I lose track of what installment number I am up to with my dispute with Wymondham Town Council over the new play area that has been created at Ketts Park not being disabled friendly or more importantly having disabled access. Given that the council knew the ground it was installed on had very poor drainage and still installed the play equipment without giving consideration to how disabled users would get between the equipment they installed was bad enough but for me to actually contact them and highlight the accessibility issue before the equipment was installed and not making provision in unforgivable. So I find myself at a crossroads, do I do nothing, do I wait even longer for the council to get back to me about maybe putting something in, despite having promised this would be done in an email before installation commenced and not doing it, or do I now say enough is enough and go down the legal route. I have been loathed to explore the final route because I had hoped to resolve this issue amicably months ago, this not being the case and me now being retired due to my ill health under 40 years of age the issue of financing such a case is an issue. I know in the USA through my reading of good ol’ John Grisham novels that large firms do some work free of charge for the local community under some pro bono scheme, does anyone in Norfolk, UK offer this? Do any of my friends or readers know if this is the case? Would other firms outside my county take up the case ‘pro-bono’ if they offer if this service?
What I like about blogging, and this was something I had not expected when I took it up in April 2015 was the sense of community and belonging that it brings. I recently stumbled across this blog written by Doug Paulley http://www.kingqueen.org.uk/dart/ and one of his pages covers all sorts of information relating to the Disability Re-Adjustment Tool, and in this area of his blog he talks through and links to all different articles relating to suing people under grounds of disability discrimination. There is a step by step guide and if you feel capable of doing this over anything I would encourage you to do so. Unfortunately due to the high amounts of medication and the associated side effects I am not mentally or physically capable of doing this. This leaves me somewhat in no mans land and a bit of a quandary. I have contacted one firm who does pro bono work but they are based in West Yorkshire so a long way from home! I feel very strongly about the issue and do not wish to gain financially from it, purely for the park to be made accessible to all 365 days a year.
You may be wondering what prompted this revisit today – if you aren’t do not read on, if you are, let me tell you a story;
Today my LG asked if we could go to the park as the weather was dry. When we asked which one she unsurprisingly asked to go to the one I cannot get to, why wouldn’t she it is the newest and biggest park in our town. Once we had explained to our LG that I could not go with her as it is inaccessible to me and narrowly avoided a meltdown with only a few stomps of it’s not fair, it’s not fair (to be honest if I could I would have stomped and joined in with her as she is right it is not fair and if a 3 year old can see this why cannot grown Councillors? Plus if I had the pain this would cause would be excruciating and counterproductive) we persuaded her we should go elsewhere. Once again though I was feeling awful inside before we’d left – the social media trending on our local Town sites of avoid Ketts Park unless in wellies and old clothes that can get muddy, meant we knew there was no point in trying I mean how do you put wellies on wheels?
We got my mobility scooter sorted and she asked if she could take her own scooter so she could be like daddy. This is a Thomas the Tank Engine three wheel scooter that she perfected using over the summer. It really touched me that having calmed down rather than seeing my electric scooter as something embarrassing like I did for so many months she saw it as a plaything and wanted to copy me and use hers. We made it to the park and I got some great shots of her on the ‘big’ swings now that she is 3
When we left the park we said we would call past another park so she could do the assault course on the way home. As we had been avoiding meltdown before we left the photos were taken on my mobile as I forgot our good one. It wasn’t until I was taking the photos at the next park (which I used to play (ahem) over when I was a child) that I got more infuriated with the whole park debacle. I haven’t complained about the park that my wife and LG went onto to do the assault course as it has been in existence long before the world understood about disability discrimination, but she was closer to me on this park than she would be at the other park giving where the path ends and the amount you can see in the photos are massively different (neither one used zoom) as you will be able to see I could not make out her at all (even if I did get a good image of the Abbey in the distance from Scooter Cam) and certainly wouldn’t as the council intimated in one email be able to control any incidences that may occur
We then made the most of the walk home, well my LG and I did, her little legs had been carrying her for miles and using her scooter, so for the last part of the journey she hitched a ride. As a special treat (and because my wife was left carrying her scooter which was heavy and meant she was going slowly) I turned the speed right down on the scooter and left my LG in complete control of the moving lever and steering us. She did a very good job and it helped her with her concentration, paying attention and listening skills.
For now I guess I need to wait to hear back from some of the irons in the fire before I make my next step!