CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a decision to keep mobility services in health centres open.
The British Red Cross have announced that they will be keeping open their services in Fareham, Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent and Portchester.
I know it has been an unsettling time and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and continued commitment.Colin Brown, director of independent living and crisis response at British Red Cross
Hundreds of people set up a petition to save the mobility aids centre in Lee-on-the-Solent last month due to fears it would close down.
However, the organisation have since confirmed that following discussions with NHS Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Properties, the centres will all remain open for the foreseeable future.
Peter Patterson, who runs All Seasons in High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent said he was ‘delighted’ with the decision.
Mr Patterson, who had helped with the petition, said: ‘It’s fantastic news.
‘When we heard about the decision we were absolutely delighted.
‘It was a sad time when we thought that it was potentially closing, as, especially for this area, it really is a vital service.’
‘So this has been a really good turn of events.’
The potential closure of the centre would have led to people in the area not having access to wheelchairs or walking frames.
There were also fears that the service at Portchester Health Centre could have closed down as well.
Roger Price, councillor for Portchester East on Fareham Borough Council said: ‘It’s fantastic news that the centre will be kept open.
‘I understand it was very much at risk and the decision has been rumbling on for a few months so it is great that the worrying is now over.’
The centres provide short-term mobility aids, such as wheelchairs to elderly people or those that have recently left hospital.
Colin Brown, director for independent living and crisis response at the organisation said: ‘We’re now very happy to say we will be retaining all the current bases for which we provide mobility aids, allowing the service to continue unchanged for the forseeable future.
‘We have tried to keep staff, volunteers, and interested members of the public informed throughout this process.
‘I know it has been an unsettling time and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and continued commitment.
He added that a service to book aids online is imminent.