set to close
A vital shopping service for people with disabilities in Northampton has drawn to a close due to a lack of funding.
Following an extensive review of the Shopmobility Service in the town centre, it has been agreed that the service can no longer be sustained going forward.
It is understood that the service costs the shopping scheme up to £40,000 per year to operate, which is paid for by grants and income from the daily hire charge the users make to hire a scooter.
Earlier this year the service faced closure when the grants from Northampton Borough Council were reduced.
Chairman of Trustees, Sam Towell of Northampton Door-to-Door service said: “We would like to thank our loyal and dedicated team of volunteers and staff who have managed the scheme over the many years it has operated in the town centre.
“We find it very sad and disappointing that we have been unable to save the scheme and fully understand the impact this is going to have on all of the users of the scheme who will no longer be able to access the town centre and go to Northampton General Hospital for outpatient appointments”
Since the beginning of the year the Northampton service which operates the scheme has had to subsidise the running of the Shopmobility scheme by £12,000 to date.
Shopmobility has made every effort to find a solution to keep the scheme operating for the benefit of the scheme users, including offering to transfer the service to another organisation, support to obtain additional funding and creating a greater awareness of the scheme to increase the amount of hires of the underutilised equipment.
Shopmobility’s closure is representative of schemes around the UK that have had to close down in recent months, such as the Bullring in Birmingham, Solihull, Bedford.
The scheme will close on Saturday October 29 and many more shopping centres in the country are currently facing the same situation as Northampton.