I was fortunate enough to be invited to view a new accessible house in East Ayrshire last week and it was quite an eye opener.
The house was stunning and it wouldn’t be too much to say that this is the gold standard that all accessible housing should be based on. Right from when you approached the house the thought that has gone into the design is obvious.
The house had a large portico to the side where a car could be parked out of the rain. The hall was a lovely wide area with generous doors into all rooms, a fantastic manoeuvring space and all the switches had been set at a height that was easily reached from a wheelchair. The kitchen was well laid out and had a sink and cooker that could be raised and lowered, allowing for a wheelchair to fit underneath. When you were in the bedrooms there was great space all round and the widows made the house feel light and airy. Simple ideas like a basket under the letter box so that the tenant who is a wheelchair user doesn’t have to bend and stretch for mail make a big difference.
What really impressed me was that the bathroom had a wet room area as well as a normal bath. As they put it “well this is a family home” so they had taken the needs of all users into consideration. The housing representative told me that they future proof their houses so that walls can be moved or taken away easily.
I have to say it was heartening to see the thought and care that had gone into the planning and this was not a one-off. They have several developments either completed or planned that are to this standard.
Many thanks to Lorraine and Laura, the housing OT’s, to Deborah from housing who organised the visit and gave me loads of information, and of course to the lady who let me visit her home.