SHOPMOBILITY CHANGES FROM 1ST APRIL 2009

Despite the 1st of April date we are sorry to say that this post is not a hoax.

We have been faced with a number of difficult decisions to make to continue to provide Birmingham Shopmobility in a difficult funding climate.

We have been able to secure funding from Birmingham City Council which will enable us to deliver the shopmobility service from our Bullring shopmobility. (see seperate page for details). The Snow Hill based service has been temporarily suspended until we can organise some additional volunteer support. We hope this suspension won’t be for too long. 

Additionally we have reluctantly decided to follow the example of most of our Shopmobility neighbours and introduce charges to use our equipment. Using other scheme’s ideas and in discussion with some of our regular customers we have designed a 3 tier system.

‘FRIEND OF SHOPMOBILITY’ 

Members agree to pay us a variable sum over £5 each month by Standing order or a single cash payment of £60 or more. This enables them to use the scheme as often as they wish without paying any additional charges.

‘ANNUAL MEMBER’

A £12 annual membership charge is made together with a £1 hire fee paid on each visit.

‘VISITOR MEMBER’

Aimed at the occasional visitor who needs assistance for the day or for a short period, perhaps due to an injury, this facility requires a payment of £3.00 for each visit. 

Although this is an important way for us to supplement the income for Birmingham Shopmobility, we are pleased to say that with the continuing support of the managers of Bullring we are able to keep the parking concession at its current level of 3 hours free and then £1 per hour.

Last Xmas, we did not attempt to run a raffle as a fund raiser, asking instead for donations, preferably with a completed gift aid declaration, which would also help us claim additional money from Inland Revenue. This was as successful as the previous attempts to raise funds through raffles and actually cost us less, as there were no ticket printing costs to take out. Overall, The initiative brought in a little over £1000, which was a useful sum and which went towards the costs of repairing scooters to keep them operating.

This year however we have decided not to spend any money on newsletters and postage to over 3500 of our customers asking for a similar exercise. We have only limited funds available to us, which we need to use effectively to keep Birmingham Shopmobility open till next April.  We have recently submitted a funding application for the next 3 years, and we hope to hear about the outcome  of this early in 2008.

In the meantime, if anyone wishes to send us a donation to swell our depleted coffers, we would be happy to hear from you. Cheques and postal orders made payable to ‘Birmingham Shopmobility’ will be warmly received and the money spent wisely.

Happy Xmas and Best Wishes for 2008 from all of us at Birmingham Shopmobility

GREAT FUNDRAISING INITIATIVE

WAYFINDER – GREAT NEWS FOR THE SCHEME

The innovative Wayfinder scheme, designed to help people with sight loss or impairment has been a great success in Birmingham city centre, with great feedback from people who use the facility.

Birmingham City Council have decided now to encourage even more take up of the scheme by making the Trigger fobs free of charge for residents of the city.

Fobs are available from Birmingham Focus on Blindness and Birmingham Shopmobility.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE

Back in August 2006, we told you about an exciting fundraising initiative set up by the owners of Buffet Island restaurant on the Tyburn Road. Proceeds were to be shared between Good Hope hospital, the Princess Diana Childrens Hospital and Birmingham Shopmobility.

Well, the great news is that a grand amount of money was raised, and on Thursday 11th January, Irene Wright, our chairperson was present at the restaurant for the Grand Prize draw. Birmingham Shopmobility came out as a winner with a great donation of £1600.

Our grateful thanks are recorded to Simon & Sue ,the restaurant owners, all the people who bought tickets and Paul Hampton, who was instrumental in our involvement with the event.

THANKS EVERYONE!

MORE CITY CENTRE ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS

Birmingham City Centre now has a ‘Wayfinder’ talking signs system installed in the city centre. Officially to be launched on Thursday 20th July 2006, the system should be of great benefit to blind and partially sighted people to help them get around the city centre. The scheme has been developed using REACT units developed through RNIB and which have been installed at 57 different points in the city centre.

The scheme works by the user activating an information message at each of the REACT points, which describes the location and gives associated information. The REACT units are set off by a ‘Trigger Fob’, carried by the individual users.

Birmingham Shopmobility is pleased to support the scheme in a practical way by acting as the city centre outlets for the purchase or hire of the ‘Trigger Fobs’. Current price for the fob is £25, and can be obtained with a full information package in a number of formats, including large print,CD,Audio tape and Braille.

Prospective users, support workers or carers can contact us at either Shopmobility Centres for more details or to arrange purchases. All of our various contact details for each shopmobility centre are on the respective pages of this website, and telephone numbers are also included here for convenience. Snow Hill is 0121 236 1686 and Bullring is 0121 616 2942

A link to the official Birmingham City Council Wayfinder page is to be found at the left of our home page. Just click on the word ‘Wayfinder’

Trigger Fobs are also available from Birmingham Focus on Blindness, 48 Woodville Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9AT, tel 0121 478 5217