Guest Post: My flat and Me! by Richard Currie

My last post was about my visit to see my best mate and all round top lad Richard Currie. We left Coventry university in 2005/6 armed with a Masters degree, big dreams and scared excitement. We remain great friends and are now equally active in the disability field with fresh ideas and perspectives. He has had many issues with his personal progress to Independent Living. Here’s his guest post on his flat, that I discussed last week…

‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ or so the saying goes.

My Name is Richard Currie and I’m 30 years old. I have Cerebral Palsy, I use a powered wheelchair as I cannot walk and I also get help from a Care agency. They help get me in and out of bed and with some everyday tasks.

My flat in Hulme Manchester is fully adapted as to ensure that I am safe and secure and that I can do some household tasks such as cooking, grabbing snacks and so forth. My care, support networks and friends ensure that I can live on my own independently.

The flat is provided by Arawak Walton Housing Association. This is great as any work that need’s doing on the flat is carried out by a sub-contractor who undertake the work for you. All the people are vetted by Arawack giving me much needed piece of mind when dealing with such problems.

Since the age of 11 I had a dream of living on my own. Little did I know what a challenge achieving that dream would be. On moving to Manchester to take up a place at the University I first moved into accommodation provided by the University, the room was brilliant and gave me the platform to go and discover one of the most lively and vibrant cities the UK has to offer. I was completely bowled over by the cultural morsels at my fingertips; football, cricket and all the art, politics and history a geek like me could ever wish for!

I set my sights on moving to this great city – easier said than done. First I had financial and care funding problems. On top of this I was forced to move three times in two years. Things were looking very bleak regarding my dream of living in Manchester. I was on the verge of leaving my student accommodation and becoming technically homeless; I had been on the waiting list for a flat with no luck, then bingo I was offered a flat in Hulme. I can remember visiting what is now my home and the feeling. It was a cold grey Manchester morning, the rain was lashing down, I was cold, wet and grumpy that things were not looking too promising . I hesitatingly entered the flat fearing a pokey hovel not big enough to move my wheelchair in then I looked up and… hallelujah more space than I knew what to do with – yippee!

I have been living in my flat for four years, it has been tough, I have still got care funding issues but I love my flat.

My advice to any disabled person thinking of living independently is it’s tough but… go for it!