A wheel challenge: Councillors try out Cheltenham streets in a wheelchair
Disabled Cheltenham residents campaigning for more accessible streets challenged councillors to explore Cheltenham in a wheelchair on Friday, trying out some of the most difficult routes.
So we are delighted to support people with their brilliant campaigning, and really pleased to welcome the councillors to Gloucestershire House.Lesley Gamm, service manager at Gloucestershire House
Dave Evans and Kay Torres use electric wheelchairs and met with the former Cheltenham mayor Klara Sudbury and her Liberal Democrat colleague Councillor Iain Dobie, who used Dave’s spare wheelchair. Dave, 57, and Kay, 35, both live 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, has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) – a progressive condition that affects the nervous system.
‘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.’
The group tackled the pavements on Leckhampton Road and Bath Road. Dave, Kay and other wheelchair users 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.’
Councillor Klara Sudbury said:
‘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.’
Lesley Gamm, service manager at Gloucestershire House, said:
‘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.’
For additional information and photos from the day, contact Nick Bishop on email@example.com or call 01202 747100 / 07889 976267.
Alternatively, you can contact the Leonard Cheshire press office on 020 3242 0399.