UK Disability History Month (18 November - 20 December) is likely to pass many people by, sadly, I must admit, it is not something I was familiar with. Perhaps it doesn't help that it isn't a month with a catchy moniker like Dry January (quit drinking during January), Stoptober (October - quit smoking) or Movember (November - growing moustaches to raise awareness about men's health) but stretches across two months.
But with 14 million disabled people in the UK, including those with mental health issues, neuro-diverse people and those with physical or sensory impairments, it is no less vital than other awareness months. Surely the disabled more than deserve their own month highlighting the issues they face every day? This year's theme 'the question of access', how far we have come and how far we have yet to go, is certainly an ongoing concern.
Finding homes for our clients to rent or buy, and then adapting them in a way that ensures accessibility is not an issue, is something PLG does every day. Wheelchair users face enough challenges when they are out and about, particularly at the moment when social-distancing measures introduced as a result of the pandemic mean disabled parking bays at supermarkets have been taken over by queues of people waiting to get in to do their shopping, for example, or already-narrow doorways in shops are restricted even further by tables decked out with hand sanitiser. The last thing you need when you've faced all that to do what should be some simple shopping is to struggle in your own home; it should be the one place where you can really relax.
Finding an accessible property
Estate agents' particulars will tell you how many reception rooms and bedrooms a property has but if you want to know whether there is wheelchair space, stair-lifts or accessible bedrooms, forget it. This is where PLG's experience in the disability homes sector is vital, our searches stretch across the country in our bid to find a suitable property, taking into account a client's needs and considering the location, care regime, schooling and family dynamics, as well as the property itself.
Click the images below to discover our property search case studies and read about previous obstacles we have overcome.
A Disability Property Rental with an Urgent Deadline
If you can't find it, create it
No property ticks all the boxes and meets all the requirements of our clients, usually, significant adaptations are needed, both on rental properties and those purchased on behalf of the client as a 'forever' home. PLG's in-house architectural team offers a full adaptation service, managing every stage of the process, as well as the various stakeholders. This removes the pressure when it comes to what can be extremely complex issues, including planning, design, contractor due diligence, construction and post-completion works. Crucially, we understand that while clinical needs are important as the client will often have ongoing rehabilitation, a home for disability use is still a home and comfort is just as important.
The necessary enabling works to make a property suitable for a disabled tenant or buyer are a lot more complex than adding a few ramps and handrails. Adequate ground floor space to accommodate a client's bedroom, therapy and bathing needs; level access throughout; fully accessible bathrooms (usually wet rooms) with non-slip surfaces; open-plan kitchens with worktops at just the right height for wheelchair users; as well as internal modifications to ensure manoeuvrability for wheelchair users, all need to be taken into account.
Get in touch
The PLG team has years of specialist disability property experience behind us so crucially we know what is required and what can be achieved. One size does not fit all, each client has different requirements when it comes to accessibility, which is why we provide bespoke services tailored to the individual. Do get in touch to discuss your client's needs and how we can help.