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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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mick

your input needed

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Help please,

As some of you may be aware I am a bit of an outdoor nut and have got involved with various groups.

One off which is a statutory body which advises on the “crow act” countryside and rights of way (basically keeping watch on and developing strategies) on stuff like

Access & recreation, Rights of way, open access, (you get the idea).

I have been involved purely as a recreation user/adviser but slowly and surly I have been drawn into the disabled section of the organisation, by nature of the simple fact that I don’t have a left leg. (I didn’t get elected to be on the disabled section so I have been resisting joining this working party) however I am now committed to a couple of projects, one of which is straight forward and I don’t need any help with, but the other one I am completely stumped on and this is where I could do with any suggestions ideas feedback ect ect.

It is how we encourage the disabled community to get out into our national parks (well Northumberland).

Such as

What extra facilities are required?

What sort of help would we like to be available if we need it?

Parking

Suitable pathways

Seating

Cut /short grass for sitting /picnicking

Coffey/tea shop

Maps with suitable walks for different abilities

ECT ECT

All these things can be made available BUT data collected shows that that we (the disabled community) simply don’t use them.

SO my big question to you all is what would it take to get you out into our nation parks, even if it’s just a day outing on a nice sunny day?

What would it take?

I understand that not all of us are passionate about the great outdoors but any help suggestion will be taken onboard with thanks.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this and any suggestions however small will be gratefully acted upon ………………….Mick (wanting too meet you all out there)

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I can see why you're stumped... (I got the pun by the way), I wouldn't know where to start either Mick. I think we all know the parks are there, but perhaps don't know whether, or if, they are accessable. Maybe the assumption that we just don't use the material available isn't strictly speaking true. It's far more likely we just don't have it in our sights.

Maybe an advertising campaign specifically aimed at the disabled community is needed, pointing out the accessability of certain parks and venues.. Adverts in the disabled media, contact the Limbless Association, get onto more forums...

Good luck

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Don't forget those with sensory loss too, Mick. For example, you could supply some sort of audio format of what the view looks like. Perhaps you could get in touch with the RNIB, RNID and the BDA?

Other than that ~

* The type of path - the path width and what the path is made of.

* Don't assume that everyone is in a wheelchair. :rolleyes:

* For those with more profound disabilities, cheap, accessible B&B's (that have, for example, a connected but separate room for a carer) would be a great idea. I've had a quick look at wheelchair accessible B&B's (that I would have to use) and they don't seem to be as well advertised as they are elsewhere in the country. :unsure:

And, lastly, don't we have our own 'access officer' on here? :smile: I know his job spec if slightly different, but he may be able to give you some tips.

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And, lastly, don't we have our own 'access officer' on here? :smile: I know his job spec if slightly different, but he may be able to give you some tips.

I think it's paul@plan-a

Paul?

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Another thing is for easy access to find this information out. Not all of us are as computer literate as others. I have spent hours in tourist places to find I am no further forward.

I live in Milton Keynes at the present and know that there is almost nowhere i cannot go. However, others who arrive in the city have no idea how easy accessible everything is. Where do they look and who do they talk.

Sorry

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I've just come back from Australia and what I found they were really good at doing was signposting how long all of the walks we did would take - and how many kms/miles the walks were. I think that might really be useful in the UK because I'm sure that what must stop people doing walks etc is not knowing whether they are going to be able to get round the whole thing, especially if it's a circular walk because there's no turning back if you know what I mean.

Good luck!

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Hi Mick,

I have have a few bad experiences in the Northumberland area. Things are promoted as being wheelchair accessible but they are not.....big time.

Who designs these routes? Who in their right minds thinks that gravel paths are good for wheelchairs?

It really puts me off even trying to get out into the countryside. I am very independant and get really mad when other peoples stupidity stops me from living my life.

Even with someone trying to push me....some of these routes are totally inaccessible to disabled people in wheelchairs.

Have they ever thought of asking wheelchair users to check the routes for them?

They need to network with peiple of all disabilities.

Lynne

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First of all, thank you for taking the time to reply, I would like to answer you all (individually) and throw a few more questions back at you, however I am away from my pc so it will have to wait till I get back home in a couple of days.

BUT I do fully agree with what you all have written, and the more I look into disabled access the more I realise how much work needs to be done I am finding it years behind with no real plane to bring it kicking and struggling into this century.

I have come to the conclusion its going to take a lot of the right people years to sort it out, and to be quit honest with you I don’t think that I am one of these people,(as a volunteer) .

But I have been busy in my fact finding so far and tomorrow I have a meeting with the head of the parks and the disabled ramblers so maybe there could be some good results coming from that.

It seems to me (so far) that every one is more than willing to help but don’t know how much is needed and where.

And once I get out of my “zone” (amputee) I am no better than the others,

Lynne, you deserve a better answer than this but I haven’t got a clue who decides what is wheelchair friendly and what isn’t, however there is a lady who is wheelchair bound on this committee and I hope to meet her soon and get to talk with her maybe she can help a bit, but I think the problem is finding some one who is wheelchair bound to test these routes out……. like I stated earlier this problem is huge and I feel totally out of my depth…………………..thanks again Mick

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