A disabled father has hit out at the lack of care for adults as he struggles to afford a motorised wheelchair which would be “freedom on four wheels”.
Carl Bingham, of Pond Close, North Finchley, was born with cerebral palsy and has never learnt to walk – but says the specially adapted £18,000 chair would change his life.
Although the 39-year-old never felt different growing up, he says the minute he hit 19 it was a different story and he realised there were no charities to turn to.
He is now left using his manual chair, but pushing it even five minutes down the road leaves him exhausted.
He said: “Trying to find services for disabled adults is like a minefield. The biggest obstacle you face when is struggling to find charities which can help you. Thre none.
“My mum and my brothers were amazing and I was always taught how to fend for myself. But now I’m older, I want to live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to cause aggravation for anyone.
“I am in pain all the time. My back hurts, I can’t breathe and I feel like I just want to collapse at the end of each day. I must be causing my body so much damage. It’s tough.”
His current wheelchair, which he bought three years ago, cost £3,500 and although he was given a £2,000 grant, it has grown old.
Mr Bingham says the specialised wheelchair would help him enjoy more days out with his daughters, Sophie, ten, and Lauren, five. He currently relies on his carer, Emily, each day.
The family regularly enjoy days out to White Hart Lane to see their favourite team, Tottenham Hotspur, play, as well as trips to theme parks.
However, he says the motorised chair would allow him to achieve his goal of taking part in a wheelchair trek in South Africa and spend more days out with his girls.
He first discovered the motorised wheelchair during a trip to the park, when he saw a disabled man use one and approached him to ask for more information about it.
It would allow him to lie down, stand up, go down the stairs and visit the beach – things Mr Bingham’s disability means he has never been able to do alone.
He added: “I just want to be normal and this wheelchair would be freedom on four wheels, it’s amazing. I just have to have it.
“I had a trial on one last week and it was amazing. It made me so happy. My daughters saw me stand up for the first time and they had tears in their eyes. I felt emotional in it, too.
“It will help my posture, give me confidence and just give me the independence I need to live my life.
“I want to be a good role model to my girls, and this wheelchair would give me the courage and the ability to do that.”
Barnet Borough Council and the Department of Health both could not comment as they said the matter is out of their remit.
Could you help Mr Bingham raise cash for his wheelchair? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07795 223 610.