During the pandemic, Equal Lives took over the previously closed Shopmobility service, located in Chantry Place shopping centre in Norwich.
For those who aren’t familiar, ‘Shopmobility’ is a national mobility scooter rental scheme, lots of cities across the UK have them. There might be more than one near you, but they’re all run independently of each other. A bit like McDonalds!
We were keen to get set up and open up to customers, but further lockdowns and tiered restrictions put us on hold for some months.
In the summer of 2021, we were able to open! With a fresh mural on the wall that the Norwich Dandies’ painted for us, we were excited to welcome people to accessing the city centre.
There were, however, many people still feeling unsafe or under confident to travel out and about, especially those who were considered clinically vulnerable. We completely understand this fear. We work with disabled people, many of our staff and volunteers are disabled too and we feel that as a group, we have been the hardest hit from COVID19.
To help try and encourage people to feel confident to venture out once more, we moved our service from a paid for service to a FREE to access service. Accessibility looks different to everyone and includes affordability.
So far, we’ve been told by customers in the shop that this scheme has enabled them to go out for the first time in months, sometimes up to 2 years.
We often find that people come in with friends or family, but the service is quick and easy to use if you are alone.
Is Shopmobility right for you?
Where is Shopmobility? – Car Park Level 1 – Chantry Place shopping centre, Norwich
How much will it cost? – Shopmobility is free, but we do charge for longer hires. These are on a case-by-case basis
Can I volunteer at Shopmobility? – We’re always looking for volunteers to help with the service, please visit https://www.equallives.org.uk/volunteer-for-us for info!
When is Shopmobility open? – With our current levels of volunteering, we’re open Tuesday – Friday, 09:00 – 16:00. We close half an hour for lunch, usually 12.00 – 12.30
How long can I borrow a scooter or wheelchair for? – Providing you the drop the equipment back off to us before 4pm, you can use it from when you arrive
Are there any restrictions? – The scooters do have a weight limit of 21.6 stones or 136 kg, and you are covered to use the equipment within a 1 mile radius
If you have used our service already, we’d love it if you could complete our short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DGTC6QF
Even if you haven’t used the service, we would love to hear your thoughts. If you think the service could be of use to you, but you haven’t accessed it yet, is there something we could change to make it possible? Your feedback really helps, so please share your thoughts with us.
We hope to see you at Shopmobility soon,