Mobility scooter hire returningÂ to Sheffield's Crystal Peaks shopping centre after charity's closure
Mobility scooters will again be available to hire at Sheffield's Crystal Peaks shopping centre, after a business stepped into the breach.
Disabled shoppers had been hit by the sudden closure of the charity Shopmobility Sheffield, which also had an outlet on West Street in the city centre, earlier this month.
But bosses at Crystal Peaks have invited Professional Mobility, which has warehouses in Doncaster,Â to partially replace the much-missed service from next Monday, December 17.
It will operate from a contact point in the central atrium outside Superdrug, charging customers the same daily rate of Â£6 as Shopmobility did.
It is aiming to open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with the opening days yet to be confirmed, though the firm has said it hopes to operate seven days a week.
The shopping centre, which will continue to rent out wheelchairs from its customer service desk,Â described the deal with Professional Mobility as a short-term arrangement over the next three weeks, while it pursues a longer-term '˜sustainable' solution.
Professional Mobility's owner John Randle said he agreed to step in after being contacted by one of his customers with news of Shopmobility's demise.
'I emailed the centre manager to ask if he'd be interested in our services, we met yesterday and he asked us to start on Monday, so it's all been a bit of a whirlwind,' he said.
'We've agreed to charge the same fee as Shopmobility did, which means we'll be losing money heavily on the hire service, but in return we're being allowed to promote our products for sale.
'I get a kick out of helping people so it's great that we're able to step in and provide this service.'
Professional Mobility is an online business which lets potential customers test its vehicles and other mobility aids in their homes.
Crystal Peaks centre manager Lee Greenwood said: 'We're very grateful to Professional Mobility for partnering with us to support our customers at this important time of the retail year.'
Shopmobility Sheffield was a volunteer-led service which had been running for more than two decades but closed after losing its council grant in 2017.
Another mobility scooter hire service called Mobile Sheffield, which is funded by the council and Sheffield Business Improvement District, was launched that year and continues to operate from The Moor Market in Sheffield city centre.
For more about Professional Mobility and itsÂ new hire service at Crystal Peaks, visit www.professionalmobility.co.ukÂ or call 0798 9680 034.