A VITAL service helping the disabled get around in Newport has made a desperate appeal for help – saying it may be forced to close if it can’t secure funding soon.
Scooter rental shop Shopmobility Newport have been open since 1989 – but will have to close their doors for good if they can’t get £60,000 by March.
Newport City Council decided to stop funding the shop at the end of this financial year, leaving the future of the business, which provides scooters to people who have difficulties with mobility, in limbo.
Adding to their problems, many scooters were damaged beyond repair last December in floods. As a result, the shop could only provide scooters if people booked far in advance.
However, the shop has managed to secure a number of new scooters following a recent report in the Argus.
One was donated by a person in Ringland, and the shop has bought 10 second-hand scooters after their insurance company paid them £10,000 to cover their losses in December, meaning that Shopmobility now has 16 scooters.
Although the new scooters are a welcome addition, the shop still needs power-assisted wheelchairs as the only ones they had are too damaged to use.
Peter Wivell, trustee of Shopmobility Newport said: “At least now we won’t have to rely on customers to phone up and book.
“The clients are steadily coming back, but they want to know what is going to happen in the future and at the moment we can’t tell them anything.
“Scooters have got to be serviced regularly and maintained properly, and that takes time and it takes money.
“But we’d been managing until the council decided to say ‘no more’.
“We’re starting to panic now.”
Shopmobility are exploring various means of raising the money needed to keep the shop going, such as crowdfunding and sponsorship.
Crowdfunding has not gone well so far, with the shop being unable to raise any money so far.
Therefore, Shopmobility are focusing on finding sponsors that will finance the business.
The shop is asking for any potential sponsors to get in touch and they will advertise sponsors on their scooters and help to promote them on social media.
“We need £60,000 to cover the rent of the premises, staff wages and other running costs just to keep the place open,” said Mr Wivell.
“If we don’t get anything by March, that’s three people out of work and Shopmobility will cease to exist.”
If you can help, drop Shopmobility Newport a line on 01633 547538.