Skip to main content

Sunday, 12 December 2021


I've been following a course (by Gareth David Studios) on logo design. I was applying his methods to a possible logo I might want to create in the future, around online/digital accessibility. In the session I watched today, we were developing themes to work with. I came up with a few, but my current favourite is this one:

Freedom to participate

It's based on the idea that everyone should have a basic human right to participate in all aspects of life without facing barriers or exclusions

Sounds like a given, right? Well before I go any further with the idea, I thought I'd explore the concepts of freedom and participation a little further. This might take several days of shortish posts.

Freedom to go for a walk

I'll start with this one because last year, this was one of the basic freedoms that was curtailed due to Covid lockdown. In this country, for my entire life, there has been a basic assumption that anyone can go for a walk whenever they like, with whoever they like, and, within certain boundaries, wherever they like. Then, suddenly, we were only allowed out once a day, alone or with one other person, and various people tried to put time/distance restrictions on this... though they thankfully faded away pretty quickly.

Having any kind of restrictions placed on my freedom to go for a walk felt so intrusive and wrong! But actually, for me and many others, there are already quite a lot of restrictions placed on our ability to go for a walk. 

Again, for now, I'll keep it close and short... a quick dog walk around the cemetery...

Free to walk

Almost every day, I walk Liggy around the cemetery. It's a pretty place to enjoy peace and quiet and get away from the traffic. The paths are not perfect, but relatively easy to get along in a wheelchair. 

Photo of nice wide path through cemetery with no steps or any kind of barriers.

The cemetery is nice and flat. This adds to my sense of freedom. Going for a walk is relaxing and doesn't feel like a major ordeal. 

Photo of chapel in cemetery. The ground is level and I was free to take photos of it.

Less free

There are some things that curtail my freedom to enjoy walking my dog...

I would love to go up on the river bank and walk along there but most of the entry points have steps... all but one and that one has a grass bank. So that's a pretty big barrier for any wheelchair user.

Photo of flight of steps going from cemetery up to the river bank.

This one is the bane of my life! Today, I spotted it before wheeling through it. Other days, I'm less fortunate. The worst occasion, I wheeled through, got someone else's dog poo all over my wheel, which then spread onto my glove and coat sleeve. The first I realised, I used that hand to push my glasses up my nose. I leave the rest to your imagination. People who don't pick up create a barrier for me. It might not prevent access but it certainly spoils it!

Photo of dog poo that someone has left in the middle of the pavement.

There is just enough room to get Liggy and me along this path because the hedge has recently been trimmed. The owners do this approximately three times a year. At it's worst, I have to go on the grass. Not so bad when it is dry but when wet, my wheels get stuck and very muddy and Liggy (attached to my left side) gets soaked walking through the hedge.

Photo of a neatly trimmed hedge that takes up half the pavement because it has grown too far over.

It's often the little things that make a difference to my freedom to go for a little walk:

  • Bin day
  • Weather
  • Parking
  • Road works
  • State of paving.
The question is, to what extent should we have the right to go for a walk? The next question might be, who should be responsible for removing barriers?

No comments:

Post a Comment