Door to Door: a travel guide for disabled people
The ability to do your own shopping is one of the more cherished signs of independence for people with limited mobility, and there are schemes which help to make that possible.
In some areas there are dedicated shoppers' buses, which provide transport to and from local shops. These are either run by retailers or by the local authorities. These are wheelchair accessible and are often known as 'mobility buses'.
Shopmobility is a scheme where people with limited mobility can borrow manual and powered wheelchairs or pavement scooters to enable them to shop, or to visit leisure or commercial facilities within shopping centre, town or city.
Some schemes may also be able to arrange for an escort to help with shopping, which is particularly useful if you are blind or partially sighted, but you will need to give plenty of notice if you wish to use this service.
They are usually based at shopping centres and have over 280 centres around the UK.
Each individual scheme may have different rules and conditions. It is a good idea to contact the scheme you wish to use, to find out what services and equipment they offer, as well as to check the opening hours and any charges before using the service.
Some Shopmobility schemes offer a free service, but at others you may have to pay an annual membership charge, a small one off fee or returnable deposit for the hire of the wheelchair. Rules vary between schemes so it is a good idea to check with the scheme you wish to use.
Most schemes ask that you bring identification containing your name and address on your first visit; this is so that schemes can complete a registration form and keep a record of your details.
Many schemes will issue you with a membership card and, on your next visit, you can simply show this card.
The National Federation of Shopmobility UK (NFSUK) has a directory of its own members nation-wide. More information about Shopmobility schemes can be found at: www.shopmobilityuk.org.
There are also other schemes which provide a similar service that are not members of NFS.
Most large stores, particularly supermarkets, can provide wheelchairs and /or pavement scooters for mobility impaired shoppers to use in the store.