Cheltenham’s accessibility put to the test as Councillors attempt to navigate difficult routes in a wheelchair
Disabled Cheltenham residents campaigning for more accessible streets challenged councillors to navigate notoriously difficult to navigate routes in a wheelchair on the 20th September.
Powerchair users Dave Evans and Kay Torres met with the former Cheltenham mayor Klara Sudbury and her Liberal Democrat colleague Councillor Iain Dobie to take on the challenge, with the Councillors using Dave’s spare wheelchair.
The group tackled the pavements on Leckhampton Road and Bath Road, with Dave, Kay and other wheelchair users highlighting that they face “constant problems” on these key routes to local shops, cafes, pubs and banks.
Councillor Iain Dobie, deputy leader of Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats, said: “It was an eye-opening experience for me. We will be taking what we’ve learned today back to the council and will be considering what we can do to make sure Cheltenham is an inclusive place to live.”
Both Dave and Kay are residents at Gloucestershire House, a care home run by disability charity Leonard Cheshire in the Leckhampton area of Cheltenham.
Dave, a father of two and former manager of youth services who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease – a progressive condition that affects the nervous system, said: “Disabled people need accessible streets so we can get out and about and take part in our local community. It’s great that councillors could see the problems we face first-hand and recognise the need for change.
“I want the pavements safe not only for wheelchair users but for pedestrians too. Gloucestershire County Council is investing £150 million in the road network. Some of that money needs to be spent on necessary improvements to our streets. Raising awareness among local politicians and in local communities is an important step to highlight issues disabled people face every day.”
Lesley Gamm, Service Manager at Gloucestershire House, added: “Access improvements to our local streets and pavements are much needed. Everyone living here, and many other people, would benefit. So we are delighted to support people with their brilliant campaigning and really pleased to welcome the councillors to Gloucestershire House.”
Supporting up to 36 disabled adults, Gloucestershire House is a residential service with nursing care run that includes six separate bungalows as ‘supported living’ accommodation. It has a hydrotherapy pool, a physio and an occupational therapist, as well as offering a wide range of activities to residents.
Councillor Klara Sudbury finished: “It was fantastic to see Dave and Kay today and to visit Gloucestershire House – a great opportunity to meet people and find out what really matters to them. We welcome feedback and want to make the town more accessible to all.”https://thiis.co.uk/cheltenhams-accessibility-put-to-the-test-as-councillors-attempt-to-navigate-difficult-routes-in-a-wheelchair/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Councillors-Cheltenham-Challenge.jpg?fit=1000%2C647&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Councillors-Cheltenham-Challenge.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomThird SectorAccessibility,Challenge,Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease,Cheltenham,Gloucestershire House,Iain Dobie,Leonard Cheshire,Liberal DemocratsDisabled Cheltenham residents campaigning for more accessible streets challenged councillors to navigate notoriously difficult to navigate routes in a wheelchair on the 20th September.Powerchair users Dave Evans and Kay Torres met with the former Cheltenham mayor Klara Sudbury and her Liberal Democrat colleague Councillor Iain Dobie to take on...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine