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Shopmobility lifeline facing the axe

A DISABILITY ‘lifeline’ in Chelmsley Wood could shut in just four months, a former board member has claimed.

A DISABILITY lifeline in Chelmsley Wood could shut in just four months, a former board member has claimed.

Former borough councillor Debbie Evans has slammed Solihull Council as heartless after claiming the council has no plans to continue a branch of Shopmobility, which provides scooters and wheelchairs to shoppers with mobility problems, once its founder grant runs out next March.

The council has told me they will not continue the Chelmsley Wood outlet after its grant runs out, said the former charity chair.

We have a service which is just becoming established, with 65 disabled people who use it, which is suddenly going to be withdrawn.

One of the members had not been out of the house for 25 before Shopmobility.

We just cant let it go.

Polio victim Joan Edde, aged 68 from Chelmsley Wood, said: I cant do without it. Its a lifeline.

Having a scooter just gives you back that independence, the same freedom as if you were fully-abled.

Shopmobility, run in partnership with the Council, has had centres in Touchwood and Drury Lane for around 15 years while the Chelmsley Wood branch was set up 18 months ago with help from the Big Lotterys Fair Share grant.

But that grant is due to run out next Spring and Debbie said without council funding, to give the charity more time to secure further funding, the service would disappear.

Yet both Touchwood and Drury Lane will carry on. That, to me, is not equality.

Councillor Kate Wild, Cabinet Member for Community Services said: We are carrying out a review and will be exploring the options available before coming to a decision about the future of the service.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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