A VITAL service in Newport providing mobility scooters is facing closure - and is laying the blame at the feet of Newport City Council.

Shopmobility, located on Upper Dock Street, has been open since 1989 and loans mobility scooters to people with limited movement.

But in December last year the shop was flooded, damaging most of the scooters, leaving only four in working order out of the 20 in the shop.

The scooters cost about £400 second hand or upwards of £900 when brand new.

Peter Wivell, trustee of Shopmobility Newport, said: “The annoying thing is that Newport Council knew about this (the flood) but nobody came around with sandbags.

“They could have forewarned us so we could have arranged to move the scooters out of the way.

South Wales Argus:

Trustee Peter Wivell and Chairwoman Kay Whitcombe

“But they didn’t do anything”.

Now the shop may be closing for good once funding from the council stops at the end of the current financial year.


The shop relied on the roughly £60,000 council funding to survive and have continued to pay the staff fully throughout the pandemic.

They have also moved out of their old address and set up in premises at 181 Upper Dock Street.

Mr Wivell said: “It's hard when you’re funded by the council and then you’re trying to get money.

South Wales Argus:

Scooters at Newport Shopmobility

“You’re clutching at straws everywhere you go.

“Shopmobility is going to cease to exist if we don’t get something”.

The shop has around 200 people a year registering to use the scooters, though there used to be around 300 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now that lockdown is coming to an end, Mr Wivell wonders how Shopmobility will cope with increasing demands.

“Now we're slowly going to come out of Covid, people are going want to get into town, they're going to want to get out,” said Mr Wivell “What are we to do?”.

Kay Whitcombe, chairwoman of Shopmobility Newport said: “We have some people that come in every day of the week.

“They come just to be able to get out I think.

“Of course, we also get people coming in so they can go and see the doctors at the hospital.”

Mr Wivell hopes that the council will reconsider the decision to stop funding Shopmobility and emphasise the unique service they provide.

South Wales Argus:

Most of the scooters were damaged in the December floods

He said: “There is nothing else in Newport that supplies scooters to disabled people”.

A spokeswoman from Newport council said: “In 2016, Newport City Council agreed a phased reduction in discretionary grants to voluntary sector organisations and discussions were held with the organisations in relation to this objective.

“One of the proposals in the 2019/20 budget was to move to a new commissioning process for funding voluntary organisations.

“It formed part of the public consultation on the budget and representatives of these organisations were made aware of the consultation.

“In February 2019, full council approved the proposal as part of the 2019/20 budget.

“Full funding to Shopmobility was extended until the end of that financial year to enable it to develop a more sustainable funding model that was not overly dependent on the council.

South Wales Argus:

The new shopfront for Shopmobility on 181 Upper Dock Street

“We offered support with that work.

“The funding was further extended until March next year and the organisation received the full amount last year even though it was closed for some time because of the pandemic.

“Our teams were out across the city dealing with incidents when torrential rain fell on 23 December in Newport, and other parts of south east Wales, flooding homes and businesses.

“While the council will provide sandbags if they are available, stocks are limited and our priority on this occasion was trying to protect people’s homes”.