I’m still pretty new to this being disabled stuff. Somethings have quickly become the norm, like finding out that somewhere that somewhere doesn’t have suitable access. Every now and then I come across something that is completely unexpected .
A nasty surprise
What I couldn’t have imagined was finding out that my local district council has submitted plans to remove essential, irreplaceable disabled parking from the town centre. In very measured “PR” responses to criticism of their plans, South Somerset District Council maintains that the parking in Middle Street, Yeovil is simply being relocated. However, when the proposed new parking locations are further away than people with mobility issues are able to walk, it is impossible to escape the reality that it is being taken away.
For many of us, the new distance is beyond what we can manage. And that’s just from where it’s suggested we park to the front door of the bank or M&S etc. Even if some people could at a push cover that extra distance, extending themselves to the limit of their physical capabilities… It then becomes impossible to go into the shop and make a purchase, cash a cheque etc. We still have to get all the way back to the car some how too! This is why the parking, where it is, is so essential to so many people.
Taking a stand
My health is such these days that I am only really able to “stand up” for the disabled people in my local community by sitting behind my keyboard. The irony of this is not lost on me, but I’m not going to take it lying down. (Sorry. Kinda). So many people in a similar situation to me don’t have the mental energy, hope or optimism to try to fight this as it seems so futile. Whatever happens in the end, I need to know I tried everything I could and fought for those unable to do so themselves. Being persistent in this way is one of the few things my illness has yet to take from me.
So almost by accident, I have found myself spearheading a campaign against the changes. I have been doing a lot of research and building our case which is exhausting, but if I don’t do this no-one else will. I cannot allow the council to do this whilst they are so seemingly ignorant to the huge negative impact this is going to have. The lives people who are going to be so devastatingly affected are already some of the most isolated and vulnerable in our town.
One of the many steps we are taking is having a petition. We attracted more than 250 signatures in less than 48 hours. This is an amazing response for the size of our community. Reading the comments people have left is heartbreaking. It would be amazing if you would consider signing too and speaking out against the council’s proposed devastating actions.
Click here to add your voice to our cause, and help protect a huge section of the disabled community in Yeovil. We also have a Facebook group that you can join for more information and other ways to take action. If you’re not on Facebook, feel free to leave me a comment below and I’ll send you my email address.
Meanwhile, I’m going to keep fighting against this injustice because