A Folkestone mobility supplier has been praised by its customers and community partners for remaining open throughout the coronavirus lockdown, in order to provide essential services to vulnerable people.

Cinque Ports Mobility, which has a showroom and Independent Living Centre on Enbrook Valley road in Folkestone, specialises in the supply and maintenance of essential mobility equipment including wheelchairs, powerchairs, rise and recline armchairs and other independent living equipment. 

Following the Government’s decision in late March to close the majority of retail stores in a bid to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, Cinque Port Mobility’s Managing Director, Chris Cox, took the decision to keep the company open to support vulnerable members of the community.

Chris explained: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have been committed to supporting our customers, as well as local vulnerable residents and healthcare workers. Our goal is to provide caring solutions that enable people to enjoy greater independence, at a time when we all need to be able to make the most of our limited opportunities to get out and about.”

Producers and distributors of medical equipment, alongside therapists such as Occupational Therapists, have been designated as “key workers” by the Government. As such, Cinque Ports Mobility and their partners at Kent Occupational Therapy have been able to continue providing services throughout the crisis, even though many mobility suppliers have closed their doors and furloughed staff.

Chris continued: “Of course, turnover has dropped but it’s not about profit in these times, it’s about being available for the people who need us. It has been a team effort supporting our local community and my colleagues and I are well aware of how important the products and services we provide are to customers with mobility and associated daily living issues.

“We have continued to carry out all essential visits, while adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing full PPE to keep ourselves and our clients safe. These visits have enabled many local individuals to remain independent and safe in their own homes during this unprecedented time.”

A Folkestone resident and customer of Cinque Ports Mobility for over a decade, said: “Early on in the lockdown I required help with an urgent repair to the backrest of my wheelchair. Chris and his team saw me straight away and fixed the problem while I waited. If the company had closed its doors due to the pandemic, I would have been left immobile and my independence would have been seriously affected.

“I’ve always found the team to be approachable, caring and diligent, and the service they provide is vital to maintaining my mobility. There’s never a ‘hard sell’, just a consistently professional and positive attitude to solving problems and providing customers with the best advice and products.”

During the lockdown, Cinque Ports Mobility has also provided support to the White Cliffs Country & Romney Marsh Division of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity which provides lifelong support to service personnel, veterans and their families. 

Robin Aaronricks, Divisional Secretary at SSAFA, said: “Cinque Ports Mobility has provided two wheelchairs free of charge for my clients since the pandemic took hold. The mobility that the chairs have provided has given my clients a new-found sense of freedom and independence which has been incredibly welcome. 

“Giving house-bound people the means to leave their homes and get outdoors into the fresh air has tremendous benefits for mental health, particularly as social distancing measures have closed off many opportunities for interaction.

Chris concluded: “The support we have received from occupational therapists, care homes, healthcare professionals and our customers has been overwhelming. The vast majority of the feedback received could not have been more positive.

“We help customers from all walks of life with various mobility impairments and we are proud to be able to support the NHS and our customers during this crisis and to go the extra mile to play a positive role in our community.”

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