Aug 05

South Oxfordshire District Council Increase Disabled Facilities Grant


If you or a loved one is living with a disability, it’s important that every care is taken to make sure the bathroom is easily accessible and safe to use. Whether that means creating half height shower doors or installing bath lifts, these bathroom adaptations help make everyday living as comfortable as possible.

And while we take pride in providing an affordable service, you could be entitled to even more support if you live in the South Oxfordshire area, as disabled and vulnerable residents can now apply for larger grants to make their homes safer.

South Oxfordshire District Council has increased the maximum amount payable by £20,000. While it has sat at £30,000, it has now gone up to £50,000 through its Housing Assistance Grants and Loans policy.

So what exactly is the Disabled Facilities Grant? In essence, this is government funding that supporting disabled people to live in their own homes, thereby reducing the need for hospital admissions and residential care.

The grant is for home renovations and adaptations, such as installing bath lifts or walk-in power baths, shower seating or bidet toilet seats—the extent of the renovations depends on your individual needs.

You’ll be paid either in instalments as the work on your home progresses or in full when the work is finished, and it’s completely separate to any disability benefits you already get or may be entitled to. The government website sets out further details on the Disabled Facilities Grant.

As part of the new system, there are also grants available for people living with dementia.

If you’re looking to renovate or adapt your home, we’re here to help you find the right bathroom and make the changes as easy and affordable as possible.


Jubilee shower bath
Aug 01

Bathrooms For Elderly Relatives


When our elderly relatives can safely and easily use the bathroom on their own, it allows them to age in place, and with dignity. Our seniors might not be registered as disabled, but we all have difficulties as we get older, so designing safe and accessible bathrooms are key to improving their quality of life and granting them independent living.

Slips and falls are the leading cause of accidents in the home, and the bathroom can present a perfect storm of risks. The motions of getting up and down, stepping in and out of bathtubs and showers, bending over at the sink, can be hazardous for anyone, especially the elderly. There are many ways we can improve our homes to make them more accessible.

We have some tips to help our loved elderly relatives retain their independence.


1. Install lever taps

A lever tap means less difficulty for the elderly than having to twist and turn traditional taps. There are so many different styles to choose from, even including foot-operated taps.


2. Get a sprayer attachment for your shower-head

A detachable showerhead makes bathing easier and eliminates the need to stand in the shower, especially with shower seating.


3. Install grab bars and rails

One of the simplest ways to make your bathroom more accessible to add grab bars and rails in the shower, bath, and near the toilet.


4. Raise the height of the toilet

Raising the height of the toilet by three inches can make all the difference for the elderly. There are options including a ‘comfort height’ toilet, or you can raise the height of your existing toilet with extra thick toilet seats.


5. Non-slip bath mats and rugs

Non-slip mats in the shower prevent the elderly from falling while showering, and a non-slip rug prevents any accidents when getting out of the bath or shower.


6. Walk-in baths and showers

If climbing in and out of the tub is difficult for those who are unable to lift their legs as high, walk-in showers and baths are the ideal options.

If you are looking for options for easy access baths and showers, visit our store today.

Jul 30

Oxford Council Calls For Inclusive City Centre


Oxford City Centre needs to be made more accessible for disabled residents and visitors as it continues to re-open to the public, according to the local authority and charities.

Earlier this week, Oxford City Council called for more funding from the government to enable the area to be made safer with help of stewards.

Councillor Marie Tidball, cabinet member for support local communities, who is a disabled woman herself, said: “It is essential for the protection of the health of disabled people and their inclusion in our society that measures taken to exit lockdown consider their elevated risk of contracting coronavirus.”

She noted that the council would not be able to raise funds for stewarding itself, which is why it needs further assistance from the government.

This has now received the support of local charities and advocates for disabled people, including Elmore Community Services, My Life My Choice, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, and Connection Support.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has given the council £134,950 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to introduce safety measures, such as signage and one-way systems to help maintain social distancing guidelines.

Overall, the government is providing £50 million from the European Regional Development Fund to councils across England to be able to safely open commercial areas and high streets amid the pandemic.

Twelve stewards have also been placed in the city centre and Cowley Road to manage pedestrian flow and provide people with support on how to use one-way pavement guidance and advice on social distance rules.

However, MHCLG states the council is not eligible to claim funding for these stewards, despite their assistance to disabled people in the city.

To find out more about shower seats for disabled people, get in touch today.

Jul 20

Relaxing Planning Rules ‘Puts Accessible Homes At Risk’


A coalition of housing, ageing and disability charities have issued a warning that proposals to relax planning rules could create more problems for the existing shortage of accessible homes in the UK, homes that are safe and suitable for older and disabled people.

The Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is now calling on the government to resist calls to relax regulations in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, saying in an open letter that the pandemic has revealed just how important it is that people have homes suited to their needs.

If current plans are adhered to, by 2030 there will be one new accessible home built for every 15 people over the age of 65, despite the fact that the UK is facing a huge demographic age shift.

The coalition now wants the government to establish an accessible and adaptable design standard, to be used as the regulatory baseline for all new builds.

Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better said: “Lack of accessible housing is a major problem in the UK, and we must not let the disruption of the COVID-19 crisis distract the government from its mission to build more suitable homes.

“The houses we build today will be with us for decades to come, so it is vital we build for the future – a future in which more of us will live to older ages.”

In fact, a new research has just been launched designed to help social landlords offer support to more of their residents and help them live independently in accessible homes.

Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies, is investigating how housing associations and others could invest in home adaptations to help those tenants with sight loss and dementia, Home Care Insight reports.

The aim is to help more people carry on living independently in their own homes for as long as possible, with seven themes being explored, including the use of specialist staff, policies and protocols around adaptations, as well as seeing what support is currently being offered to tenants in moving home instead of having properties adapted.

If you’re thinking of adapting your home to make it more comfortable and ensure that you can continue living there for as long as possible, there are lots of changes you can make, both big and small.

Adjustable beds, for example, come with simple controls that can make it easier for you to get in and out of bed, while installing motion sensor lights mean you can reduce the chances of falling in the dark.

In the bathroom, you could opt for easy access baths or shower seats in the shower so you can walk straight in and sit down, also helping to prevent falls. If you’d like any further help or advice, get in touch with the Practical Bathing team today.

Jul 08

Derbyshire Announces Construction Of ‘Easily Adaptable Homes’


A new social housing development in Derbyshire is set to get underway, with council bosses in Bolsover revealing that they plan to deliver 400 new homes in the next four years as part of the area’s social housing building programme.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, Steve Fritchley, leader of Bolsover District Council, said that the council is excited about the new partnership it has agreed with local developer Robert Woodhead Limited to construct the properties.

Mr Fritchley explained that the properties will be located at various sites across the Bolsover district, adding that they will be constructed to Lifetime Home standards.

He added: “This will ensure they contain features to make them easily adaptable for people with mobility issues, meaning that homes can be adapted to accommodate people’s needs instead of people having to move to an adapted property as they do now.”

Glenn Slater, chief visionary officer at the housebuilder, told the newspaper that the firm is pleased to be involved in the project with a local authority that is placing the focus on communities, the environment and the local economy.

Earlier this year, Access and Mobility Professional revealed that some of the most popular bathroom adaptations that homeowners choose are the likes of easy access showers and wet rooms, because these are often easy for people to maintain and the installation can be carried out with minimal disruption in the property.

With the UK’s population ageing and more people likely to experience mobility issues in their lifetime, it’s important to consider how you could adapt your home to make it more accessible should the need arise.

Jul 05

Charity Gets £12m To Build Accessible Smart Homes


The Scottish Government has approved a £12m loan to specialist housing and care provider Blackwood Homes and Care to enable the construction of 160 smart homes for disabled people in Scotland.

The government’s charitable bond scheme chose the care organisation because of its ability to improve the quality of disabled people’s lives, given them an opportunity to live independently at home, according to Access and Mobility Professional.

The new homes will include electronic sliding doors, underfloor heating, solar panels, and electric blinds. There will also be rise and fall surfaces and cupboards in the kitchen, and a fully accessible bathroom.

The smart appliances will be integrated into CleverClogs, Blackwood’s personal care digital platform. This can be used to control heating and lighting, as well as provide video calling services, and schedule appointments and medication reminders.

Debbie Collins, finance director at Blackwood, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this backing from Allia C&C. This will enable us to deliver more accessible housing across Scotland. There is huge demand for these homes and with an ageing population we need to build more for all of our futures.”

The Scottish Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart said that the new homes will provide better choice and adaptability for people living with disabilities, as well as their families, and improve the quality of their independent living.

“Everyone deserves a home that suits their needs, and that’s why we’re investing in charitable bonds to deliver more affordable, accessible and efficient homes across Scotland. To date, our £172 million investment in the programme has provided development finance for over 1,200 affordable homes,” he said.

If you want disability baths to improve the quality of life for a disabled family member, then get in touch today.

Jul 01

Adaptive Fitness Sessions Launched By LimbPower


UK disability charity LimbPower has launched a new series of online adaptive fitness sessions for youngsters with disabilities to get involved with.

Inside The Games reported on the initiative, which will see Paralympic athlete Jack Eyers leading fitness sessions for disabled and able-bodied kids.

Jack is a paracanoe athlete, as well as being the first amputee to win the bodybuilding competition “Mr England”, the news provider explained. His fitness sessions will run twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

They are part of the #StayInWorkOut campaign being run by Sport England, and Jack’s sessions will focus on fundamental movement skills, balance, agility, cardio and coordination, all for children.

LimbPower chief executive Kiera Roche commented: “Jack’s sessions will help children to get moving, improve their fitness and remain positive during these challenging times.”

Jack told the news provider that he’s looking forward to helping children to stay healthy and fit during this period.

“I am passionate about making each session fun and accessible for all,” he said. Each of his workouts will last for around 20 minutes and the first six will be made available this month on the charity’s YouTube channel.

Flux Magazine recently shared research conducted by Menkind in May, which found that staying active during lockdown has helped many dads to connect with their kids. The survey revealed that one-third of dads made keeping their kids active a top priority during the UK-wide lockdown.

Almost half of the fathers questioned said that they had been doing more physical activity with their kids than they did before lockdown, while one in ten even took up a new sport with their kids.

Need easy access showers to make it simpler to wash off after a workout? Get in touch with us today to find out about our products and services.

Jun 29

Pamis Helps Disabled People Communicate During Pandemic


Pamis (Promoting A More Inclusive Society), an equality charity, has encouraged families to create a ‘digital passport’ that aims to help disabled people communicate during the coronavirus lockdown.

The charity has launched an online tool and released materials so people at home can make their own passport, that Pamis has been using to help people with multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) for a decade.

The tool assists people with PMLD to use a tablet or computer to better communicate with people who are unfamiliar with them. It was developed as people with PMLD sometimes communicate in ways that are not easily understood by strangers.

The digital passport includes videos and photographs that describe the person’s needs, abilities, and personal traits. The user can then take their tablet with them to hospital visits and care centres to make appointments and meetings go much smoother.

The charity realised the benefits the tool can bring to other families during the COVID-19 lockdown and have been working on adapting the resources ever since the first week of the outbreak in the UK.

They have offered a template and instructional videos to help create the passports to families of people with complex needs, as the charity currently lacks the resources needed to better assist.

Jenny Miller, Pamis CEO, said: “At crucial times such as these it is morally the right thing to do to share resources that can support the care of people who have complex needs. Cat Jamieson, our digital lead, has worked flat out to provide an online resource to help others access this tool. It is another example of the wisdom and innovation of our family carers.

“The Pamis digital passport is an invaluable resource at this time and we are delighted to be able to share it with wider groups.”

The tools to create a passport can be found on the Pamis website.

If you need easy access baths and showers, come and talk to us today!

Jun 02

BBC Produces Disability Discrimination Act Drama


The BBC has revealed it will feature a new drama to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.

BAFTA winner Jack Thorne is set to write the factual show together with award-winning actor Genevieve Barr, with Dragonfly Film and TV and One Shoe Films producing the drama for BBC2.

Creative director for Dragonfly Richard Bond was reported by Televisual as saying: “This is an incredibly important story that deserves to be told, and we couldn’t imagine anyone better to do it justice than Jack and Genevieve.”

The production tells the tale of disabled cabaret performers Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth, who met at a gig in 1989. After falling in love and having a baby, they led the Direct Action Network (DAN).

They established the ‘Piss on Pity’ slogan as part of their protests, which took place at cinemas, restaurants, on the London underground and in rail stations.

Incredibly persistent, the couple even attempted to handcuff their wheelchairs to buses till politicians took notice and legalised disability rights.

Barr, who is deaf and is most noted for her performance in BBC’s The Silence, added: “DAN created opportunities and rights for so many of us disabled and to be able to say thank you in this creative way is really special.”

Helping Thorne – most famous for Shameless and Skins – with the script will see Barr turn from acting to writing in this new production.

Walk-in baths are excellent for disabled homeowners, helping them to get in and out of a relaxing bath with ease.

May 26

Disabled People Inspiring The Public During Lockdown


Many Brits have been struggling with the loss of freedom and strict constraints that have come with the national lockdown. However, lots of disabled people are used to this feeling, and have been inspiring the public with their positive mental attitude.

One such inspirational figure is eight-year-old Jayden Henderson, whose neurological condition and hypertonia means he has only just started to take his first few steps with the help of a walker.

However, the Norfolk lad has vowed to walk 90 metres a day to raise money for the NHS, having been spurred on by seeing the impressive achievement of Captain Tom Moore.

The former British army officer has raised more than £32.7 million for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal by walking 100 lengths of his garden in the lead up to his 100th birthday.

Jayden wants to follow in Captain Tom’s footsteps by using his own walker to scale 1.5 miles over the course of May.

His mother Clare Henderson, who is his full-time carer, told the Eastern Daily Press: “Jayden is so happy to do it and has had a beaming smile on his face each time he does it. He has approached the walks with a lot of energy and been doing two laps at a time rather than one, before that he was only doing about 30 or 40 metres a day. We are very proud of him.”

Ms Henderson, who also has daughters Isla, six, and Ellie, four, said her son wanted to give something back as the NHS has “given us a lot of support” over the last few years.

After launching a Go Fund page, Jayden has managed to raise £2,235 since he started the challenge on May 4th. He hopes to reach £2,500 by the end of the month.

The young boy is not the only disabled person who has proved inspirational during the pandemic, as everyone who has a physical impairment or learning disability has shown strength and courage to those who are not used to such an unprecedented event.

Kevin Chunisingh, 44, for instance, was an avid kite-surfer before he fractured his neck in an accident in 2009. This left him paralysed from the chest down, and he now has to use a wheelchair all the time.

He told Wales Online: “For many people in a similar situation to me, we are in a permanent lockdown. I know someone in a similar situation who has been in bed for about a year and a half.”

Mr Chunisingh advised the public to use this as an opportunity to “slow down, spend time with family”, adding it is important to focus on “what we have and what we can do”.

Since the accident, which left him spending 15 months in hospital, he developed a passion for painting and has been using lockdown to pick up new skills, such as sketching.

Those who want more independence in their own homes should consider buying an inflatable bath lift, which allows disabled people to enjoy full-depth bathing by helping them get in and out of the tub.