Welcome to all fellow councillors, past Mayors, esteemed guests and town council officers.
Many moons ago, in my twenties, I had a job creating a computerised register of people with learning impairments. I am proud that I helped to make sure that the data held on the individuals emphasised their abilities and potential rather than reporting on their disabilities & limitations.
I also learned a very big lesson during this period of my career: no one has a disability. All of us have impairments to a greater or lesser degree. These impairments or limitations only become disabling as a result of the physical environment and/or the social milieu in which we live.
If we are surrounded by a physical environment that restricts us or hobbles our dreams and ambitions or even just gets in the way of our ordinary day to day lives - then we can become disabled. If we are unable to escape attitudes that condemn, judge or cosily patronise us then we are disabled by our social environment.
Everyone one of us has the joy and responsibility to work to create a world in which all of us can live amazing and ordinary lives, where there are no hurdles that disable any of us or barriers that hold us back from achieving that all that we hope to achieve.
And our Buckingham Shopmobility is one vital ingredient of that world here in our town. Shopmobility, run by the amazing Sue Rossforth, provides a service that enables people to shop who would otherwise find it something of a struggle. To its absolute core, this ShopMobility service is about adding another jigsaw piece to a world here in Buckingham that will, I hope, be one day a place where no one is held back by barriers that can be simply engineered or planned away.
Some while ago, Buckingham Town Council was proud to take over the Shopmobility service from AVDC. In turn, AVDC, through the New Homes Bonus committee, made sure that our bid to build this whole complex of new toilets and shopmobility service was accepted. And we and the people of the town are grateful to them for this money, which is provided to the District Council by central government to compensate areas affected by new home developments.
I am proud and glad to be part of a Council that is 100% committed to working for an accessible world. I want a world in which everyone has dreams and ambitions and the wherewithal to achieve these. Buckingham Shopmobility is part of that wherewithal commonwealth, provided by the Town Council on behalf of the whole community.
So I will finish with thanking all the people who have made this possible, not least Sue and our Town Clerk, Chris Wayman and his team. Thanks again to AVDC. And thank you to the County Council library people who so ably and delightfully hosted the Shopmobility service while we were in transition.
And thanks to my fellow town councillors. As we all know, it has been something of a journey to get here, a journey that required a fair degree of both vision and tenacity. But here we are at last, nonetheless.
And the Town Council will continue with its ordinary business of looking for all opportunities to make sure that we have equal opportunities here in Buckingham - so that we are a place where there are no hurdles, no cuts and no ramps getting in the way of people living amazing and ordinary lives.
We will never give up on that quest.
And so I declare the Buckingham Town Council Shopmobility service officially open for business.
Do all your Christmas shopping here!!Thanks to Anthony Ralph for the pics below.