Accessible accommodation in Alton
Many disabled young adults are faced with the harsh reality of wanting to leave their family home and be more independent, but sadly, there is a lack of appropriate, accessible accommodation available for them to move into.
Treloar’s believes that by investing in the creation of accessible accommodation suitable for those with complex needs, we can provide these young people with the opportunities they need to live independently in the community. Treloar’s has also the specialist skills and knowledge to support these young people, providing them with a safe and supportive environment that will enable them to thrive living independently and open up doors for their future living options.
Creating accessible accommodation for disabled people with complex needs
Over the last decade and more, Treloar’s has been looking at options to help students develop independence at and after they leave College. This work is aligned with our Strategic Objectives 2022-2027. Outcomes for some of our students in terms of employment and independence goals have been impacted by the inevitable interweaving of employment opportunities with housing. The availability of accessible local housing for disabled people (especially at the more profound level) is woeful and means that often students can lose not just their opportunities for work, but their independence skills more generally if they are not able to apply or maintain them.
Disabled access ground floor flats in Alton
Treloar’s has undertaken significant work with East Hampshire District Council and property developers in terms of trying to influence development and planning. That’s where Rivermead Gardens comes in—a development on the site of the old Alton Brewery. Treloar’s has been working with the local district council to buy four disabled access ground floor units with two carer studios above. We purposely opted for just four flats as we felt it was important that the young adults were integrated as part of a mixed community and grouping more such units together would undermine this objective. It was also important that the flats were centrally located near to the town centre to give easy access to facilities and opportunities independently and in a way more remote housing could not.
Suitability of disability housing
Community housing for disabled people with complex needs is few and far between; whilst some partially accessible accommodation can be found, there is usually nothing that meets the full requirement of this group of people. In fact, Treloar’s is not aware of any such community housing for disabled people with complex needs in Hampshire, and it is rare in other neighbouring counties. We see this challenge all the time when students leave Treloar’s and when tenants are seeking to move on from our Campbell Court bungalows on our main site, having completed a programme of independence training.
These issues have been further highlighted in the UK Government Disability Unit’s UK Disability Survey from 15 January 2021 to 28 February 2021 which found nearly half of disabled people reported that they live in homes which do not meet their needs to live independently. Over a third have needed to make significant adjustments to their homes to meet accessibility requirements, 70% of which has had to be self-funded or through family and friends. The report also notes that steps must be taken to boost the supply of accessible, affordable, homes, including supported housing to help more disabled people live in homes that meet their needs. Ryan Campbell, Treloar’s Chief Executive Officer, said:
We are delighted to be creating the Rivermead Gardens flats for young disabled people with complex needs. There is such a huge demand for this type of housing that we really hope this will be the start of many opportunities to work with Local Authorities and housing providers to replicate this model in towns across the UK.
Who will benefit
The Rivermead Gardens properties are suitable for education leavers and similar age tenants moving on to live in the community, they could potentially be ex-Treloar’s students looking to make their way in the world or other young adults with complex disabilities. We will manage the properties as part of our existing Treloar’s Campbell Court management structure which is registered through the Care Quality Commission and is able to provide domiciliary care. Campbell Court is a small development on our campus of seven flats that has been created for young disabled adults, aged 18–35, who have the potential to benefit from receiving a longer term independence skills learning/development package in a safe and supportive environment.