Delores Taylor, mother of two and disability campaigner based in Croydon, South London, talks us through her call for policy makers to recognise the difference that the right home can make to family and working life.
My disability arrived simultaneously with motherhood over 20 years ago.
I had to adapt myself to living in a way I wasn’t previously used to, while trying to raise two daughters. Back then it seemed as though planning authorities didn’t consider disabled people with families, as most of the properties I was offered before moving to my current home did not suit our needs.
In my previous property, access to the back garden was via a set of steps so it was almost impossible for me to spend time out there. I realised that having access to a garden was a priority for me because I wanted to take my children outside without having to travel to an accessible park. Also, as I spent a lot of my time indoors, having some green space to go out to was therapeutic for me.
There are also other factors that are really important when it comes to a home for me and my girls. I had stopped cooking family meals in my previous property as I couldn’t bend down to open the oven, so having an adjustable cooker was definitely a big thing for me. The kitchen I have now is designed with a wheelchair user in mind, which means my daughters and I can enjoy a home-cooked Sunday roast.
Having a properly accessible home isn’t just a luxury but the difference between a disabled person taking on a job or not – disabled people whose housing needs are met are more likely to be in work. My Habinteg home certainly changed my life but I have to sympathise with all those wheelchair users who are still living in unsuitable conditions. It’s great to hear policymakers talking about making facilities like train stations and music venues more accessible, but we can’t forget the place we spend the majority of our lives: home.