Today has been a busy day relating to the Enabling Access group I am hoping will be the positive thing to come out of the Ketts Park/KHM Saga – seriously I am expecting Hollywood to be in touch any day now to write the biggest film franchise since Harry Potter. This afternoon I spoke to Jemma from Archant and explained what had prompted me to start trying to create the access group, the main protagonists who have helped so far being Penny Parker at Equal Lives and Tony Vale of The Wymondham & Attleborough Talking Newspaper and when our first meeting is on the 31st March. She will be running an article in the EDP and Mercury this week promoting our meeting, inviting people with learning difficulties and disabilities, carers and any willing volunteers to contact me to arrange to come along and help us to achieve a platform for creating the group and moving it forward, can you tell I’m getting a little excited?
As if that wasn’t enough this evening I was invited and thanks to my support network able to attend a meeting of the Norwich Access Group or NAG as they referred to themselves. It was lovely to meet them, and I feel I have made some great contacts this evening who will be able to help us with getting our own group up and running. I found out that their group has been running since the 1980’s so they have a lot of experience and have built some very good partnerships up over this time with the local Council and various departments in county hall Transport, Highways, Planning etc. They are proactively consulted by various service providers to do assessments, walk or wheel thrus, look at plans and highlight pitfalls in addition to campaigning on behalf of others who contact them via their website about access issues for disabled people. Even before they knew I was attending this evening the issue over the inaccessible playgrounds in the local paper had been brought to their attention and they were wanting to see if they could help Wymondham in any way. They are well funded through a number of grant schemes and via the council themselves and although they are a registered charity and rely heavily on volunteers they are also able to pay for some invaluable services such as a minute taker they have shown that they are a sustainable resource. It has reassured me (as believe me the energy and pain that has been expanded and created just to get me to this stage has caused issues and wobbles) that we can replicate this, it will be a long journey and to be sustainable we need to work in partnership with others applying for all funding and grants we can get our hands on and probably once we are established over a greater area, to cover the small/medium size towns in South Norfolk and the surrounding villages but hey lets not coin an ironic phrase and try to run before we can walk!