Harrogate-based former top banker to bring his experience of life in a wheelchair to new role in disability charity

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A former senior bank manager who has used a wheelchair since he was a boy has talked about his pride in becoming the new trustee of an important Harrogate charity.

Robert Kernaghan, who rose to be head of customer relations and complaints at First Direct before retiring recently, is set to apply all his skills and experience gained over 30 years in customer services to his new role as trustee at Disability Action Yorkshire, the Harrogate-based charity that supports disabled people and aims to help them achieve their aspirations in life.

Determined to help improve inclusion and accessibility for disabled people in the region, Robert Kernaghan said: “I knew I wanted to do something but something that I could actually add value to, feel passionate about and that had some kind of purpose around it.

"Disability Action Yorkshire does and has all those things.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
(Picture contributed)(Picture contributed)
(Picture contributed)

“When I met its chief executive Jackie Snape, I could see that the passion was there.

"They are all focused on doing the right thing and they have a sense of purpose about what they are doing.

"It is an exciting time to be part of it.”

Robert, who lives in Harrogate with his wife and two daughters, has used a wheelchair since contracting polio as a youngster.

He says he is committed to the improving the accessibility of public transport for disabled people, which has come about through years of less than satisfactory experiences of his own as a wheelchair user, be it taking taxis or travelling by bus, train or air.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Robert, who is a keen Leeds Rhinos supporter, received treatment last year for a number of health issues after spending six weeks in intensive care.

He now supports the NHS in its research on ICU delirium prevention and treatment of this condition.

He is interested in highlighting the physical challenges faced by disabled people such as the state of the pavements, which can make using a wheelchair hazardous.

He is also keen to support disabled people to achieve their life goals and career ambitions by helping to remove barriers sometimes set by politics and society.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Disability Action Yorkshire, which is located at Hornbeam Park in Harrogate, has hugely welcomed Robert’s arrival as a trustee.

Chief executive Jackie Snape said: “We are delighted to have Robert on board with us as a trustee.

"His vast experience in understanding and helping people to resolve problems has given him a clear idea of what could and should be done for disabled people.

"As a charity that aims to empower disabled people to live the lifestyle of their choosing and provides a range of high-quality services which support them, we know that Robert’s experience, passion and commitment in areas such as public transport accessibility will make a huge difference and we welcome him to Disability Action Yorkshire.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Established in 1937, Disability Action Yorkshire provide services that create opportunities for disabled people to live the lifestyle of their choosing and achieve their life aspirations.

For more information about the charity, visit: www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk