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Call for help to save Slough Shopmobility

An urgent appeal to the borough’s business community is being made to save a service which helps the disabled and impaired get out and about.

Slough Shopmobility, a service under Slough Community Transport, is set to close at the end of 2017 as it cannot meet its annual running costs of £10,000.

The service, based in Kingsway, is the only scheme in Slough’s town centre where residents can hire out a wheelchair or scooter for short term use and is not funded by Slough Borough Council (SBC) or the business community.

The service launched in 1997 in partnership with SBC until funding was withdrawn in 2013 when the council stopped its grant funding.

Slough Council for Voluntary Service’s SPACE initiative, of which Slough Community Transport is a member, has provided £2,000 to cover rent.

“We’re all just very sad,” said Slough Community Transport chief executive George Howard, who emphasised how invaluable the service is for some people.

“Until you need it, you don’t give it a second thought.

“If you can’t hire a scooter or a wheelchair in the town centre then basically you have to stay at home.

“I’m just hopeful that someone might read the story and be able to help us out and just get us through another year.”

Slough Shopmobility manager Steph Simonetti said: “It is so disheartening to see a lifeline for so many members of the community having to close over lack of such a small amount of money needed in a town as prosperous as Slough.”

The service’s chairman Ray Gray said: “We estimate that over the last twenty years 15,000 people have been helped to go out to the shops by the use of our service.

“Many are local residents able to continue to do their own shopping with the use of our equipment and we also welcome each year many visitors to the town who use Shopmobility in their home towns.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council is sad to see the potential loss of the Shopmobility service and it is unfortunate that the charity has found itself in this difficult position.

“We understand they are currently seeking sponsorship to continue to provide a service and Slough Borough Council and the Slough Council for Voluntary Service are supporting this approach.”

Any businesses or individuals who can help Shopmobility should contact Mr Gray on shopmo2001@yahoo.com or call on 01753 536273 between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday.

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