New found independence for Lewis
06 November 2017
In fact, there is nothing that Jan likes more than seeing her fridge is empty, the washing up is stacked high and the bin overflowing. This is because for Jan it is a sign that her 18-year-old son, Lewis, has been able to make himself food and drinks, without having to ask her for help. Lewis has cerebral palsy and until recently they were in a property which meant he couldn’t access the kitchen by himself. He was also unable to get in and out of the house, he couldn’t enjoy the back garden and his bedroom was too small.
However, the family was recently handed the keys to a new house in Meadow Road, Newport, and Lewis has a new-found independence, which his family is thrilled about. “We found out three years ago from the Trust that there were plans for a specially adapted house to be built. Since then it has been a long journey and Lewis has had to be very patient,” said Jan, who is married to Rob. “To finally get those keys to the house was a great moment. When we walked into the kitchen and saw how it had been adapted to allow Lewis to be independent I got quite emotional.
“Lewis, like any 18-year-old, has taken it in his stride, but now the reality of it is hitting home. I used to have to get him everything – he would always have to ask if he wanted a drink. Now he can raid the fridge to his heart’s content, and I love to see it. It makes me so happy to see the freedom he has.”
Jan said she wanted to thank the team at the Trust, especially Housing Executive Marie Brookes: “Marie was great; she kept us updated on the development, showed Lewis the plans and was our go-to person with any worries we had,” said Jan. “It is good to know the Trust are going to carry on creating homes for disabled people, because this has had such a positive impact on our family – their hard work has made such a difference to us.”
Lewis is also learning to drive and his hobbies include playing on his X-Box One and going out with his friends and family, which includes his 20-year-old sister, Beth, who also lives at home. The family have always been Trust tenants, but they had outgrown their last home.
Jan explained: “The Trust were able to adapt our last home for him when he was a child, but it wasn’t ideal. As he has got older, and his wheelchair has got bigger, it has been limiting for him. It was crazy that he could go to school, pass exams and yet couldn’t go into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich.”
Lewis, who is studying a BTEC Level 3 in creative media and computer graphics at New College Telford and also works at Tesco in Madeley, said his privacy was affected in his old house. “I need lifting equipment in my bedroom and it took up a lot of space in the old house, so there wasn’t much room to move. Now it is great to be able to move around freely by myself and once I pass my driving test I will be able to shout goodbye to mum and dad, leave the house and get into my car – all without their help.”
The Wrekin Housing Trust has four brand new properties at Meadow Road in Newport, which includes two bungalows and two houses, all now let to tenants. The Trust has a number of other properties in Newport and in particular, it’s the Trust’s more established two-bedroomed apartments, dotted around the town, that are most often available, with rents starting at £90 rent per week. Anyone who is interested in one of the apartments can go along to the Newport shop which is on the High Street, or call 01952 217030.