Diverse Abilities Plus help people with profound and complex physical and learning disabilities to gain greater confidence and independence through lifetime education, opportunities and support. They provide a range of services including supported living.

The charity applied for a grant towards purchasing and converting a bungalow into living accommodation for Peter and Tony, two friends who were already living together and who have cerebral palsy. Their rented accommodation did not meet their physical needs – the rooms, doorways and hallways were too small for their wheelchairs meaning that they had to crawl/be manually moved often. The entrance to the building was difficult to manoeuvre around and dangerous in a wheelchair. Their quality of life was being badly affected; for example they couldn’t cook, eat their meals at a table, or have friends over. The turnover of their staff was high because of the poor working conditions.

We awarded £20,000 towards the project. Tony and Peter moved in in 2012 and have been very happy since.

Tony and Peter said:

It’s been a long time coming but at last we have our new home. We can now get in and out of our front door without having to worry. We can get into our garden, have parties and friends round.

We can get into our kitchen, have our food round a table instead of on our laps.  We no longer have to change or undress in the hallway, we can use the bathroom as they are supposed to be used. We now have privacy and space.

Peter has an adult wardrobe now and loves his room and I can open my own front door and DO THE WASHING UP, WHICH I LOVE.

We are looking forward to being here for a long time to come, there is so much potential here and we intend to make our bungalow the best place to live. We are planning to build a BBQ and bar in our garden, to get a dog and have our own herb/veg patch. Things that we never thought could happen.

The charity said:

The change in both has been dramatic. Tony was instantly more relaxed and comfortable in his new surroundings and Peter has a new found independence. He no longer has to rely on his staff having to be everywhere that he wants to go – as he can do it completely by himself. He can get out into the garden safely, use all of the rooms in his home, get into the kitchen and most importantly assist in preparing meals.

Peter and Tony finally have their batchelor pad, their home, spacious modern and decorated to their liking and suitable to their needs – it’s no longer just somewhere they happen to live. Both Peter and Tony chose their decor for their rooms and had the adaptations they both needed.

Their new home means so much for their stability. Independence in their daily lives has had a positive impact on their well being and also that of their staff team, which for both of them is very important.

In the past ten years the staff turnover has been incredibly high and this can partly be put down to the working environment which, at the best of times, was difficult. The new improvements have meant that we have not had to rely on agency staff to fill any gaps.

Not only has this house made a world of difference to Tony and Peter, and allowed them to live in the way that they deserve and with the care that they have a right to, but the charity will be able to use the property to help others, in the long term future, too.