British Red Cross and Tesco unveil wheelchair loan scheme in Bedford

It aims to help vulnerable people regain their independence

By Clare Turner
Monday, 19th July 2021, 1:01 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 1:17 pm

British Red Cross and Tesco have teamed up to distribute wheelchairs on a click-and-collect basis at the Riverfield Drive store in Bedford.

The pilot scheme - which is being offered once a week - aims to help vulnerable people regain their independence.

And it's hoped convenient access to wheelchairs at Tesco sites will play a big part in helping people get back to life as normal.

Sheric Rafferty has already used the service

Sheric Rafferty, 51, of Bedford, has already used the service.

She needed a wheelchair to help her disabled sister leave the house after cataract surgery.

Sheric said: “Her confidence has really suffered in the pandemic and she hasn’t been getting out very much."

She was surprised but impressed to find she could pick up a wheelchair in Tesco car park.

“It was very convenient and all very efficient,” she added.

“It was one less thing to try and factor in and it gives us a chance to see whether a wheelchair is a good longer-term solution. We’re taking things slowly, but having the chair on hand means my sister has time to adjust to using it."

Geoff Cheshire, head of the Mobility Aids Service at the British Red Cross, said: “We know there’s a need for a service like this and we’re delighted that Tesco is helping to make it happen by providing car park spaces for our teams to use.”

To reserve a wheelchair, visit the Red Cross online booking system or call 0300 456 1914, and make a donation when booking.

You’ll then be given an individual time for collection from the Red Cross pop-up point, in the Tesco car park at Bedford.