Maria makes it her mission to raise awareness of disabled facilities at country's stations

PUBLISHED: 12:32 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:32 15 June 2017

Maria Stableford from Littleport has launched a campaign to raise awareness of what facilities are available to disabled train users. PHOTO: Matthew Power

Maria Stableford from Littleport has launched a campaign to raise awareness of what facilities are available to disabled train users. PHOTO: Matthew Power

Archant

A mother of two from Littleport has started a national campaign to help rail staff and the public understand what facilities are available for disabled travellers.

Maria is trying to get more disabled people to know about the help that is available for them at train stations. PHOTO: Matthew PowerMaria is trying to get more disabled people to know about the help that is available for them at train stations. PHOTO: Matthew Power

Former policewoman Maria Stableford, 46, was recently turned away from a station because there were no ramp facilities to get her onto the train.

“Generally disabled facilities are great,” she said.

“But when I tried to travel from a local station, the only advice I could get was to go to another station with better facilities.

“The staff were very friendly and helpful, but the problem was that no one really knew the procedure.”

It transpired that if the train company had been called, they would have arranged a taxi service for Maria to the nearest station with appropriate facilities.

“That is such a great service, but few people seem to know about it,” she said.

Now Maria, who has Fibromyalgia and arthritis, has set out to help people know what facilities are available and to improve access for all transport for wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

She says there has been a lot of interest from various associations already and has also contacted her MP, Steve Barclay, in the hope that the issue will eventually be raised in parliament.

“I recently won a top of the range mobility scooter from leading mobility supplier, CareCo,” Maria added.

“With its good range and soft padded upholstery, it has given me the potential of travelling further afield without problems.

“Thanks to new developments like these, more and more people will be wanting to travel around, and it is now becoming urgent that people including transport staff know what facilities are available.”

CareCo have joined her in backing the campaign. Managing director Will Harrison said: “A great deal has been achieved to help wheelchair and mobility scooter users,” he said.

“But now, with the new generation of chairs and scooters coming out, there are still many issues to be resolved.

“It is wonderful that Maria has taken this on board and we are fully behind her quest.”

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