Lifeline shopping service given stay of execution

Fiona Campbell(second left) with volunteers and facility users (left to right) Tony Dolmand, Cheryl Lawson, Robert Proffitt, Linda Shields and Darren Limbert.
Fiona Campbell(second left) with volunteers and facility users (left to right) Tony Dolmand, Cheryl Lawson, Robert Proffitt, Linda Shields and Darren Limbert.

A LIFELINE service that is under threat of closure has been given a boost in its battle to remain open.

Hartlepool Shopmobility, based in the town’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, is facing the axe unless trustees are able to find extra funding.

The service has teamed up with town business Zennith Mobility, in Avenue Road, which will hold a fundraising event in aid of Shopmobility next week.

A three-day sale of mobility equipment will be held in the shopping centre with a share of the proceeds going to help Shopmobility remain open.

Stephen Parkes, owner of Zennith Mobility, said: “We have been working with Shopmobility for about seven years and when they approached us to see if there was anything we could do to help them we came up with this idea of having a sale and giving them 
a contribution, hopefully towards saving the service.

“It is vital that they stay open simply because it’s a lifeline for a lot of people to be able to do their shopping.

“It lets the elderly get out and come into the town centre, especially if they are on their own, to shop or meet up with a friend and have a coffee.”

The Shopmobility Project loans a variety of mobility equipment and has 1,600 members.

It also provides support for family members and carers.

But the Mail reported two weeks ago how trustees at Hartlepool Access Group (HAG), which run Shopmobility are looking to reduce the service or stop it altogether unless they can find extra funding.

It comes after Hartlepool Borough Council and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre scaled down their funding by £20,000.

Fiona Campbell, manager of Hartlepool Shopmobility, said: “We are very appreciative to Zennith Mobility for coming to our aid like this.

“If this even works well we may try to replicate it in a different venue.

“Every little helps and we would like it to make a wonderful amount of money, although we are still looking for major sources of funding.”

HAG employs one full-time worker and three part-time and the Shopmobility Project has been running for 18 years.

Next week’s sale will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Middleton Grange’s central mall between 9am and 5pm.