A NEW fleet of mobility scooters have been rolled out in an Oxford shopping centre to help disabled customers.

Templars Square Shopping Centre welcomed five more mobility scooters this week after investing £8,000 in an effort to make the building more accessible to people who are less mobile.

The scooters are now available during the centre’s opening hours and can be hired from the management suite.

Templars Square manager Owen Acland, said:“We carefully consider the needs of our community in everything we do.

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“We know that it is really important that we make our shops and services accessible so we’ve introduced new mobility scooters for those visitors who find walking around the centre difficult."

He added: “We want to ensure our local community feel independent and are given access to the centre, when they need it.

"Giving people who are less mobile the opportunity to shop means they can come here and deploy a sense of independence, which can really help their self-esteem and confidence.

“We’re helping them to do a little something for themselves, which is great."

Since introducing the new scooters Mr Acland said the centre had received positive comments from customers and notes to say thanks.

The Oxford Times:

Susan Smith, who used one of the scooters this week, said: “If it wasn’t for these scooters, I wouldn’t be able to come shopping”

Sandra Day Ludbrook, another customer at Templars Square, agreed adding: “I am a regular visitor to the centre and use the scooters all the time.

“I would not be able to go to the centre if it wasn’t for the use of the scooters”

Mr Acland said the scooters have around 40 uses a week, with many people using them for several hours while on site.

He added: “This shows that we are providing a much needed, beneficial service for free to the local community.”

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Templars Square will maintain and service the scooters every year and will continue to offer two of the older scooters together with four wheelchairs that are also used in the centre by visitors.

This is part of the Shopmobility scheme which lends manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility to shop.

Shopmobility is free to join and do not charge for the using the equipment.

They are available near the Hockmore Street entrance.

A registration form for the scheme can be filled out via templarsquare.com to receive a membership card which can br brought to the office. Free guidance is offered for those not familiar with the equipment.