Our mission at Resilience Care is to enable those with complex healthcare needs to achieve the greatest degree of independence possible. We witness inspirational personal achievements every day. Stephen Cluskey is one of those inspirations.

Now a leading Irish entrepreneur in the social care arena, Stephen has overcome the most challenging personal circumstances, having suffered a life-altering spinal injury at a young age. Faced with endless accessibility hurdles in his daily life, he actively campaigns for positive change for the 600,000 people living with higher access needs in Ireland today.

On Friday night’s Late Late Show, Stephen, along with TV presenter Kathryn Thomas and former Irish soccer international Kevin Kilbane, officially launched Challenge Access Week – a campaign with which Resilience Care is proud to be partnered.

A to B: Not So Easy

As participants in the challenge, Kathryn and Kevin – each confined to a wheelchair – were tasked with getting from one location to another in Dublin City Centre on a typically busy afternoon. They had one hour to get from their point A to point B – for a fully mobile person, more than ample time.

Kathryn ran into a number of obstacles along her way:

Footpaths not properly adapted to allow a wheelchair to ramp up with ease
Large wheelie-bins belonging to local businesses blocking the footpaths
Cobbled streets with no smooth areas to accommodate wheelchairs
Meanwhile, Kevin was hindered by:

Difficulty getting on the LUAS easily
A broken elevator blocking his access to street level from the train
A Dublin bus with its on-boarding ramp not functioning
A Dublin bus which did not stop for him
A 30-minute wait for a wheelchair taxi

Both found the experience frustrating and disheartening, concluding that even the simplest journey would require precision planning – anything spontaneous would prove very difficult.

One Simple Change

Inspired by his personal experiences navigating a world not designed for wheelchairs, Stephen’s latest venture Mobility Mojo – an award-winning user-generated website in the same vein as TripAdvisor – aims to give people with reduced mobility the confidence to travel by providing accurate, up-to-date information on the accessibility of hotels, transports, restaurants, etc.

“As a wheelchair user myself, I know that people with higher access needs can be unwittingly isolated in society. Barriers in our physical environment can be more disabling than the disability itself but small changes have the power to make a world of difference to people dealing with mobility, visual, hearing and cognitive challenges. Imagine trying to meet friends for dinner but there isn’t enough space between the tables for you to navigate your wheelchair around. Imagine trying to decide what you’ll order if you can’t see the menu. Things that many people take for granted as being simple can become major barriers for people with higher access needs, so small changes can make a huge difference.”

Everyone deserves to live the most independent life possible. By raising awareness and making simple but valuable changes in our local communities, we can contribute to a better, more inclusive society that benefits us all. Register your business as an accessible location at https://mobilitymojo.com/

Commenting on the campaign, Laura Keane, MD of Resilience Care said: “Working with Stephen over the last number of years has been a privilege for our whole team. He is a remarkable advocate who inspires everyone who crosses his path. By generating awareness, I believe that Challenge Access will improve lives, and we are delighted to lend our support to the cause.”

How Can You Help?

Every individual can make a difference, no matter how small. How will you challenge access this week? Check out the Challenge Access website for lots of great ideas!

Suggestions less than €200
Suggestions between €200 – €2000
Suggestions more than €2000

Change the Conversation

Contribute your two cents at #challengeaccess on Twitter and Facebook

Make one simple change at ChallengeAccess.ie