What accessible housing means to… Michael Kerr
January 1, 2018
Michael is a double Paralympian and European gold medalist rugby player. He is also an ambassador for WellSpect Healthcare and WheelAIR, mobility advisor to CycloneMobility and spinal cord injury advisor to Thompsons Personal Injury Lawyers.
Michael was left paralysed as a teenager, following a swimming pool accident. But he turned this into a life-changing opportunity to get into professional sport – with flying gold colours!
“I’ve achieved more with my life since having my accident.”
Michael has stopped playing international rugby to allow time to set up his new charity, the Michael Kerr Foundation, which will provide fitness support for people with spinal cord injuries.
What is your current home like?
I live in a ground floor, two bedroom cottage flat in Glasgow. It’s a new build, so has level entry for wheelchair access. But apart from this and a wet floor bathroom, it has no other adaptions.
What other adaptations would improve your day-to-day living?
I’d really like the kitchen units to be lowered and be able to get my wheelchair under the cooker and sink. It’s pretty hard to function in an un-adapted kitchen.
How has it been to find a suitable home?
I’ve lived in three other homes previously, one council and two private. All the properties I’ve lived in needed adaptions, such as ramp access and wet floor bathroom. Other than my council property, I’ve never received any support to find them. But I did receive support in adapting all but one of them, although the process takes ages. The length of time you have to wait was the reason I decided to adapt one on my own.
What do you think should be the absolute minimum requirement for adaptations in a newly built accessible home?
Definitely a level/ramp access, wet floor bathroom and adapted kitchen.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you do to transform the wheelchair accessible housing market?
I would make it compulsory for all house builders to consult a wheelchair user during the build process. There should be some bungalows built in any one housing estate, and through-floor lifts should be an option for two or more storey homes.
In 20 years, what do you see life like for the average wheelchair user?
Similar to what it’s like now. Things are getting better, but there’s still not enough being done. The government needs to do more by bringing in laws.
Why are you supporting Abode Impact?
To hopefully make life better for wheelchair users in the future.
What’s your favourite motto / saying?
Nolite Tradere – Never Give Up
Photograph courtesy of OnEdition (2016)