STAFF at a scheme that helps disabled people access shops in Portsmouth city centre have been praised by an MP.
Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, praised the work of Shopmobility, a charity in Arundel Street.
The scheme allows people with limited mobility to hire power scooters, power chairs, wheelchairs and holiday vehicles.
The scheme is managed by just one member of staff, coordinator Nikki Brooklyn, and a team of volunteers.
Mr Morgan said: ‘I was hugely impressed by the fantastic team and the excellent service they provide.
‘Be it a power chair to nip round town, or a power scooter for longer trips, the service helps people stay independent and tackles isolation.
‘I want to thank Nikki and the team for all they do to help people in Portsmouth.’
The MP had the opportunity to visit city centre shops to experience what life is like with mobility issues and the benefits of a scooter.
He went out with service user Daphne Medze, from Stamshaw.
Daphne, who is registered disabled and has used Shopmobility for 13 years, said: ‘I don’t know what I would do without this service. It gives you independence, confidence and self esteem.
‘It was good fun to go out with the MP. He hadn’t realised just how difficult it was to get in and out of shops.’
Mr Morgan said: ‘Visiting shops and negotiating pavements and kerbs was a real insight.
‘I learnt a lot about how the barriers of inconsiderate parking, uneven paving and the lack of drop kerbs can present challenges to people using mobility scooters.
‘I will be taking views heard back to feed into local debates and in parliament so that action can be taken.’
Nikki said: ‘It was brilliant to have the MP visit. As a charity it is a one in a million opportunity, it was nice to have his support.’
She said the charity was in vital need of more funds and volunteers. She encouraged people to get involved.
Nikki added: ‘For me it’s all about enabling people to get out and about and giving people their independence.
‘Our customers can spend quite a lot of money too, so it brings revenue into the city.
‘But for me, the greatest thing is seeing the smiles on their faces.’
For more go to portsmouthshopmobility.co.uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org