CITY MP Flick Drummond took a ride in an electric buggy to learn of the challenges facing disabled people in Portsmouth.
It was arranged by Shopmobility, which helps people with mobility problems get around.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘I wanted to experience for myself the challenges people who use electric wheelchairs face when it comes to getting around our streets so it was good to visit this wonderful charity.
‘I found out immediately that most of our shops are well laid out, with space left between stands for people to move around. But in some places, there are not wide enough gaps for a wheelchair or mobility scooter to get around or turn.
‘In the streets, there were examples of badly-sited street furniture and dropped kerbs which aren’t well-designed for wheelchair users and this is a real problem for people wanting to get around on a buggy.’
Flick talked to Shopmobility’s Nikki Brooklyn about safety worries, with some people who own their own buggy lacking safety training before heading on to the streets, and about the charity’s concerns over continued funding from the city council.
‘I’m keen to explore how Shopmobility can attract backing from local shops and businesses, because the scheme brings them customers,’ Mrs Drummond added.
‘This is a fantastic service, run by committed staff, and they offer support to vulnerable people which is not available anywhere else and I hope it will continue to get the funds it needs.’
Shoppers can join Shopmobility, in Arundel Street, for £10 per year and they can then hire a scooter for £5 per day.
There are options for overnight or weekly hire.