ACCRINGTON'S Shop-mobility scheme is under threat because it cannot afford to pay its insurance bill.
The charity which helps disabled shoppers is no longer able to hire out its scooters and mobility aids until it re-applies for its £2,000 public liability insurance, which it stopped paying in September.
Since then it has been unable to attract further funding because the premises have fallen into disrepair and it is understood the landlord wants to sell the building.
Volunteers at the charity which opened in Accrington in 1999, fear the elderly and disabled people of the town could lose their independence, be left housebound or have to be moved into care if Shopmobility is forced to close.
Fred Riley, vice-chairman of Accrington Shopmobility, on Whalley Road, said: "We are in trouble.
"The service is in danger of closing immediately. It's very urgent.
"We can't let the scooters out because there's no insurance because there's no money."
Volunteers said one lady, who only used the service once-a-year to do her Christmas shopping, had been unable to buy any presents because she couldn't walk unaided.
Another woman who uses the equipment had tried to use walking sticks to get around the town centre but had fallen.
Volunteer Cath Pattinson said: "We do want to move the service forward again but we need help desperately.
"The town needs the service but it doesn't want to support it."
Patrick Collister, chief officer at Age Concern Hyndburn, on Whalley Road, said: "It's most unfortunate if Shopmobility does close.
"Mobility is a key factor in providing an acceptable quality of life, irrespective of age.
"I suspect it won't just affect old people but anybody with a disability or mobility problems who wants to travel within Accrington town centre."
Commenting on the possible closure, Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe, said: "Shopmobility provides a very good and important service. I understand that we are currently looking at ways in which we may be able to help them.
"I would be sorry to see the service disappear."