Cheltenham’s wheelchair service for disabled people needing transport support around the town centre has been axed due to Covid-19.
In a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Flo Clucas said the Shopmobility service, based in St George’s Place, costs up to £97,000 to run but generates £6,000 in income.
Cheltenham Shopmobility provides battery powered wheelchairs and scooters, as well as manual wheelchairs.
The lockdown has caused a fall in demand for the service, a council report said, adding that no customers have used Shopmobility since March.
In 2015 Shopmobility moved from the Beechwood Arcade, where John Lewis is now, into the Horse and Groom in St George’s Place.
Ms Clucas (LD, Swindon Village) said in the meeting, services are available to residents who need them, both charitable and private, and that the borough council “will help anyone who is unable to find alternatives”.
Three employees who run the service are potentially being made redundant unless they can be redeployed, the council report said.
“It has been operating since the Covid-19 lockdown began, so there have been no residents who have sought the service or taken part in the service.
“There has been an options appraisal and a community impact statement. The report shows the cost the council is currently bearing in relation to the Shopmobility scheme.
“The costs are quite extensive and obviously with no income, they are more than what they would be normally. Although the income from Shopmobility is about £6,000 a year, in spite of the fact it costs up to £97,000 to operate.
“So we are in a situation where this service has not been running for more than six months. Alternative services, both charitable and private, are available to residents who need use them, and those services I am sure will have them being used by the few who use the Cheltenham service.
“We will look at helping any resident who has been unable to find an alternative, although as I say in the last six months the service has not been operating in any event.”