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Following mass closures in 2018, the British Red Cross has opened two mobile pop-up services in the Hampshire area to enable elderly and disabled people to borrow vital mobility equipment.

The news comes following the announcement in October 2018 that the charity would be closing 11 of its physical equipment centres across the Hampshire area, despite petitions, in a bid to achieve a more cost-effective service.

Then, in November 2018, the Red Cross closed another centre in Romsey, Hampshire, amounting to a total of 12 mobility stores being closed down in Hampshire in 2018.

The equipment centres were initially closed down due to lack of finances and the charity struggling to keep up with the steep running costs. It was also noted that the Red Cross was running in an effective way, with some of the stores being just 20 miles apart from each other.

However, the charity has now opened a mobile pop-up shop in Romsey and Totton so residents can access the equipment service. Totton’s service also offers a Friday home delivery service, which is available by appointment.

Red Cross Mobility Aids Hub Manager Aaron Stevens told the Daily Echo: “We know what a huge difference a wheelchair can make to someone’s quality of life while they are unwell, injured or recovering. The pop-ups are a great way for us to cut costs while keeping the service going.”

The news was welcomed by Totton Councillor David Harrison, who launched a campaign to save the original service.

He said: “I totally understand why the Red Cross wasn’t able to pay commercial rates to operate from buildings. The most important thing is that residents in Totton and Romsey will now be able to easily access the service.

“I would like to thank everyone who signed the petition and supported the campaign.”

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