Rossendale couple ‘shower’ praise after disabled grant success

Published January 16, 2020 at 13:51

Haslingden resident Barbara Holden, 80, has been handed a new lease of life after Rossendale Council awarded her a Disabled Facilities Grant, and arranged much-needed changes to her home.

The grants are available to support people with disabilities if they need to adapt their house or install specialist equipment.

They are designed to improve freedom of movement in and around people’s homes giving access to essential facilities and keeping them safe in their home.

One couple that have benefitted from a grant are Barbara and her husband, Harry, 78, who live in sheltered accommodation at Jubilee Court in Haslingden.

Harry said:

We had a shower which was poorly fitted and placed too high off the ground. It was very difficult to use.

The bathroom facilities proved also to be dangerous with Barbara slipping, falling and badly hurting herself.

Harry continues:

It was really bad. We knew we had to do something to change it but were unsure where to turn.

The couple were told about the disabled facilities grant and, in July 2019, arranged an Occupational Therapist visit through Lancashire County Council, who assessed Barbara’s need and the property and made a referral to Rossendale Council for the home to be adapted.

To their delight they were awarded an £1800 grant and Rossendale Council facilitated the changes consisting of a new shower and improved bathroom facilities.

The shower was fitted by a local company, the correct distance from the ceiling and extra equipment was added meaning Barbara could now sit down whilst taking a shower.

Harry said:

I can’t thank Rossendale Council enough, they’ve been brilliant. The new set-up has helped immensely with my wife’s independence and confidence.

The improvements have also been the talk of Jubilee Court with Harry and Barbara’s neighbours even applying to the disabled facilities grant for funding themselves for alterations.

Harry continues:

Everyone is really impressed and have said it looks like we’ve got a new bathroom. For those in a similar position to us, I can’t recommend accessing a grant enough. It’s a straightforward process and we received as much guidance as we needed. It really can change lives.

You can access a disabled facilities grant if you are a disabled person who is an owner-occupier or tenant or you are the parent or guardian of a disabled child.

The maximum grant currently available is £30k, however in exceptional circumstances the Council has the discretion to award up to £100k.

You may be required to make a contribution based on a means test, although there is currently no means test applicable for grant work expected to cost below £7k, if the adaptation is for a child or the applicant is in receipt of certain means tested benefits.

Visit the Council’s website for more information on disabled facilities grants.

Councillor Steve Hughes, Rossendale Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities and Customers, said:

We want to make it easier for our most vulnerable residents to receive the help and support they need to stay in their own homes.

In the recent past we have used the discretionary powers available to us to increase the grants we can provide above the current mandatory level and to introduce a threshold before a means test is needed.

We’re really keen for as many people as possible to benefit from this. I would encourage anyone eligible to apply. They can make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities.

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