On Friday 18th January, Aspire’s CEO Brian Carlin and Rob Hurd, CEO of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital met with Deputy Mayor of London for Transport Heidi Alexander and Navin Shah, Assembly Member for Brent & Harrow.

Aspire

The meeting was held at Stanmore underground station, where they discussed improving the current step-free access for disabled people.  Joe Gilbert, Duty Manager at Aspire Leisure Centre and a wheelchair user for 46 years, demonstrated how difficult the 300m winding pathways are to navigate, even for someone as fit and healthy as he is.

Joe Gilbert in his wheelchair demonstrating the accessible route     Joe Gilbert in his wheelchair demonstrating the accessible route

Joe Gilbert said, “If I hadn’t been handcycling regularly for the last five years, I would never have been able to push myself up the slope on my own.  It’s all uphill and the surfaces are so uneven with bumps and holes it’s quite dangerous.  If it was raining or snowing it would be impossible.  Most wheelchair users I know wouldn’t be able to get off a tube train and make it all the way up to the street.”

Wheelchair user Joe Gilbert and others at Stanmore station

Brian Carlin, Aspire’s CEO, says, “I was delighted to meet with Navin Shah and Heidi Alexander and to have the opportunity of demonstrating the difficulties disabled people face when getting off a tube at Stanmore and up to street level.   This is an issue Aspire has been campaigning about because Stanmore is the nearest underground station to the Aspire Leisure Centre and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, both of which have many visitors with limited mobility.   I look forward to further discussions about how we can move forward with installing lift access to street level.”

Brian Carlin and Heidi Alexander