More homes in Plymouth get disabled adaptations

Councillor Chris Penberthy (far right) and Carla Riley-Wood (third from left) joined developers and council officers at the specially adapted house.

Councillor Chris Penberthy (far right) and Carla Riley-Wood (third from left) joined developers and council officers at the specially adapted house.

More homes in Plymouth are getting disabled adaptations, including the conversion of two houses into one for a severely disabled teenager.

The teenager and their family (who do not want to be named), will move into the latest house which has been adapted at Cherry Tree Gardens, Plymouth on Friday 3 July.

Plymouth City Council, Taylor Wimpey and Westward Housing Group had to work together to find a solution as there was not an existing house that could be adapted. The only option was to build a bigger house with a larger bedroom, extra turning space for a flat-bed wheelchair, and areas for equipment storage. The adaptations were funded by Plymouth City Council’s Disabled Facilities Grant. The house is on a site with 209 new homes including 32 affordable homes, and many of the homes on the estate are now completed.

Westward’s Executive Director, Jill Gregg, said “We are extremely proud of the home that has resulted from this project, specifically tailored to the needs of this family. I hope it will be life-enhancing for the teenager and family concerned and we wish them well in their new home.

“We are unusual as a housing association in having our own occupational therapist who was able to work with the family’s own occupational therapist to create such a great result.

“This beautifully adapted property and three more of our shared ownership homes will be handed over on this large site today and form another step on our journey to address housing need in Plymouth and the south west.”

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Housing for Plymouth City Council, said: “The Council’s Disabled Facilities Grant aims to improve disabled people’s homes, making them more accessible and giving them a better quality of life.

“This particular house was an ambitious project and it is very impressive to see the work that has been done.

“The Council is committed to making more homes accessible for disabled people and in March our Investment Board approved an additional £100,000 to enable another 30 homes in the city to receive adaptations. By making people’s houses more accessible we can help people lead more independent lives and stay in their own homes.”

The Council’s Investment Board additional funding (on top of the annual budget of £800,000) enabled another 30 homes in the city to receive adaptations including grab rails, stairlifts, and level access bathrooms earlier than planned.

Among those to benefit from the additional funding was Carla Riley-Wood, of Tavistock Road, Plymouth, (third from left in the picture above) who was able to get a new level access shower room and a stairlift.

Carla overcame childhood cancer three times, aged age 7,8 and 14, but lost a leg as a result. She recently got a new prosthetic leg and has been able to walk again for the first time in 26 years.

Carla said: “It’s fantastic and will make a huge difference to my life – I will be able to be much more independent as a result of these adaptations.

“With my new false leg my mobility has recently got better and for example I can make my own lunch without having to rely on someone else.

“The stairs are still a struggle and I used to struggle to get in the bath so both the stairlift and the new bathroom will give me a much better quality of life.”

Carla uses her experience to help other families with children with cancer, up at Derriford Children’s Cancer Services, and also runs the Bring On The Smiles facebook page.

Photo copyright of Westward Housing Group