Two fantastic accessible homes by Stephanie Mason

May 21, 2020

The closure of a residential care home has been a positive life changing move for 10 people. The level of urgency had already mounted when Golden Lane Housing (GLH) and Mencap teamed up to provide two fantastic accessible homes.

Development manager, Stephanie Mason explains how everyone worked together to make this happen.

Timing was everything.

It was quite a challenging time for everyone. Time had passed and the closing date was now only months away.

Mencap approached me after Leeds Mencap had reached out to see if they could help. After I’d discussed options with the CEO at Leeds Mencap, I met with the local authority to see how we could support the individuals.

Using the capital we had raised it was agreed that GLH and Mencap would pair up and offer a solution to Leeds Mencap and the local authority.

The flurry of work began. Many meetings took place, and everyone was involved, the individuals, Leeds Mencap, Mencap, the local authority and people from across the GLH team.

We began looking for two large detached houses that we could specially adapt and make accessible. The properties needed to within local proximity to each other and close to the care home. We searched extensively; at one point, we thought it was going to be impossible due to timescales, however our luck changed!

Everyone was truly overjoyed when two perfect properties came on the market just around the corner from each other. Our offer was accepted and we purchased the houses.

Work began

We negotiated a couple of extra months with the developer who was buying the care home. Contractors agreed to a faster work schedule and work started on site to make them accessible. After that it began taking shape. New wet rooms were installed, and ramps built so people can gain easy access, ground floor bedrooms were created and new kitchens and bathrooms installed.

Leeds Mencap had worked with everyone to personalise their rooms. Each was decorated with colours and wallpaper they’d chosen so it was just to their taste.

Excitement was building as the move in date approached. Everyone worked tirelessly to make this happen and the final touches were completed in time for the big day. I believe the tenants had a beaming smile as they walked through their front doors for the first time – that says it all!

Working with Leeds City Council

Steve Bardsley, service delivery manager, joint care management team – learning disabilities, Leeds City Council: “Working alongside Golden Lane Housing, Mencap and Leeds Mencap suitable and affordable supported housing has been developed for ten friends. The individuals were in urgent need of housing due to the closure of the residential care home in Leeds. By using the capital from Golden Lane Housing’s 2017 Retail Charity Bond, two fantastic properties were purchased and specially adapted within close proximity to each other. The expertise and partnership work has ensured the individual’s housing and support needs are met and they can continue to be part of their community.”

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