WHEELCHAIR-users across Caerphilly county borough are to benefit from funding given to a charity by the Campaign’s parent company.

Nearly £10,000 has been given to British Red Cross Society in the south-east Wales region as part of the Gannett Foundation’s annual funding. The money will be distributed to people across the whole of the south-east Wales area.

Caerphilly is one of the most popular recipients of this service, with 183 people being provided for during this year alone.

Nicola Wannell, Aneurin Bevan Health Board locality manager, said: “Bearing in mind December is a very busy month for us, I’m fully anticipating for there to be over 200 people being provided for by the end of the year.

“It’s the only service where people can come and take out a wheelchair on loan and not have to pay for it.”

The money will be used to purchase new lightweight wheelchairs, as opposed to the current crop of steel ones owned by the British Red Cross Society’s new depot, based in Newport.

The mobility aids service provides wheelchairs for any age, but caters in particular for those recovering from physical injuries and who are unable to walk. Elderly people and the disabled also benefit from the service, which will be given a financial boost amounting to £9,940 to fund new lightweight aluminium wheelchairs at a cost of £130.80 each.

Ms Wannell added: “We are very, very grateful for this funding. We wouldn’t be able to go out and buy these lightweight ones otherwise.“It’s a luxury I suppose.

"People who are elderly in particular find it very difficult to lift the current set of wheelchairs to the back of the car, for example. This means we can help thousands of people because our service tends to provide the wheelchairs for a maximum of eight weeks and then they can be loaned out over and over again over the course of a year.

“People are very generous and it takes donations to keep us going so we don’t expect users to pay, but we wouldn’t turn away any donations either. It’s a completely unique service.”

A lack of funding in the past has seen the service unable to replace older wheelchairs and instead forced to do repair work and install spare parts. But the grant by the Gannett Foundation will be a welcome boost for the service, and thousands of people across Caerphilly county borough and beyond.