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Thread: ♿- Disabled Cacher - handicaching

  1. #1

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    Question ♿- Disabled Cacher - handicaching

    As a disabled geocacher, there are still a lot of caches that are inaccessible to me due to stiles and kissing gates. I would like to see more of these replaced with gates with Radar keys - where the surrounding paths/environment was suitable for mobility scooters, wheelchairs, buggies etc.

    This is something I have enquired about (unofficially) with a member of my local parish council, but was wondering if this would be something that the GAGB would be willing to help with on a nationwide basis?

    I also use the handicaching.com site and would like to encourage more people to use it. I would like to thank all the Cachers who have supported and encouraged me to get out and enjoy caching

    I would also like to thank all the Cache Owners who have supported the handicaching reviews I have done on their caches so far by simply adding the HTML code that I email them, under the 'Long Description' of their cache pages that gives a direct link to the handicaching review Could the GAGB help to promote this?

    Many thanks
    Heather aka Cache on Wheels

  2. #2

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    I'm probably the least qualified person to answer this but I can't see it sat here without a reply - so here goes

    I've tried through various means to gauge the demand for and the usefulness of Handicache ratings to no avail.

    My local friendly reviewer went to great lengths to encourage me that it was a worthwhile exercise and, on the basis that the local friendly reviewer is happy to contribute so much of their own spare time for the benefit of the rest of us, I figured this small repayment was the very least I could do to show my gratitude in return.

    And I've rated a good number of caches to the best of my limited ability on the basis that someone might make use of them - both caches that I have placed and the caches of others that I have found.

    Whenever I've found a really good example of a cache that I've felt would be particularly suitable for and enjoyable to a less able cacher, I've approached the CO and asked them to add the review to their cache page - and most of them, to their credit, did so :socool:

    Admittedly though I haven't done any Handicache reviews for a few months, and I'll tell you why. Never once have I had any feedback that anyone ever has benefited from a single one of those reviews.

    Now I'm not looking for anyone to pledge their undying gratitude - absolutely not. It would be useful though to know that I wasn't compiling / providing information that wasn't being used. Nobody wants to invest time doing something pointless which benefits nobody.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that if more people demanded such information AND fed back on how useful (or indeed how rubbish) it had been - more people might, seeing that their time would be invested usefully, make an extra effort to contribute themselves.

  3. #3

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    I'm probably the best qualified candidate to answer this, due to my work as a member of Team OC UK because we liaise with handicaching in our work and have links to the handicaching site on the OC UK website. Whilst I understand the concerns of this in relation to the people involved, my dad being one of the mobility impaired. I do not think that the GAGB have the power, the legal authority, the training, own enough land thought the membership or possess the level of full understanding to discuss, to even attempt to create or implement such a wide ranging scheme thoughout the country to the extent you have asked. I'm sorry to have to tell you this but I just don't belive its possible.

    Sorry again
    Dominic

  4. #4

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    Thumbs up

    As my wife has limited mobility I'm aware of the challenge that just a modest countryside excursion can entail, however, she does not use a wheelchair, so appreciate this takes the challenge to a greater level.

    It is clear that stiles and kissing gates present insurmountable obstacles to someone restricted to a wheelchair, so I would support their replacement with regular gates, if they are located on a route that could otherwise be negotiated by wheelchair. The use of locks with Radar keys would be an appropriate measure to ensure that footpaths don't become bridle paths inadvertently.

    However, I would resist measures that would urbanise the countryside, such as putting a solid surface on a footpath, or artificially widening a path through vegetation. An exception to this would be high traffic areas that become quagmires, where appropriate measures should be taken to improve drainage and ensure wheeled passage is manageable.

    I think we should do more as an association, to support our less able members, however, I think we are too small a voice and too marginal an interest group to be able to get commitment from authorities to act on a nationwide basis. To this end, I think GAGB should affiliate itself with the Ramblers Association, which has a much larger and broader membership and is thus much better able to campaign nationally in this regard.

  5. #5

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    What he said

    Thanks
    Dominic

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandvika View Post
    As my wife has limited mobility I'm aware of the challenge that just a modest countryside excursion can entail, however, she does not use a wheelchair, so appreciate this takes the challenge to a greater level.

    It is clear that stiles and kissing gates present insurmountable obstacles to someone restricted to a wheelchair, so I would support their replacement with regular gates, if they are located on a route that could otherwise be negotiated by wheelchair. The use of locks with Radar keys would be an appropriate measure to ensure that footpaths don't become bridle paths inadvertently.

    However, I would resist measures that would urbanise the countryside, such as putting a solid surface on a footpath, or artificially widening a path through vegetation. An exception to this would be high traffic areas that become quagmires, where appropriate measures should be taken to improve drainage and ensure wheeled passage is manageable.

    I think we should do more as an association, to support our less able members, however, I think we are too small a voice and too marginal an interest group to be able to get commitment from authorities to act on a nationwide basis. To this end, I think GAGB should affiliate itself with the Ramblers Association, which has a much larger and broader membership and is thus much better able to campaign nationally in this regard.
    I would not wish to seek urbanising the countryside by any means.
    I do not think it is impossible to liaise with the councils to have some gates replaced by radar key gates, it will be something that will take time to work out the best approach and maybe something that would filter into the countryside as maintanence is required by the council.
    .
    I am not meaning we start approaching the councils to replace all of them either, maybe identify some key routes that will be used regularly by many Cachers, that are already suitable for wheelchairs and approaching our local parish council for advice on how we would go about this.

  7. #7

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    I will approach my local parish council about this and seek their advice on any projects or such like that may already be in place or on their agenda of making the countryside more accessible to wheelchair users. After all, if they already have something in place, it could save a lot if time and effort.

    From my knowledge and experience of making parts of my local village accessible via wheelchair / scooter, I know these things usually start at Parish Council level and require their support. Measures have been out in place to make this happen too

    I have searched disabled accessible routes in the countryside but not been very successful so far. I understand that taking this on on a nationwide level would be massive, and that is not what I am asking.

    Does anyone know of any maps already available? Some bridle ways are acessible but as one comment pointed out, this can make the tracks very muddy.

    I am happy to work with the gagb committee in feeding back info I recieve from my local parish council ... Perhaps from this, we could work at producing a standard letter, hopefully with the support of the gagb, that we could download from the site and send to our parish council.
    That way, there would be one standard letter that clearly outlines our aim in making the countryside more accessible not just to geocachers by any means, but to all who use a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

    Mainly what I would like to know from the gagb committee, is:
    1- Are you willing to explore this possability and
    2- Are you willing to help promote handicaching or any other means of supporting disabled Cachers? I know handicaching has been around for some time, and despite great efforts of other Cachers, it has not become well used. However, there are always new Cachers joining and knowledge if handicaching will be the important key hopefully making it well known.
    A great start would be having info and a link on the gagb site for all to see.

    One if the hosts from the UK Geocaching Podcast show (Octiber show) did post notes to I think grease monkey? That automatically asks you if you want to do a handicaching review when submitting a cache. Here is the link:
    http://www.ukgcpodcast.com/2012/10/0...-handicaching/
    This would be great if this could be incorporated into GC.com when submitting a cache and even better, logging a cache as found.
    Last edited by Cache on Wheels; 19th November 2012 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Add link and check accuracy on my quote of grease monkey

  8. #8

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    I think GAGB should support specific requests for better access, and if it doesn't help, be prepared to escalate the matter too.

    I've been a parish councillor since 2003 (it's an unpaid elected position) and in my experience, public rights of way are the responsibility of borough or district councils or unitary authorities. The parish council can be supportive of reasonable requests and can also support restoration work, where this is needed.

    (I'm happy to report that the tiny land holding that my parish council has is accessible through gates easily wide enough for a wheel chair, as well as by a vehicular entrance. Our current premises are rented, we hope in due course to have custom-built premises and have already specified that the new council chamber must be accessible by wheelchair.)

  9. #9

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    Smile Wheelchair access

    That's very good advice, thank you do you think I would be better going straight to the rights of way, whom I have a named contact, or thorough] the parish council first by requesting it in the agenda for an upcoming meeting?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cache on Wheels View Post
    That's very good advice, thank you do you think I would be better going straight to the rights of way, whom I have a named contact, or thorough] the parish council first by requesting it in the agenda for an upcoming meeting?
    If there are specific locations where you would like gates installing, in your parish, then now might be a good time to ask as it's budget setting time for 2013/14. It might be easier to convince your parish council to allocate funds to this than a more remote borough or district council, especially as borough and district council budgets are under pressure and tax increases are limited by law, whereas parish councils don't have the same restrictions, as far as I am aware.

    However, if you have a supportive rights of way officer then by all means ask them too and also let them know you are asking your parish, because they might have costings to hand, saving your parish some work

  11. #11

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    Perhaps it would be useful to have a formal GAGB "Access officer" (who doesn't necessarily need to be a member of the committee) but who could provide information and support for these sort of issues and indeed other access issues such as footpath availability.

    I'm aware that others such as the Ramblers have such a capability and we could potentially join forces with them on many issues.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cache on Wheels View Post
    As a disabled geocacher, there are still a lot of caches that are inaccessible to me due to stiles and kissing gates. I would like to see more of these replaced with gates with Radar keys - where the surrounding paths/environment was suitable for mobility scooters, wheelchairs, buggies etc.

    This is something I have enquired about (unofficially) with a member of my local parish council, but was wondering if this would be something that the GAGB would be willing to help with on a nationwide basis?

    I also use the handicaching.com site and would like to encourage more people to use it. I would like to thank all the Cachers who have supported and encouraged me to get out and enjoy caching

    I would also like to thank all the Cache Owners who have supported the handicaching reviews I have done on their caches so far by simply adding the HTML code that I email them, under the 'Long Description' of their cache pages that gives a direct link to the handicaching review Could the GAGB help to promote this?

    Many thanks
    Heather aka Cache on Wheels
    I would have to admit when it comes to disabled caching i know little to nothing about the problems a person in that position faces . personally i feel that the GAGB needs to be behind/support someone like your self who could be an adviser, and maybe work with other organisations who are trying to highlight the problems faced by disabled people if we could approach other organisations and work together we would have a bigger voice when asking for change.* TOGERTHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE*

  13. #13

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    She who must be obeyed cannot walk far either - so my solution has been to put out a small series of "drive by" caches that she can help me with maintenance, It ensure that she stays involved and interested - I think that those of us with limited mobility, or partners etc., who have these problems put out more drive bys and encourage other cache hiders to consider mobility when doing so we would have a better hobby for all concerned :socool:
    Si vis pacem para bellum

  14. #14

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    This is something that I would strenuously support, I believe that the GAGB ought to be the conduit for our players to gain a voice.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyanddude View Post
    I would have to admit when it comes to disabled caching i know little to nothing about the problems a person in that position faces . personally i feel that the GAGB needs to be behind/support someone like your self who could be an adviser, and maybe work with other organisations who are trying to highlight the problems faced by disabled people if we could approach other organisations and work together we would have a bigger voice when asking for change.* TOGERTHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE*
    thank you so much for your kind words of support
    I would be happy to be in board as an advisor for this. Like co-opted but not a full committee member - that's if members and the new committee would accept my offer
    Thank you fir your comment

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