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To think some big stores should save Bullring Shopmobility ?

(24 Posts)
LurkingHusband Tue 05-Jan-16 10:27:40


Even if it mean scooters with Apple logos ?

The Bullring is home to Selfridges and Apple, mention two, with a sodding big John Lewis within 1/4 mile.

And people wonder why we carry our own scooter sad

nancy75 Tue 05-Jan-16 10:31:09

I'm surprised the shopping centre itself doesn't at least part fund the shop mobility scheme, they generally charge very high rents to the retailers and having things like shop mobility on offer definitely encourages people to use the centre.

PausingFlatly Tue 05-Jan-16 10:38:11

sad My local Shopmobility changed my life.

I'm still really dependent on them, because taxi + hiring a small powerchair in town is still my best option for shopping.

I'm not at all surprised, though. This is a charity, but the support it was getting from the council is going is in the cuts.

PausingFlatly Tue 05-Jan-16 10:40:37

And yes, I use the shops near the Shopmobility because of the proximity. It's also in a modern, pedestrianised area so I don't have to deal with kerbs or cobbles.

nancy75 Tue 05-Jan-16 10:43:16

I have never been to Birmingham but a quick google tells me there are about 200 shops, if they each paid £225 a year and the centre paid £45k a year it would be paid for, and as it's a charity I'm sure they could find a tax loophole somewhere to justify it. Very shortsighted of the shopping centre to let this go and dreadful for people that rely on the service

PausingFlatly Tue 05-Jan-16 11:24:26

Although I did see they only hired out 500 scooters and wheelchairs a year: 10 a week, ie 2 per weekday.

This is much lower than my local, which is a hive of activity staffed by volunteers.

It's just possible they could manage something by reducing the number of hours they're open - though I dare say they've already tried everything like that. It won't cut the costs of storing and servicing the machines.

araiba Tue 05-Jan-16 12:22:28

the average user uses them 1 1/2 times a month paying £2 a go

I can see why it isn't financially viable to carry on.

PausingFlatly Tue 05-Jan-16 12:49:27


The article says regulars pay £15 annually and then £2 per hire; occasional users pay £5 per hire. (Maybe you're looking at a different info source? As the linked article doesn't give enough info to say an average user goes 1 1/2 times a month.)

Regardless, it's not intended to be a commercial, money-making business. It's a service for vulnerable people which recoups some costs from users.

ilovesooty Tue 05-Jan-16 12:56:23

I can't believe a centre as big as this can't support such an important facility for the mobility impaired

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 05-Jan-16 12:57:45

The Bullring has become very swish in recent years - I still remember the old concrete thing with a Mark One at the end.

I'd think that, unfortunately, they are not overly bothered about losing soe of their disabled clientele.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 05-Jan-16 12:58:10

Some not soe.

LurkingHusband Tue 05-Jan-16 13:17:13

I'd think that, unfortunately, they are not overly bothered about losing soe of their disabled clientele.

Maybe they don't want disabled shoppers at all ? If you judge by actions not words.

starsshineinthecountry Tue 05-Jan-16 14:15:42

Why wouldn't they want disabled shoppers?

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 05-Jan-16 14:37:59

Why wouldn't they want disabled shoppers?

Because they either won't or don't want to continue funding a scheme which helps some disabled customers shop there. This may lead a person to think that those customers' business is not important to the shopping centre.

As a pp has said, there are several very large companies operating from the Bullring nowadays - if they were to share the cost between them, it could continue. But they don't seem to be interested in doing that.

LurkingHusband Tue 05-Jan-16 14:46:21

Why wouldn't they want disabled shoppers?

Because they are a nuisance. With their "requirements" for level access, accessible toilets, taking up valuable space with their ludicrous wheelchairs and buggies. Space that could be much more profitably used to stack more stock useless shit Also they lower the tone of the area. How can somewhere aspire to be attractive to 21st century shoppers when there are a load of disabled people making everyone feel uncomfortable, with their obvious physical imperfections.

Much better kept out of sight, really.

Or so MrsLH would tell you, after 29 years in a wheelchair. And to be honest,
sometimes I can't disagree.

Hopefully there will be some MNetters who are old enough like me (child of the 70s) to remember that in our youth seeing a wheelchair user out and about was like finding a pile of unicorn shit at the bottom of a rainbow. And that was London. However it seems there's a 70s revival going on (again). Whole families trying to live on £5 a week sad.

SilverOldie2 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:37:24

My friend and I use our local Shopmobility once a week and it is completely free. Without it we could not spend our money in the nearby shops - large and small so they and we benefit.

There was talk of them possibly closing last year but they have recently won Shopmobility of the Year award so we're hopeful they will stay open.

As far as the Bullring is concerned - surely some of the big stores could easily pay for it to continue.

I'm sure your DW will agree with me OP, that we are so pleased Christmas is over. Trying to navigate round extra piles of goods placed at the top and bottom of aisles has been extremely difficult to say the least. (More than one pile has been knocked over even though I'm a good driver smile.

LurkingHusband Tue 05-Jan-16 16:51:36

I'm sure your DW will agree with me OP, that we are so pleased Christmas is over.

We made one special Xmas visit - to the Bullring - to the Apple store. Who managed to be out of stock of the one thing we wanted. In the end it was ordered online. The only saving grace was it was actually quieter than a Sunday.

To be honest "shopping" is a waste of time anyway. On the occasions what we want is sold by a shop, it's either poor quality or out of stock.

I've built up a little fleet of various powered aids over the years. We have 3 mini scooters, one heavier one, one electric wheelchair, and (of course) the trusty manual wheelchair (which we have a spare for, in case we have to wait for a spare like we did last year).

I'm old enough to remember the 80s, so have no illusions about the regard the government hold the disabled in. If you can't help yourself, you can fuck yourself. Exhibit A - Bullring shopmobility closing. Be curious what business they rent the space to.

SilverOldie2 Tue 05-Jan-16 17:20:46

I'm old enough to remember the 50s shock and have been disabled since I was 35ish. I don't think governments have ever been any different to be honest.

You're absolutely right about shopping, I have my supermarket items delivered but it'a nice to get out of the house and have a look around the shops once a week.

I am currently thinking about buying my own mobility scooter. I've looked at various types online but can't decide on a particular make. I thought about an 8mph one to give me a longer range but they are pretty expensive. You sound like an expert OP, do you have any recommendations re make?

LurkingHusband Wed 06-Jan-16 10:53:27

I'd be hesitant to recommend anything specific, but here's some pointers:

1) New/second hand ? As you say, new is expensive. But if you keep an eye on eBay, the odd bargain can pop up.

(Sadly, mobility aids are the sort of thing which get left in garages after someone passes, and rarely get back into circulation. When I rule the world, there would be a scheme to rent scooters, and when someone no longer needs one, it's passed back into circulation, rather than left to rot and rust before being discarded)

2) Lightweight/heavyweight ?

MrsLH has an "Aqua Soothe Travel lite" (£60 from eBay). It's what we carry in the car and well suited to flat, level surfaces (e.g. shopping malls).

However, being 3 wheeled, it's stability isn't perfect, and it's easily daunted by rough terrain. Hence MRsLHs other scooter is an Auriga - more akin to what you see in Shopmobilities. They are available in 4/8mph versions, but MrsLH has the 4mph version. It's much more suited to (slighly) uneven terrain (crack pavements, the odd bit of grass) and has a better range (tested to 5 miles so far).

Ensure you have proper batteries fitted. Sadly the eye-watering markups in mobility aids attracts the usual bottom feeders, and ripoffs are rampant. The correct batteries are no more expensive than the "cheaper" ones, but you need to know where to look.

3) Insurance

Theft and 3rd party cover

4) Storage

Folding scooters aren't a problem, but the Auriga takes up space. For a while we could only store it in the garage, which has no level access from the house meaning I had to get it out when needed. When I built level access we managed to bring it in house, but it almost needs it's own room. Bear in mind storage will need access to electricity, to keep it charged.

5) Use away from malls

Locally, using the Auriga is problematic. Small shops, mini steps, and heavy doors conspire such that just being able to "get to the shops" isn't what you think it is (MrsLH has shouted an order into a shop from the pavement and had a kind assistant bring it outside and take payment). The AquaSoothe is more manageable, but can still get stuck in narrow aisles.

6) Security

Careful when out and about. Even the fastest scooter will only carry you away from trouble at 8mph. Ensure your routes don't cross any quiet parks or spaces. I suggested MrsLH use a sports purse which straps to the ankle, and a bluetooth earset, so her phone is out of sight.

Can't think of much more for now. Hope you can find something to help you out smile.

LurkingHusband Thu 07-Jan-16 15:58:40

I'm sure Caspian Food Services would much rather have paid £13,000 to support Shopmobility, than in a fine for mouse shit in Burger King


SilverOldie2 Wed 13-Jan-16 23:40:32

Thank you very much for the information, that's really helpful. One of the things I'm concerned about is where I would store it. I don't have a garage so presumably would need to buy some sort of shed.

I have tried both 3 and 4 wheelers at Shopmobility and definitely felt safer in a 4 wheeler.

I look forward to you ruling the world which would release all the unused scooters shut up in garages grin

Thanks once again.

Junosmum Thu 14-Jan-16 07:05:37

If you're using it daily then you'll want a battery pack which charges quickly, if you use once or twice a week for full days then a slower charging, bigger battery will be better for your needs. You can buy rain covers and security chair s to allow you to keep them outside.

LurkingHusband Thu 14-Jan-16 09:00:58

If you can avoid keeping it outside, you're better off (electronics and damp don't mix). Depending on your layout, you may find one of these £100 tool stores from B&Q could act as a box to keep the scooter in.

I would also recommend a hook bolted to the wall, and using a motorcycle lock/chain to secure the scooter when not in use (because there are some real scumbags out there). Our chain cost £70, but is supposed to pay up if it gets cut and a vehicle stolen.

With regards to batteries, not all scooters have removable/dual sized battery packs. The Aquasoothe does, and we only have the larger battery pack fitted. I restate the point about ensuring you get the correct batteries. If you feel confident using Google, avoid buying from mobility specialists, and you can avoid paying the mark-up that some vendors think is applicable when the words "mobility" or "aids" are added to products.

If you receive higher-rate DLA with the mobility component (or the PIP equivalent) you can get a scooter through the Motability scheme.

I can't speak for all shops, but MyIndy in Evesham has a selection of second hand scooters, and a small test circuit for evaluating them. Also Redditch shopmobility used to have a folder of local ads where people would (privately) sell second hand scooters.

Happy scooting.

Tianc Thu 14-Jan-16 10:26:34

I started a thread a few years ago to gather mobility info in one place: Welcome to the Wheelie-drome! (wheelchairs and all mobility stuff)

I've it linked to this thread, but LurkingHusband if you fancy sharing more of your hard-won wisdom over there, it would be very welcome.

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