It is extremely important that local authorities, housing associations, and housing cooperatives across Scotland are aware of the need for accessible housing. The following case study is an example of accessible council housing that is available in East Ayrshire.
Ms C, the tenant had become a wheelchair user after an accident quite recently and the council house in which she lived had a set of stairs from the pavement up to the front door and an internal staircase which made it totally unsuitable. She had been undertaking physiotherapy and rehabilitation and would have not been able to return to her community had this house not become available.
Ms C said,
I thought if I gave up the other house I would not be able to be housed in the area but when my mum told me what the council had offered I could not believe it.
Upon approaching the house you are struck by how much thought has gone into design. The house has a large covered area outside the front door so car users can enter the house no matter what the weather. All doors in the house are wide and easily opened and would allow comfortable access no matter what size of wheelchair is being used. Thoughtful design is apparent throughout the house, with a basket behind the front door for mail, a sink and cooker that raise and lower and have space underneath for a wheel chair and light switches that are all at an accessible height. The hall and bedrooms were wide and spacious with lots of turning space and there was excellent storage facilities throughout the house.
Going back to design and the thought that has gone into the house, this is no more apparent than in the bathroom. Not only is there a wet room area but also a conventional bath as this is a family home and the needs of all occupants have been taken into consideration. Ms C’s daughter’s bedroom was no different to any other teenagers and overall the house does not have the appearance or feeling of being adapted or specially built.
Ms C continued,
I can’t believe how lucky I have been moving into this house. It has given me independence that I didn’t think would be possible again. I am very happy with everything in the house and the support I have had. There is a slabbed area outside patio doors to the back of the house where people can sit with some privacy in fine weather.
The house itself has been future proofed and has walls that can be moved or taken down and will meet multiple needs and the council estimate that it will be fit for purpose for at least 60 years.