Liz is Disabled and lives in Merton. She became involved with Merton CIL’s Access Champion's group as she was interested in working with other’s and using her lived experience to make Merton a more accessible borough for all. Liz enjoys being in nature and exploring local green spaces. However, she regularly faced hurdles accessing Wimbledon common. Liz would use her scooter when exploring the common and constantly hit obstacles. Liz decided to contact the rangers of Wimbledon Common and ask if there was an accessible route.
Liz's contact with the Wimbledon Common Rangers led to a meeting with the head of maintenance (Jack) to further explore routes and suggestions for improvement. Liz was delighted that the rangers were open to hear ways that they could make Wimbledon common more accessible. Liz and Jack took a route through Wimbledon Common together so that he could see the challenges she (and others with mobility issues or buggies) faced.
Together they made a note of things to be improved and where there were accessible crossings. Following their meeting, Jack responded with a map of satisfactory routes. You can see the map below:
The yellow and dotted yellow lines highlight the most accessible routes across the common.
Within the following month, Jack and his team added ramps and made changes to improve the accessibility of the route. Liz said ‘I felt listened to. I felt as though the Wimbledon Common rangers actively wanted my feedback and took onboard all that I shared’.
You can watch a short TikTok of our Policy & Campaigns manager Pippa explaining one of the changes made to an improved pathway here. Liz spoke to a local resident who used the route which included the improved path in the video and they said ‘It is wonderful. It is now usable”.
Liz will remain in contact with Wimbledon Common rangers and share any further issues that come to her attention. Please get in touch if you have any comments.
Merton CIL is incredibly proud of Liz’s success. It perfectly models how to be an Access Champion and how you can help make our borough more inclusive for all. You can independently tackle an issue like Liz or collaborate with other Access Champions to #MakeMertonAccessible. If you are interested in finding out more about our Access Champion's - please click here.