People in Sussex can still access wheelchairs from British Red Cross during lockdown

People in Sussex who need wheelchairs and other mobility aids during the coronavirus crisis do not have to go without because of the national emergency.

That’s the message from the British Red Cross, which provides short-term loans of wheelchairs and other mobility aids across the UK, and has teamed up with Big Yellow Self Storage to scale up its offering in response to Covid-19.

The Red Cross is working in 70 hospitals, providing mobility aids that assist with patient discharge, while most of its 100+ community-based mobility centres remain open so people can order and collect items like wheelchairs.

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In some areas, the British Red Cross can deliver to homes.

Wheelchairs can be hired from British Red Cross. Photo: Pixabay

Mobility aids support people to recover from illness and injury, improving choice, independence and wellbeing, and that helps take the strain off NHS professionals.

Benefits can include reducing pressure on services, speeding up recovery time and enabling people to return home sooner.

People in Sussex who need a mobility aid in the short term can order one online and collect from locations including Brighton, Crawley and Bexhill-on-Sea.

In recent weeks, the British Red Cross has been scaling up its mobility aids service, providing support to additional healthcare sites, including the new Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham and Covid-19 rehabilitation units in parts of northern England such as Knowsley and Cleveland.

The British Red Cross has also teamed up with Big Yellow Self Storage, which has provided 27 storage locations free of charge, so that the charity can store mobility aids and distribute them to hospitals, local resilience forums and even homes.

Operations manager for mobility aids Geoff Cheshire said: “No one should have to stay in hospital for lack of a wheelchair or other mobility aid.

“The lack of a mobility aid can prevent someone from doing even simple tasks around the house, let alone enjoying some meaningful exercise, indoors or out, popping to the supermarket or picking up a prescription.

“Those concerns can be the difference between someone having to stay in hospital or being able to return home, and we want clinicians and emergency responders embedded in communities to know we are here to support them.”

Big Yellow Self Storage chief executive Jim Gibson said: “As part of our commitment to local communities, we support charities up and down the country. Now more so than ever, it is important for us to work together to help in any way we can.”