A sports pavilion near to New Brighton’s promenade is being brought back into use as a Shopmobility centre for the resort.
The former secondary bowling pavilion at Marine Park – opposite the Marine Point leisure and retail development – has been transformed into a base where people with mobility issues can hire equipment to help them get out and about more easily. An adjoining block housing public toilets is also being reopened.
Shopmobility services are already operated in Birkenhead and Liscard shopping centres by the local charity, WIRED. Their services are a lifeline to members of the public, whose disability, age or frailty can often make them feel isolated from the wider community.
Funded by the Council’s Wallasey Constituency Committee to help tackle social isolation, Shopmobility staff and volunteers will operate the centre every weekend making New Brighton more accessible to people with physical disability or mobility issues.
Cllr Bernie Mooney, Chair of Wallasey Constituency Committee, said: “We are thrilled to have supported the addition of this valuable resource to a thriving tourist location. Not only will this help to make New Brighton more accessible, but it brings back into use a building that has been stood empty for many years and opens up further toilets for public access at weekends.”
The project was endorsed by New Brighton Coastal Community Team, a partnership of local traders, community groups and voluntary organisations working alongside Wirral Council and is focused upon building on New Brighton’s strengths to increase tourism and employment, whilst responding to the needs of the local community.
Cllr Tony Jones, Wirral Council’s Pledge Champion for ‘building a vibrant tourism economy’, said the opening of the Shopmobility centre will help meet an identified need in New Brighton.
“New Brighton Coastal Community Team has been given funding from central government to develop an economic plan to continue the regeneration of the area. Improved accessibility was identified as a key priority to help achieve this,” he said.
“The work of the team is also focused upon celebrating and restoring New Brighton’s heritage, which Marine Park – at more than a century old – is very much part of. The idea of bringing the former pavilion back into use as a Shopmobility hub was just too good to pass up and it’s great to see the transformation completed.”
The building will be officially opened by the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Pat Hackett, on Tuesday 27 September. WIRED will be holding an open day from 10am until 4pm on the day for people to visit the site and find out more information.
Mobility aid users are invited from 10am to participate in the event and take part in an exploration of New Brighton, using mobility aids, that will be led by WIRED and help raise awareness about some of the challenges faced by people with mobility issues.
David Maguire, Chief Executive Officer of WIRED, said: “WIRED Shopmobility services have been established in Wirral for over 20 years and have worked in partnership with Wirral Council in ensuring people with mobility issues can still access the local community with the help of mobility aids such as electric scooters and wheelchairs.
“We are delighted to be supported by the Wallasey Constituency Committee to establish a Shopmobility service in New Brighton to enable not only local residents to access services but to help visitors to the resort enjoy some of the facilities available to them. Please call and see us on the 27th September.”
New Brighton Shopmobility is open each weekend from 10am until 4pm. WIRED staff and volunteers are happy to supply or collect a mobility aid from a nearby parking area by calling to book in advance on 07729 334445 (weekends) or 0151 647 6162 (weekdays).