A brief history
It was recognised that people of any age with any form of mobility difficulty whether it is permanent or temporary, were excluded from important community facilities, unable to visit shops, attend appointments, visit leisure services and most significantly live as independently as possible.
In 1997 a former Town Clerk and a Councillor pioneered the setup of the charity. They negotiated an affordable rent for two rooms in the then disused premises Ockenden’s Glaziers. Although the charity was set up by local councillors it has and always will maintain its independence as a non-political organisation.
With this generosity, voluntary fundraising and service funding provided by the Town Council, 4 power scooters and 6 manual wheelchairs were acquired and offered as a hire service.
The charity grew and went on to become a part of the‘3Towns Shopmobility Scheme’ maintaining its independence but in turn joined forces with the Bognor Regis and Worthing Shopmobility to work together. Although through no fault of either branch Worthing Shopmobility and the 3Towns are no longer in existence but we still accept joint membership with Bognor Regis Shopmobility.
Whilst realising there are people that wish to own a mobility scooter but couldn't afford to buy one from new. In 2011 a brokerage service was started that provided an opportunity to buy a used scooter from us with the confidence that it is of a serviceable standard and a good buy.
In 2012 we started to name our scooters after people who have worked for the good of the charity. The first was names 'Bob' after Bob MacDowell who worked tirelessly to try to have Littlehampton Hospital rebuilt. His efforts were in vain but until his passing he helped to raise our profile and fundraising.
In 2013 we renewed our lease at the Bradbury Centre for another 10 years. In our endeavour to move with the times we expanded our services to include those that serve people who own their own scooters. We named it PitStop that is a valeting and check over service, since it was started has proved very popular.
2015 brought about a registration service that gives hope to anyone who has lost or had their scooter stolen to have it returned. Grade 2 medium sized scooters that are used to run along pavements are unregistered and if they go astray are almost impossible to reunite with their owners. We are proud to be working in conjunction with the police to help them in their work. In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we were voted one of the top Shopmobility schemes in the UK. Around 200 Shopmobility schemes took part to find the best among us and won two national awards.
Littlehampton has continued to establish and maintain its services, we are a strong and healthy organisation in our field and hope to build on our success to maintain as high a level of service possible to our customers.
We are currently setting up a scheme called the Mobility Scooter Streetwise Project to offer scooter training to anyone that uses a mobility scooter. Its aim is to help to make our shopping centre and streets safer. We will also encourage users to insure their vehicles. Littlehampton Town Council and Sussex police have already expressed an interest in supporting us with it.