Having experienced disability discrimination firsthand in my home town, and despite raising the issue with the perpetrators I have not or should I say maybe was not taken seriously until I threatened taking the action further and reporting it all over social media. Now I am lucky that over the past 18 months despite much difficulty, increased pain and adversity I found a support group that helped me to start getting back some of the confidence that I hadn’t even realised had been chipped away from me. Suddenly using my wheelchair or mobility scooter in public wasn’t such a big deal anymore if it meant going out and having some fun. Contacting adult social services and community OT’s wasn’t giving in, and speaking to a psychologist(s) was probably the best move I did. When I was faced with discrimination it would/could have been easy for me to get embarrassed and start hiding away again, I’ve done it many times over the years since my car accident so to slip back there would have been my natural defence mechanism had it not been for Norfolk Against Chronic Pain. Having their support and knowing that I was not alone meant I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was suffering discrimination. Importantly here there are two things that you need to know about me, firstly I do no go creating a fuss unless there is a real reason to, it is why I had never complained about the parks in Wymondham that had been there for years, and secondly I do not go creating a problem without exploring solutions too.
I was limited with the number of people I could turn to for support help and guidance though, other local towns and cities near me had Disability Access Groups who campaigned for accessible facilities and more importantly worked with businesses, and local councils during design and planning of new projects to ensure the needs of disabled people were met in line with the Equality Act. I have no doubt that I will suffer much mud slinging in the coming months from certain people for making a stand but I know in my heart of hearts I am doing the right thing, the support I am getting from other people who until a month ago had never met me is amazing and the majority of people seem to understand and agree that disability discrimination in the 21st Century should not be tolerated.
With this in mind and having blogged about wanting to do this for many months now I am pleased to be able to announce that the
ENABLING ACCESS in WYMONDHAM GROUP (our working title for now) – Will be holding its INITIAL MEETING on
Thursday 31st March 10.30am-12.30pm
With the help of Equal Lives and the creator of a local Talking Newspaper we have booked the Frank Bunn room in the Town Green Centre behind Wymondham Methodist Church. The meeting is designed for the people of Wymondham Council Wards (initially with the possibility of expanding at a later date) with any type of learning difficulty and/or disability, any local charity or disability group and carers of disabled people to come and meet with us to discuss the creation of an Enabling Access in Wymondham and District group similar to the ones that Norwich and Dereham have.
I stress at this time the project is in its infancy and I have been invited to the upcoming meeting at Norwich and Dereham and I hope with the help of them, Equal Lives and most importantly the local community and volunteers to start a group to support the Wymondham Community.
People wishing to come along can contact me and we will look to ensure accessibility needs are met on the day.
I could not be more proud at having the opportunity to get such a venture of the ground, and whilst I have masses to learn and no doubt it will be a long and bumpy road there are many residents who I know feel as passionately about Wymondham as I do.