A VITAL service offering a lifeline to disabled people has opened its doors again following lockdown.

Shopmobility provides mobility scooters so that those in wheelchairs can get out and about independently.

It was forced to shut down during the coronavirus outbreak.

Co-ordinator Andy Logue, who phoned all his members every week, has pulled out all the stops to revamp procedures and put social distancing in place so that they could open up.

Long time Shopmobility user Johanna Stewart said it was a much needed boost for disabled people, who have become increasingly isolated since March.

Johanna, 45, from Greenock, said: "It has been a really tough time.

"It is just great to get out and about, go in and out of shops and get around.

"It was really important Shopmobility opened as soon as possible as disabled people are so isolated.

"I was living on my own and couldn't see anyone.

"My mental health took a dive and I suffer from panic attacks too.

"That made it tough to get back out.

"My mum stays in Skye and I have only seen her once this year.

"It was so hard."

The opening of Shopmobility comes as the My Bus service also returns, but many groups and club will remain closed for now.

Johanna, who has spina bifida, runs the local Versus Arthritis social group as well as Inverclyde Buddies, both of which will stay closed until next year.

She added: "We all meet online but it isn't the same.

"You need to get out the house and meet people, have contact with folks."

Run by the Your Voice community care forum and funded by the health and social care partnership, Shopmobility is open three days a week at the moment - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10am-3.15pm - with a new booking system in place.

From their base in Clyde Square they have a one way system in place, using the back entrance, with reduced hours to allow for extra cleaning.

Johanna, who was joined by another Shopmobility regular, Billy McKenzie, for the reopening, said: "I use it every day and I missed it terribly."

Co-ordinator Andy Logue worked tirelessly with support from volunteers to get the doors open, supported by Your Voice volunteer and staff member Louise MacLachlan as well as board member Kenneth Quinn.

Andy said: "It has taken a lot of hard work to get it open and to meet the guidelines.

"But opening up Shopmobility was a priority.

"Disabled people rely on it, they can't get out and about without it.

"We have a steady stream of regulars coming back."

Kenneth added: "People can now go to the shops, the Battery Park and other places.

"They can't do all that without Shopmobility."