Leaving the house is a challenge. Firstly, there is a ramp out of the house to be traversed. Then a steep hill which is impossible in a manual wheelchair without additional help. Then add in the fact that the road crossing the top of our road has no dropped curbs anywhere (not even for off road parking). Once the high street has been reached, there is a slight camber on all of the pavements, which increases where dropped curbs have been put in place. Street furniture, other pedestrians, children running ahead of parents and shop belongings all make for hazards that are difficult to negotiate. This doesn’t even include trying to the shopping – many shops have steps that are impossible in a wheelchair, although few have made the effort and put in slopes rather than steps.
Until I found myself in my current situation, I did not appreciate how hard life could be for someone with physical difficulties. I do not think I am alone. It is not a deliberate situation – just comes because of lack of experience. I think this is probably true for most people – it is not something that they have had to think about, and so they haven’t. There is now an opportunity to try and change this should you live within the Bedminster area. The Greater Bedminster Community Partnership are looking for people with experience of living with a difficulty that could result in their becoming housebound and struggling with the resulting isolation that can happen. If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining the Bedminster accessibility group, please get them in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t live in Bedminster? See if there is a similar group for your area, or contact your community partnership to start the discussion!