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Despite petitions campaigning to keep them open, mobility equipment facilities across Hampshire are being closed down by the British Red Cross in a bid to achieve a more “cost-effective” service.

The news comes following an announcement in September that the British Red Cross would be closing 11 centres across Hampshire between September and December.

The mobility aid centres allow people with mobility needs to stay independent by providing them with free, short-term loans of various mobility devices, such as wheelchairs and walking aids.

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Despite local petitions which were campaigning to keep the equipment centres open, the Red Cross is still closing the facilities down across Hampshire.

Councillor David Harrison for Totton, Hampshire, was amongst those campaigning to keep the Totton centre open.

He told the Southern Daily Echo: “The two worst aspects of the closures of so many mobility centres is that people will find it much harder to access the services, involving a lot more inconvenience and travelling time. It’s also a really great shame to have lost many of the fantastic volunteers who run the service.

“It’s sometimes only when a service is lost that people really appreciate the value of it. I know, from personal experience, that having a Red Cross mobility centre in Totton was a huge help when my elderly parents needed the loan of equipment.”

Aaron Stevens, Mobility Aids Manager at the Red Cross, said: “Reducing the number of locations across Hampshire will help us use our resources wisely and allow us to deliver a cost-effective service reaching as many people as possible.

“Inevitably, these changes may cause some inconvenience to members of the public for which we’re very sorry.”

He added that the charity is considering other options, such as a delivery service, to help keep people mobile.

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