‘I felt like a prisoner in my own home’

A long-term back injury and fibromyalgia left 26-year-old Rebecca Browne unable to leave her house.

“I was like a prisoner in my own home, so I eventually had to look into getting a wheelchair,” she said.

Rebecca received a wheelchair loan through the British Red Cross Mobility Aid Service. It’s available to people when hospitals don’t have wheelchairs available for short-term use.

"There's a perception that wheelchairs are only for people that can't walk and they're for so much more than that," she said.

"When I got the wheelchair I was able to go out to the shop or go to the park."

Red Cross manager Fionnuala Molloy says there has been an increase in wheelchair loans across Northern Ireland since lockdown began.

“A lot of hospitals needed to get folk out fairly quickly so there’s been quite a quick turnaround for discharge.

“A lot of our requests are about making sure people aren’t bed-bound in their own homes or that they can at least get out to the garden, because that makes a real difference.”

Video journalist: Niall McCracken