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New pathway at Leeming reservoir to make it more accessible for Jepson family and locals

A local family who live next to scenic Leeming reservoir have been helped out by Yorkshire Water, with the firm re-surfacing part of the pathway to make it more accessible for 15-year-old Henry Jepson.

Samantha Jepson, who has lived in the converted mill next to the reservoir for 11 years regularly walks round the reservoir with her son, Henry, who suffers from dissociative seizures, visual impairment and learning difficulties as a result of being born extremely premature. 

Samantha said: “Due to the nature of Henry’s seizures, they render him extremely fatigued and he has spent long periods in his wheelchair. Combined with Henry’s other disabilities it can make his life very challenging to access his local area. In the past this has made it hard to push his wheelchair around the often muddy and uneven reservoir path, so we are really grateful that improvements have been made.”

Once Yorkshire Water heard about the problem from the family and Bradford Council, they agreed to re-surface 300 metres of the path with compressed stone, making it much more accessible for visitors and the local community.

Phil Tennyson, Countryside Apprentice at Yorkshire Water, said: “In 2018, a Visitor Satisfaction Survey at Leeming told us visitors are, overall, 98% satisfied with our recreation provision on site. As our Recreation Strategy is to foster memorable experiences in the countryside, we were delighted to work with the family and Bradford Council to improve the path surface for their needs. We aspire to diversify our visitor demographic across the county, making sure everyone feels welcome in the countryside.”

Anne Lomas, Head of Bradford Council’s Low Incidence and Sensory Service said: “We are very pleased that Yorkshire Water have worked with us to facilitate an accessible pathway, not just for Henry but for the community. Habilitation is a core skill in our specialist curricula for children and young people with vision impairment. We’re striving to develop independence for our young people, at home, in schools and in the wider community. Safe and accessible pathways such as this will contribute to independence and promote young people’s health and well-being.”

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