Supermarket and British Red Cross team up to provide secure distribution
British Red Cross is the biggest national provider of wheelchairs on a short-term basis. Picture: British Red Cross
Now it’s even more convenient and Covid-safe to get a wheelchair from the British Red Cross, who’ve teamed up with Tesco to provide a new pop-up service.
British Red Cross staff and volunteers will be on hand once a week in the Tesco car park at Hammersmith to distribute wheelchairs on a socially distanced, click and collect basis.
This project aims to help vulnerable people regain their independence by improving their mobility, as well as easing the pressure on NHS services by freeing up beds and enabling patients to return home sooner.
The partnership comes at a time when lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, people need to be able to get to vaccination appointments and hopes are high that more people may soon be able to attend celebratory events like weddings.
It is hoped such convenient access to wheelchairs at Tesco sites will play a big part in helping people get back to life as normal and ensure no one is left behind because of mobility challenges.
Head of the Mobility Aids Service at the British Red Cross, Geoff Cheshire, said, “We know there’s a need for a service like this and we’re delighted that Tesco is helping to make it happen by providing car park spaces for our volunteers to use.
“We have all been restricted in what we can do over the last year but we hope these pop-ups will help people remain active, get out and about and begin to return to the lives they enjoyed before the pandemic.”
British Red Cross research shows wheelchairs can support people to recover from illness and injury, improving choice, independence and wellbeing.
Matt Wright, Store Manager at Tesco Hammersmith superstore, said: “We’re proud to be supporting our local community in Hammersmith with easy access to mobility aids through this new initiative with the British Red Cross. This is just another small way we are helping our customers and adding to our long term partnership with British Red Cross.”
Reserving a wheelchair cab be done using the Red Cross online booking system or via the phone and making a donation of £17.50 a week. You’ll then be given an individual time for collection from the Red Cross pop-up point, in the Tesco car park.
Anne Okwera, 48, is originally from Uganda but is now living in London. She has worked in the Mobility Aids Service in London and is also training to be a Red Cross volunteer vaccinator.
“Providing wheelchairs is a great thing to be able to do for the community,” said Anne: “What inspired me to do this job was that when I first came to London I was supporting one of my relatives who was using a wheelchair and so in helping her - going shopping, going out, going on holiday - I really saw the need for her wheelchair. Before that, I didn’t even know how to push and fold a wheelchair and I learnt a lot.
“Now I’ve seen the need for it first hand, and I know what it means to be able to find a wheelchair when you need it, to have the means to afford one and, just as important, is to be able to collect it from somewhere convenient.
“They are amazing at the Red Cross. I found a new family there and saw the power of kindness in active reality. They live their values and this pop-up service will make a difference to so many people. “
If you need a wheelchair but will struggle to cover the cost, get in touch with the British Red Cross as they still may be able to help you.
The pop-up service is part of a new pilot scheme which will run until September 2021. It’s hoped that the project will roll out in more locations nationwide, later this year.
The British Red Cross is the biggest national provider of wheelchairs for short-term use assisting around 50,000 people in 2019 when it had 950 active volunteers. It also provides other accessories and home equipment like bathroom aids and commodes.
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May 21, 2021