This is a petition to the owners of bullring centre to save Birmingham shopmobility service and prevent its closure in March 2016.
This service provides an essential means of accessing mobility equipment to West Midlands residents. You may well need this service in the future if you or your friend or family become permanently or temporarily immobile.
In return for a small charge users can hire wheelchairs (manual and electric) and mobility scooters. Wheelchairs can also be hired for a small charge on a weekly basis. They also provide subsided car parking for members of the scheme, provision of radar keys (to access disabled toilets) and an essential point of contact for all users of the centre who need mobility advice.
The service enables people who have mobility problems and their carers to access Birmingham city centres shopping and business facilities.
Why is the service so important ?
Many users such as myself are unable to purchase power chairs (due to the cost which can be several thousands of pounds) and lack specially adapted cars that are able to fit the chairs. Therefore without the service would have great difficulty to visit Birmingham city centre.
Without this service users such as myself, who have mobility difficulties, would be prevented from shopping and attending appointments in the city centre. The equipment that is hired can be used city wide generally without restrictions.
I call on the bullrings owners to support Birmingham shopmobility preventing their closure in order :
•to help less mobile visitors to Birmingham access the bullring facilities and Birmingham city centre.
•prevent the less mobile from being discriminated due to their lack of mobility by being prevented from visiting the city centre
• prevent the closure of mobility equipment supply for those who are in temporary need of equipment such as users who may have broken their leg
•prevent the closure of a central point of contact for users who have mobility issues to ask for advice.
•continue to subsides reduced parking charges for less mobile users who have no choice but to park in the bull ring centre as the are unable to use public transport.
I am certain that less mobile users, such as myself seek out to choose to visit the bullring and use the central car park as the Birmingham shop mobility service is located in the P2 level of the central car park in the bullring.
The shop mobility service also hired out wheelchairs on a short term loan basis to users that may require these such as if you have broken your leg and need a loan wheelchair.
Please help me and users like me who need the shopmobility service to continue inorder to be able to visit all of what Birmingham city centre has to offer (like any able bodied person) by signing this petition.
History of the service:
A Shopmobility service for Birmingham was first visualised by the Access Committee for Birmingham in the year 1996. They then proceeded to put together a bid to the National Lottery, for funding to help start the scheme. In December 1996 we were awarded a grant from the Lottery. Birmingham City Council also contributed with funding which enabled the idea to turn into reality. Birmingham Shopmobility has been operating since 1998.
We first opened for a period of about eighteen months from Birmingham Central Library, whilst a permanent site at Snow Hill Railway Station was being developed. The permanent move to Snow Hill was completed in June 2000.
After the first opening at Snowhill, a “New Bullring” shopping complex was on the Birmingham Cities drawing board. Again the Access Committee thought it could give an even better service if a Shopmobility unit was provided in this new complex.
A further bid to the National Lottery board in partnership with Birmingham Alliance and Birmingham City Council was successful in achieving funding for the new Bullring Shopmobility scheme which opened on 4th September 2003. This new unit is proving to be yet another success, with new members joining every day and existing members all enjoying the new facilities.
The schemes proved to be a great success by providing a free service to any one with a mobility difficulty whether permanent or temporary to enjoy equal opportunities within the city centre. Since 2009 Snow Hill centre has closed and hire charges were introduced to raise some sustainable income.