Residents with learning disabilities given independence boost

Residents with learning disabilities in Herefordshire have seen a transformation in the quality of their lives thanks to a £285,000 home improvement scheme carried out by Herefordshire Council in partnership with housing and support services including West Mercia Homes and Aspire Living.

Forty nine residents living in West Mercia Homes’ supported housing are now leading more independent lives due to improvement work carried out at eight of the housing association’s supported living schemes in Hereford, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye.

West Mercia Homes has now received just over £130,000 of the £285,000 grant, following a grant application by Herefordshire Council to the Department of Health’s £25 million housing and technology capital fund in September 2016.

The grant to encourage the expansion of suitable housing across the county has enabled West Mercia Homes and Herefordshire Council to install automated doors, ramped access, Tunstall personal lifeline emergency call systems and conversions of bathrooms to specialised wet rooms for easy-access bathing.

A resident described how the wet room that has been installed in their property has made a huge positive benefit to their day-to-day life.

He said: “I have more freedom within my own home. I can now shower without the worry of slipping – my confidence has grown so much. The new room is bright and clean, and I’m delighted that my independence has improved.”

Rob Breeze, West Mercia Homes’ Care and Supported Housing Coordinator, said: “We are thrilled with the results of this project which has helped to maximise the independence of our customers’ lives.

“We strive to provide collaborative working with our support providers to ensure obstacles can be removed to help people live more independently.”

Councillor Paul Rone, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We are delighted that the funding we received from the Department of Health, for our assistive technology scheme, has made such a positive difference to 49 residents with learning disabilities.

“The use of assistive technology provides residents with greater choice, increased confidence and independence and enables them to feel safe and secure in their own homes and communities.

“It also provides peace of mind for family and friends, knowing their loved ones are fully supported to live more independently.”

The work has been carried out at five schemes in Hereford, two schemes in Leominster and one scheme in Ross-On-Wye.

Supported living scheme Roos on Wye