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Chance for disabled to make voices heard

The Ross-on-Wye Journal: 17th December 2008

Ivor Skirm, Focus Group Rep, And Caroline Utting, Secretary For The Planning For Real Group, Ross An
Ivor Skirm, Focus Group Rep, and Caroline Utting, Secretary for the Planning for Real Group, Ross and District.
People with physical disabilities are to have their say on the facilities in Ross-on-Wye and how the town should be shaped in the future as part of the on-going consultation process before the preparation of a new town plan. The Ross Town Planning for Real group have been compiling the community's wish lists from information given to them at Planning for Real meetings held throughout the region in recent months. The group needs to encourage consultation with a road spectrum of the community to be able to tap into government grant assistance. But they highlighted the fact that two important groups had not given any opinions on how they would like the town to develop.

The opinions of those living in the area with physical disabilities, schoolchildren and teenagers were unknown by the group. To rectify this and understand the specific needs of youngsters the group held a planning for real session at John Kyrle High School and has scheduled a session to get the views of the physically disabled at the Ryefield Centre on Tuesday January 6th between 1.30 and 3.45pm. Dennis Humble from EnviroAbility has recently joined the group and is keen to encourage people to attend the session in January and says the Ryefield Centre is the ideal location for the meeting. He told the journal: "You do hear people with disabilities say 'I would like to have, but?.' However, the building is totally accessible and has most aids and adaptations to ensure that no-one can use that as an excuse. Lifestyles, one of the organisations that supplies staff to support people are well aware of it and agree it is important that we give everyone a chance to say. People may worry they don't know what to say, well they will be pleased to hear they won't be the first and there are prompts available to help. We will also provide a cuppa while people ponder their feedback."

Fellow group member Ivor Skirm who has worked with Dennis on other projects, visits people in Hospital and has personal experiences of living with a disability. Working with the Planning for Real committee secretary Caroline Utting, they hope to get good attendance at the meeting so the group can consider wider needs. Another date for the diary is the evening of January 8th, when the group's annual meeting will be held at the Larruperz Centre. Anyone is welcome to attend to find out about the group's progress.