A campaigner for independent living has been announced as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK.

Richmond resident Alan Benson who has been a wheelchair user for 20 years, considers himself to be someone who strives to create a level playing field for his community.

On Tuesday (October 8) he found out that his efforts to encourage businesses and organisations to create disabled access had been recognised by The Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 List 2019.

The Shaw Trust is an inclusivity publication that consists of interviews and a list of its top 100 disability influencers who are making a difference to society.

When asked to share the reasons behind his campaign efforts he said: “I got stuck on a platform at Strawberry Hill Station – I couldn’t get on the train which made me very angry, so I decided to take action.

“Businesses contribute around £249 billion to the economy but – if disabled people can’t access it then we can’t spend our money there.

“We want to be included and contribute to the economy too.”

Mr Benson, a trustee of disability charity Ruils, Chair of Transport for All, and Deputy Chair of London TravelWatch, also shares the list with Baroness Jane Campbell, who is a leading voice of the disability community and an advocate for disabled people in the House of Lords.

Prior to campaigning, Mr Benson owned and managed an IT Support company, however, he now strives to diminish the stereotypes that surround people living with disabilities.

Mr Benson continued: “It was a huge surprise to be included on the list.

“You work really hard to make a difference and to have that recognised is truly rewarding.

“It's about starting a seed of an idea.

“People tell me about a problem which could be something as simple as step-free access and that drives me to think about ways in which I can help them.

“In the past I worked with TfL and London United Busways Ltd to improve the number 65 bus route so its drivers could their behaviour towards [disabled] people who may need assistance.

“And, I am currently working on a project that began in Teddington which places ramps in businesses so that wheelchair users could also have access.

“This is now being funded by the Council.

“Being on the Disability Power 100 List is not just recognition for me its recognition for everyone who does it with me.”