Living in an inaccessible world – Matt’s story

Friend of Sunnybank, Matt, shared his accessibility story with us in a recent Sunny Sessions radio interview.

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Matt lives with vision impairment, dyslexia and a curvature of the spine.

Matt’s disabilities mean that he is unable to leave the house without the assistance of family, friends or his Personal Assistant.

DJ Jon recently recorded an interview with Matt whilst walking around his local area. Matt shared first hand the challenges he faces on a daily basis due to the inaccessibility of the public spaces where he lives.

Using his power chair, Matt faced his first challenge almost as soon as he left his house when he reached a grass verge near his local shop.  Motorists regularly park on the verge while visiting the shop which has resulted in the verge sinking and developing a large hole beneath the grass. The hole can’t easily be seen, particularly for anyone with a visual impairment. This concealed and dangerous hole has resulted in Matt getting stuck and causing damage to his chair on many occasions. 

Once he navigated the dangerous verge, Matt showed Jon how crossing the road to get to his local shop can also be difficult as the drop-down kerb that enables him to access the shop isn’t well signposted meaning motorists often park across it, leaving Matt stranded and unable to get into the shop. 

While he has lived his whole life facing challenges with accessibility and has found some ways to get around the obstacles, there are still many places that he is unable to visit, such as his local post office and pub garden. 

Every journey Matt makes takes a huge amount of planning, taking away any option of spontaneity that many of us might take for granted. 
Many Sunnybank members face similar challenges, unable to live their lives in the way they choose, limited to a small number of accessible places. 

To hear Matt’s full Sunny Sessions interview with DJ Jon, catch up here.

If you come across an accessibility issue in a public area in Surrey, you can report it here.