Cheshire West and Chester Council is redesigning the borough’s Shopmobility service to ensure that equipment is placed where it is needed and in more locations within communities.
Shopmobility West Cheshire provides mobility scooters and powered and manual wheelchairs for people with mobility difficulties to access shops and tourist destinations. It also offers a wide range of independent living aids including wheelchairs, walking frames and mobility scooters for sale or longer-term loan and a repair and maintenance service.
The Council commissions DIAL West Cheshire to deliver the service, operating out of premises in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Northwich. In 2022/2023 3015 bookings made through the service, with the majority - 1827 - being made in Chester.
Over the coming months the Council, working alongside the current provider and other community sector groups, will begin to develop a sustainable business model for Shopmobility. This should allow a community sector organisation to run Shopmobility as a self-supporting venture.
Cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Sheila Little, said:
“We recognise that Shopmobility is an important service to our residents and visitors that use it and want the service to continue to grow and develop in the future.
“Operating out of three locations, the current service has some limitations regarding accessibility and discussions have been taking place for some time on how to improve the offer.
“Maintaining a central presence in Chester where we see most use, with a satellite offer in Winsford, Northwich and Ellesmere Port, should make it as easy as possible for people to book and collect mobility equipment.
“Like all councils we are experiencing challenging times financially and we want to see Shopmobility become the successful sustainable service we know it can be, reaching all of the people who use it. We know what an important service it is, and our goal is to look at how we can improve the offer for all residents, whilst ensuring that it becomes commercially viable.”
Public consultation on the new model will take place in the July, with the intention of the new service being operational in October.