Over 200,000 disabled people make use of the Shopmobility scheme every year. The Shopmobility scheme helps less able shoppers by allowing them to use wheelchairs, both manual and powered, along with electric mobility scooters around shopping centres and commercial and leisure activities.
Each Shopmobility scheme is different, so it is important that you make contact with the organisers of the scheme, before your visit, that you wish to use. Shopmobility staff or volunteers should be able to answer any questions you may have regarding the scheme. Shopmobility schemes are available to anyone, regardless of their age, if their disability is permanent or temporary and you do not have to be registered disabled to be able to make use of the Shopmobility scheme. Some Shopmobility schemes are free to use and others make a charge. This is usually indicated by symbols on their guides.
Joining A Shopmobility Scheme
The majority of Shopmobility schemes will request that you bring some sort of identification with you on your first visit. This is to enable the scheme to complete a registration form and keep a record of your details. The identification that you bring should have your name and address on it, such as a household bill for example.
Some Shopmobility schemes will issue users with a membership card. This means that on subsequent visits you will only have to show this card.
After you have completed the registration process a member of Shpmobility staff will talk with you regarding what type of vehicle you require and what type of vehicle you will feel most comfortable using. Afterwards, Shopmobility staff will then give you training on your chosen vehicle. Once you feel confident about using the vehicle, and staff feel you are able to control the vehicle, you will be allowed to carry on with your shopping. The training process should take no longer than half an hour, and is usually finished in around 15 minutes.
A number of Shopmobility schemes like people to book in advance of their visit. This is usually indicated by a symbol in their guide, but it is always worth confirming this with them. Some Shopmobility schemes also allow you to book a volunteer escort to accompany you.
For people who are visually impaired, some schemes have escorts who are trained to help people when they are out and about. This facility is usually indicated by a symbol in their information guide. If you think you may need to make use of this service, it is always best to confirm with the Shopmobilty scheme before your visit.
It is also worth checking the opening hours for the Shopmobility scheme you wish to use and some may open on certain Sundays and Bank Holidays. Shopmobility is for anyone, young or old, whether their disability is temporary or permanent.
Due to the fact that shopping centres can get very crowded at times it is important that you give consideration to other pedestrians when you are out and about. This includes keeping the speed of your vehicle reduced when you are in busy or confined areas. It is also worth remembering that walkers can stop suddenly and that you may not be able to stop as quickly as them, so try and keep a safe distance from the person in front.