Trustees report, November 2021
SHOPMOBILITY, ST HELIER
Trustees report, November 2021
As with last year we have been saddled with Covid which has reduced the number of visitors and kept our local users shielding. We were closed for the first few months of our year with notices up saying we would attend if someone wanted something but no one rang!
We reopened in May but had few users although the numbers increased slightly to August. September was very busy with UK visitors taking advantage of being close to Jersey and wanting to get away when much of the Continent and America were blocked.
We didn’t buy any batteries in March as we didn’t know when they might be needed. In August we purchased sufficient for just 10 scooters but having purchased 13 new ones earlier in the year we hoped to have sufficient reliable numbers to see us through to next Spring. We were pushed in September and a generous donor bought 4 more self-folding scooters which have proved extremely popular with both tourists and locals going abroad.
Our number of hirings during the year was about 2,200 which is less than half the normal 5,500 which shows the effect of Covid.
Our accounts are attached and show a loss on normal operations of about £19,000 saved by the extremely good performance of our reserves invested with Cannacord where the increase was in the region of £24,000. We also saved money by only spending £1,000 on batteries whereas it is normally about £6,000. When looking at our finances we have only made a cash surplus due to the government grants towards paying our staff wages and we are very grateful for this. The total was over £12,000. Although we are health based we are also part of the hospitality industry due to the very large number of visitors to the Island that we assist.
As usual once events began again we loaned to other charities a small number of manual chairs to assist them with disabled people.
Our equipment is listed at the end of this report but it should be noted that a generous tourist wanted a bed pull and paid us the cost and told us to put it into our stock so it could be used by others if required.
We have a problem with storage. At the end of the last calendar year we rented from Fort Regent storage space into which we put our “dry” equipment, ie that which doesn’t need to be charged, to free up space for the scooters, however all our stores in Sand Street and Pier Road are now totally full and once Fort Regent closes we will be in difficulty as we haven’t any spare space at all. The States say that they haven’t any to replace that in Fort Regent which is strange when they have unused buildings according to States reports. We are responsible for quite a large number of visitors to the Island who wouldn’t come here without Shopmobility so we believe that the States has a duty to find the space needed.
We operated during the week with just Jimmy as there was no point in employing a second person who would also have little to do. Due to boredom Jimmy left at the end of our financial year after 5 years and he will be a great loss. Everyone found him helpful and courteous. We will miss him. For the whole of the year our Saturday lad has been Jack and again our users congratulate us on how good, helpful and polite he is. Our volunteers have been Sue, Pam and Trevor and we thank them all for the time that they have given to us looking after the office when we were desperate.
We have been very fortunate in that a generous sponsor paid for the 4 extra folding scooters mentioned earlier. We also get quite a few of our regular members paying £5 instead of the £4 requested which has added substantially to our donations. For 2020 and 2021 we have not charged the annual fee of £40 to existing members as the usage was limited due to both shielding and possible fear of mixing. In spite of this a small number decided to pay as a donation which was generous.
A disappointment to us is the closing of the Mayfair hotel which used to have a considerable number of disabled people in as much as we kept up to 6 scooters there. With the number of hotels closing and the loss of bed spaces where will potential tourists go when visiting this lovely Island (if they can!)
Thanks are also due to Profreight/Ferryspeed for bringing batteries, scooters and other equipment from the UK at no cost to us.
We operate on a different basis to most other schemes. We transfer the phone to a mobile when closed and allow extended hiring of all equipment which is insured for use almost anywhere in Europe. Many schemes restrict the area of use to the particular shopping centre or centre of the town. They also work to Local Government rules and hours so there is little or no flexibility in either working hours or what they undertake. We are different as our main object is to serve those disabled who need us.
Below is a list of the equipment we had at the end of the year and the retail cost is in the region of: £378,500
Scooters 132 Toilet seats/frames 5
Power Chairs 8 Small steps 3
Manual chairs 92 Push chairs 5
Walkers 33 Bath board 1
Shower stools 9 Commode 1
Perch chairs 2 Bed pull up 1
The Trustees, November, 2021.