Ramsgate attack survivor Joe Shaw launches petition calling for better accessibility in town

Obstacles faced by Joe and his carer

A Ramsgate attack survivor who uses a wheelchair to get around the town has launched a petition asking Kent County Council to make Ramsgate more accessible for people with disabilities.

Joe Shaw, 27, says a lack of dropped kerbs in the town hampers the ability of people using wheelchairs or mobility scooters to be able to get around freely.

Joe  suffered serious head injuries in an unprovoked attack in Ramsgate town centre in March 2018. The ferocity of the assault meant Joe had to be transferred to Kings College Hospital in London, heavily sedated and in the critical care unit in a coma, breathing through a ventilator.

The severity of his injuries left Joe unable to walk, speak or complete many basic tasks for himself. He also had to have reconstructive surgery to reform his skull.

But determination and hard work mean Joe returned to the Ramsgate home of parents Nancy and Trevor in August 2019 and has learnt to speak once more, ditching the letter board he once used for communication.

Progress is also being made on walking with Joe able to use a Zimmer frame and sticks. But for getting out and about Joe uses the wheelchair or a mobility scooter and says the lack of access is unfair.

To highlight the difficulties Joe has made a video showing just one trip into town and the difficulties he and his carer face on a daily basis.

Speaking to The Isle of Thanet News when he first raised the issue last month, Joe said: “I’d like to see dropped kerbs put in throughout Ramsgate. How on earth does the council expected someone who is disabled to get up the kerbs or for carers to push and bump them up the kerb? It isn’t fair.

“When I am in my mobility scooter or wheelchair it is really hard when there aren’t dropped kerbs and the town is dreadful.

“There have been many occasions when my carers have had to push me in the middle of the road, especially by the old pub (former Swiss Cottage) where there is scaffolding but no crossing and the pavement is completely blocked off. It makes me so angry.”

Despite the access problems Joe is amazingly upbeat and says even the lockdowns have provided positive experiences as he continues his road to recovery.

He said: “I learnt to speak again just before the first lockdown began. I’m still trying to learn how to walk again, I can walk with the Zimmer Frame and sticks and then it’ll be crutches and hopefully then independently. I will do it.

“I was on my deathbed three years ago and the doctors told my mum I would never speak again but I am and never walk again but I will.”

Joe’s petition has been backed by almost 300 people so far.

Find the petition by clicking here

14 Comments

  1. Well said Joe and well done whoever took the trouble to make this film. My partner has a son who is unable to walk following a car accident and we had the same problems with him. When I was younger I took him everywhere and experienced the same problems you face. Your carer is a lady and smaller than you so I know how hard it is to try and lift a person and their wheelchair up a kerb or even a small lip into a shop. My partner’s son has an electric wheelchair now but still has the same problems and when he can’t manage a kerb he often has to go into the road which is dangerous to both him and the traffic.
    Much more care needs to be taken for people in wheelchairs and, more than that, disabled people need more consideration from the general public. Nothing angers me more than seeing able bodied young people parking in disabled spots just because they cant be bothered to walk a few steps further to a shop. It happens frequently outside supermarkets and at Westwood Cross. If an able bodied person was to spend one day in a wheelchair they would soon understand how selfish they have been.
    Good luck with your campaign Joe and also good luck with your continued progress. You sound determined so you will do well.
    Take care and keep safe.

  2. I have always complained about Ramsgate and access, all thanet towns are bad for access which stops me going into the towns, the pavements are narrow and cars parked on them, in places they are in an appalling condition as well, try getting from the car park by iceland into town and its a nightmare

  3. Great to see Joe continuing to get better, fantastic news.

    The streets in all Thanet towns are just pathetic, having to turn around, and go back along the road you have just traveled, because you can’t get up, or down the kerb.

    Some streets have a dropped kerb, that is not sufficient, because they still have a two inch lip.

    Also of course, there are the people who park across lowered Kerbs “it’s no big deal, only going to be five minutes”
    I can tell you, to some people it’s a massive deal.

  4. Tdc really need to be more proactive in these very well worthy recently mentioned cases including the lifts.
    Tdc do your job and remember the word “inclusive” also consider welfare of all your residents and the current (long term now) traveller encampment in your car park thats on your asset disposal list.

    Just do it ! oh and it does not need an independent feasibility study.

  5. It would be a start if ALL pavement parking was banned – and we had enough traffic wardens/police to enforce it.

  6. Joe – well done for highlighting this. If you need help with your campaign let me know.

  7. Surely it is time now that all parties in the TDC.KCC and town councils acted together energetically to address these problems – and our MPs should be vociferous in their support!

  8. Well done Joe, highlighting this public nuisance! It is KCC Highways who should deal with the drop kerbs, but they won’t listen to you, I know I tried to stop illegal parking, which obstructed emergency vehicles accessing my road, and was told I had to get my KCC Councillor to take it up, Duurh! So, start with Karon Constantine who is running for re-election right now!

    Yes, obstructing a pavement should be dealt with by TDC if its building works, but in many cases its down to poor policing, and again that’s down to the KCC, so try and contact the Kent Crime Commissioner, he’s standing for re-election too so he might listen! TDC have a Community Safety Team, which includes police, so you could try Jo-Anna Taylor who is the Manager there!

  9. I notice no one has attacked Joe in the same way they have attacked me for wanting to lead a normal,life smacks of sexism but I still wish this young man best of luck with everything he comes up against in his struggle to survive and he will brave young man

  10. Joes’ plight on Meridian news this evening will not do anything to help the image of Ramsgate viewers have seen the problem let’s see what happens now TDC could not have had a bigger wake up call well done to those bringing this to the public arena

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