Access improvements at Pennington Flash, Leigh will see the local nature reserve opened up to more groups than ever before.
Working in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Can Do Volunteering Project, we have spent the spring and summer at Leigh Sports Village with disability groups including Expanse Community Interest Company (CIC) and My Life CIC.
Working together, the project aimed to bring new audiences to greenspaces and in particular get young people, with varying additional needs, onto Pennington Flash.
At the same time, the project wanted to create something beneficial to all local people, so we had the idea to fundraise for a "Daily Mile" loop that will be launched this year with lots of interactive interpretation about local nature.
We worked closely with local disability groups to look at the challenges facing those with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and mobility issues. From this, the group presented the report to Greenspace Development Officer, Michael Fishwick at Wigan Council. Michael walked with the group and saw first-hand the difficulties around access, especially at the road into Pennington Flash car park. The Council has gone onto prioritising these access improvements including a reprofiling of gradients to assist wheelchairs.
Wheelchair user James Owen said: "For me personally the unevenness of the access points made me feel nervous and like I could topple over. The improvements will make me more confident accessing Pennington Flash and be a great deal safer for all wheelchair users."
Jenny Griggs, Community Engagement Officer from the Carbon Landscape Partnership said: "We are so pleased with how responsive Wigan Council have been and we know these improvements will benefit thousands of people."
Sandra Hardingham, Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do Project Co-ordinator for Manchester, said: “Can Do volunteers are thrilled to see this project come to life and it’s fantastic to know that their hard work will have a lasting impact. The project will make a real difference to the lives of local young people, giving them greater access to daily physical activity and increased participation in the community.”