“THIS place is like a home from home” — that’s what Shopmobility’s members say about the Princess Square store threatened with closure.

For many regular users of the shop, which provides mobility scooters for hire and has a cafe at the back of its base, the hub is seen as a social “club” where friends can get together.

Over the past two weeks, the News has told the stories of those vulnerable and disabled residents who are worried about the shop closing following Shopmobility’s gradual cut in funding from Bracknell Forest Council (BFC).

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Shop managers say they need to recover the £30,000 lost from council grants or the store could close in the next 18 months — meaning those who rely on the space as an escape might have nowhere to meet in the near future.

Connie Brown, who is 69, says she has been using Shopmobility for ten years, and she told the News she would get “very depressed” if the store shut.

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She added: “It would mean I would be in the house all the time, 24/7. I can’t come out. It drives you mad.

“If you feel lonely you can come here, have a coffee, you know everybody.

“When you come here, it feels like you’ve done something. It cheers you up and when you get home you don’t mind if you’re on your own. It’s nice.”

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Bracknell Forest Council consulted with Shopmobility bosses when gradual cuts were outlined at the start of the 2016/2017 year and gave advice to bosses about how to raise funds to keep the store running at a cost of £55,000 a year.

But manager Bob Draper said one fundraising option would mean increasing membership prices from £30 annually to around £80 for its 107 members, something Bob says would be “impossible” as many members are pensioners or receive benefits.

One member, Sheila Lambourne, who also volunteers at the store to help keep it running, told the News how vital the store has been for her.

She said: “I lost my husband three months ago. I volunteer here. These people here giving me the support I need… they’ve been a lifeline.

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“I enjoy coming down, I help, it saves me being at home all day, so without this place, people like me would be lost.

“I think it’s vital we keep it open as long as possible.

“People come in when they’ve got things they’re troubled about, and there’s always someone who can give you support. It’s what you need. Without this, I’d be lost. It’s helped me greatly.”

Bracknell Forest Council says it recognises the importance of the voluntary and community sector in “enhancing the quality of life for our residents”.

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A statement from the authority read: “We continue to support a number of organisations. “However, like all other local authorities, we are faced with an increasing demand for services, which isn’t matched by additional funding.

“We worked with Shopmobility, fully consulting with them on this change, and support was offered to develop their business plan to help generate income.

“We are committed to continuing to support Shopmobility’s trustees to enable the service to develop a sustainable future.”

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Fundraising suppers, bingo nights, sales from the store and income from the Bracknell Forest Lottery help to provide some funding for the charity.

But for the members who are frequently found at the store, it could be a nervous wait to see if their wish of keeping the shop open comes true.

Dotty, who has been visiting the store three-times-a-week for the past five years, told the News: “We really do need this place. It’s essential.

“It’s a lovely place to come to. If Bracknell didn’t have this we wouldn’t have anything.

“It’s like a club. Everybody gets to know one another.

“This place is like a home from home.”