It has changed mine and my family’s lives

Community Projects  |  28 January 2020

A man who has moved into one of the council’s newly built homes says it has transformed his life.

Ben uses a wheelchair after losing both legs and has spent several years in a cramped home unable to manoeuvre around.

The 44-year-old, his wife and teenage son, have recently moved into a spacious bungalow in Brook Path, Cippenham, one of three which have modifications for people with disabilities. Among the modifications are a kitchen sink and worktop that can be adjusted to a suitable height for all members of the family.

“It means I have to do the washing up now,” joked Ben, the former power engineer.

The three bungalows are among 25 homes which have been added to the council stock in 2019, designed and delivered through Slough Urban Renewal, SUR, as part of the council’s property partnership with Morgan Sindall Investments Limited.

At five other locations in the borough, Moreton Way, Cippenham, Tamarisk Way, Chalvey, Mansel Close, Wexham and Fox Road and Trewlaney Avenue, Langley, 17 three-bedroomed homes and five two-bedroomed homes have also been built.

Other adaptations at the Brook Path bungalows include a wet room, wider door frames and ramps to the front door and the garden.

Ben said: “I’ve come from a place where I couldn’t get next to my son’s bed to comfort him if he was ill.

“If I was in the kitchen no one else could get in so cooking was difficult.”

“I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tipped the chair up having to wheel backwards out of the bedroom, or clipped a door frame, and then hit my head. Now there is room for me to turn around and leave a room.

“Now there is a lot of space, wide doors, ramps, two bathrooms, and the potential for more adaptations to be made if necessary or space for carers to help if required, which is really forward thinking by the council. There won’t be many better homes in the country than this.”

“The impact on the family as a whole has been brilliant. Life is inevitably focused around me, but now there is a family bathroom as well as my own bathroom which has brought a bit of normality for my family.

“It has taken a lot of stress off us as a family. I can help cook with my wife or son in the kitchen at the same time.”

Ben said he had been watching the building work progress after being told about the property and has suffered in the past with depression.

He said: “A year or so ago I was struggling to get up in the mornings and get on with life but now this year, this place has brought me a new lease of life, I get up and make every day a good as a day it can be.”

Cllr James Swindlehurst, council leader, said: “These thoughtfully designed, specially adapted bungalows for independent living show our commitment to providing high quality homes for all our residents and are a marked improvement on the cold, damp, single skinned pre-fab bungalows that previously occupied the site.

“I’m delighted Ben and his family have now settled into their new home, and almost as pleased that my casework from this area will see a significant reduction!”

Cllr Mohammed Nazir, cabinet member for housing, said: “Our manifesto promised an extra £4 million to deliver much need repairs, modernisation and structural improvements to our housing and I am delighted to see that money be put to such good use in delivering these fantastic properties that will allow more of our residents to live independent lives.

“These properties are not just houses that have been built, they are homes to people which can change their lives.

“I’d like to say thank you to Ben for sharing his story as is shows just what it means to our residents.”

Andy Howell, General Manager, at Slough Urban Renewal, said: “The small sites initiative, which aims to bring smaller sites, such as old garages and infill sites, into use for new council homes is proving hugely successful across Slough.

“Through this initiative we are delivering over 120 new council homes and we have witnessed some really heart-warming stories, of how they have quite literally transformed people’s lives.”

Building homes in partnership with SUR will continue throughout 2020 and 2021.