Before my injury I was never in the house. I was always outside, busy doing this or that. I was either on the job (I was a full-time window cleaner) or you would find me gardening or playing golf. The only time I would be indoors would be after picking up the wife from work and getting dinner ready.

Paul and his wife watching TV

After the accident I was suddenly trapped inside the house. With my wheelchair I could only get into the living room and the kitchen, which was about 15 square feet. I lived downstairs whilst the wife was upstairs. I couldn’t get in through the front door without help. It’s been 13 months since I’ve seen the upstairs.

"The Aspire House has been our own bit of rehab."

We are in the process of adapting our home. We're converting the garage to a wetroom and a utility room, widening the doors, putting in a stair lift – lots of things. It would’ve been too much at the time to sell the house and search for a wheelchair accessible one. This would’ve been one step too far, especially for my wife.

Paul making a cup of tea

We needed somewhere to live whilst the builders moved in so we started looking to move from one hotel to another every few days. We had gone as far as booking a Premier Inn as the first leg of our hotel stay. Just imagine it, carting around all of our belongings in a Fiat 500. Soon after, we found out about Aspire’s Housing Programme – we were totally unaware that we could get this kind of help.

"Happiness is having a little bit of progress each day and we’ve had that here."

We weren’t quite sure what to expect but the Aspire house is so spacious. We’ve managed to fill it up and it’s become like home; we talk about the place like it is our home. The height adjustable surfaces are great. The location is perfect; it’s walking distance to my wife’s workplace and I can easily get to the hospital where I’m receiving cancer treatment. Nothing has stopped us from going out – even though I didn’t particularly like it at first. When we moved in initially, my wife was frightened about me going out and getting hurt. Now we go out every day; we’re on the buses, we go out to eat, we’ve gone to theatre and we’ve even managed a trip to Paris as the station is so near. I even get on the bus and travel to the hospital by myself. The Aspire House has been our own bit of rehab. It’s a perfect base and we’re going to miss it. Happiness is having a little bit of progress each day and we’ve had that here.

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