HAMPSHIRE residents have been reassured that they can still access wheelchairs throughout the coronavirus crisis, by the British Red Cross.

The British Red Cross provide short-term loans of wheelchairs and other mobility aids across the UK, and they have teamed up with Big Yellow Self Storage to scale up its offering in response to the virus and to ensure that no one goes without.

Most of the community-based mobility centres across the country remain open so people can order and collect wheelchairs and mobility aids, while deliveries can be made in some areas.

People in Hampshire who need mobility aid in the short term can order online and collect from locations including Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Romsey, Totton, Lymington, Portsmouth, Fleet, Basingstoke and Fordingbridge and Hayling Island

The organisation's 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.”

British Red Cross research shows that wheelchairs can help people manage day-to-day life better and aid rehabilitation inside and outside the home, giving them a better chance to return to good health and an independent life.

These wheelchairs are generally available to hire for £15 per week for up to 20 weeks and are free to borrow for people who cannot afford to pay.

After teaming up with Big Yellow Self Storage, 27 storage locations were provided free of charge, so that the charity can store mobility aids and distribute them to hospitals, local resilience forums and even homes.

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.

“By donating space across the UK to the British Red Cross, we’re able to provide additional secure, accessible and clean facilities for the organisation to store its mobility aids while enabling its wonderful volunteers to continue with their invaluable work at this time.”