"It’s fine!" – When old buildings and steps get in my way…

I’ve started some weekly work experience for North West Labour. It’s all pretty exciting at the moment as there’s both the Police Crime commissioner elections and Manchester central By-election. I’m helping out and shadowing Simon Greenhalgh who’s the regional communications officer and there’s a lot of quite high profile visits going on, so I’m really seeing things from quite a fast-paced point of view.

This Monday just gone Yvette cooper payed a visit to a charity in Manchester called “Reclaim”in the Portland building (127) in Manchester. Jumped in the car, made the short drive into Manchester…jumped out of the car. We mistakenly went into 125…(embarrassing) where there was perfectly fine wheelchair access to the reception. So we came out, headed over to 127 where we were met by some lovely, pretty, old, stoney steep steps…about 6.
In reality, i could be carried up and that is what we were going to do. However, the guy sat at reception said that they weren’t insured in case anything happened and wouldn’t allow it.
So I was stuck outside.
I went back to the office and did some paper work, which was fine but annoying and frustrating. It wasn’t simon or anyone’s fault. It was the people who owned the building who I’m sure are very good at saying “we can’t adapt the entrance because it’s a listed building etc, etc, etc…”
As I was sat outside this particular building, grinning (because that’s what I do) i noticed the poignant “brunt wood” symbol on the glass doors.
This made me grin a little more.
Not in a sinister way just a “only me” way.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about going for a diploma in journalism. News associates in Manchester do a 5 month course…i enquired, was going to go for it but found out that bruntwood, who also own their 111 Picadilly building said they couldn’t permanently make it wheelchair accessible because of the design/age of building.

Now I know that this particular company doesn’t have anything personal against wheelchair users or people with disabilities. Like most places (because, let’s face it, most places are inaccessible) they just don’t think, maybe  a little lazy, maybe can’t be bothered or think that wheelchair users live fully independent lives and need to get places.
A few of you may know or may have guessed i’m a political history geek who loves old buildings…i love visiting them. I can understand to a point the whole “protection” thing but let’s be honest here…we live in a very historical country full of old and fully functioning buildings. So i care, but in situations like this i full on couldn’t care less about all this “listed” rubbish…I just want to get to the places i need to get and do what i need to do.

You do know it was a tiny factor of why I made the decision not to go to uni?

I liked all the old and pretty places…history, english and politics courses tend to take place in places like that. I don’t mind pushing through, wind, rain and snow up huge hills covered in mud…but not to attend a little lecture while carrying books and notes about. Yes, if i really wanted…I would have done, but as we all know It’s not what I truly wanted. But do you see how it has a major effect on major life decisions?
It has a major effect on every day experiences and it’s so frustrating.

For now, i won’t be doing my diploma as other routes of true happiness have opened up…and missing out on shadowing the Yvette Cooper visit was  a bummer…but this sort of thing happens every day. It’s crazy that i’m used to it. And everyone always says “this is law…you should fight…” but having to fight everyday for everything things means you never actually get anything done.

And you wonder why i smile and brush it off and find ways around things?
I’m all for adapting to your environment and I do that, but in order to adapt and live fully…others need to adapt their man-made environments for me!


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