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New lease of life for grandma thanks to rural housing development

New lease of life for grandma thanks to rural housing development

A 75-year-old disabled woman from Hull has regained her independence and social life after moving in to a new home in the rural village of Hutton Cranswick in East Riding.

Hutton Cranswick 1

The move comes during Rural Housing Week (1-5 July), a UK-wide campaign by the National Housing Federation, which shines a spotlight on developments that offer a lifeline to people in our market towns and villages.

Brenda Smith, who relies on a frame walker to get around indoors and is confined to a wheelchair when she leaves the house, feels like she has got her life back since moving in to the development off Hutton Road.

She has moved into one of four bungalows, two of which are affordable rent via Together Housing Group and two of which are shared ownership via Together Homes. The bungalows are part of a wider development, which also includes six houses, four for affordable rent and two for shared ownership.

The development was built after East Riding of Yorkshire Council identified a need for affordable housing in the village following a survey which revealed that no new affordable housing had been built in the area for a number of years and existing affordable housing had been snapped up under the Right to Buy scheme.

The Council supported Together Housing’s proposals and backed it up with £20,000 of their own money to ensure the specification for the homes was enhanced to include new sheds in the rented homes; additional level access showers in the rented bungalows; extra kitchen units and electric showers in the rented homes.

The new development backs on to where Brenda’s daughter, Erika Tennison, who helps care for her mum, lives.

As Erika watched her parents’ health deteriorate, she battled to get them moved from a two-storey property to a bungalow but with demand exceeding supply, she had all but given up hope when her dad sadly passed away two years ago.

Since then, Brenda’s health worsened, coming to a head last year when she was rushed into hospital for emergency spinal surgery.

Erika said: “After the surgery, mum was placed in an assisted living rehabilitation care home. While there recovering, she developed deep vein thrombosis and was rushed back into hospital. The surgery left her with a neurological condition with poor mobility and loss of sensation in her leg and foot.

“It wasn’t safe for her to return to her home where she only had an upstairs bathroom so she had to stay in the care home for eight and a half months because there were no suitable properties – the usual stay is six weeks!

“Eventually she was offered a single-storey property but it was in an area of Hull she didn’t know and ended up housebound as the amenities were too far away. She felt completely isolated.

“She tried staying with us for a while, my teenage son gave up his bed for her, but we couldn’t get her upstairs for a wash so I had to take her to the local sports centre to use the disabled shower.”

Erika, who regularly made the 50 mile round-trip to help her mum with tasks such as shopping, cooking and cleaning, is delighted to see a smile on her mum’s face again.

She said: “I feel like I’ve got my mum back. She was so miserable where she was that I was worried she’d started to give up on life. When I left her in that house in Hull that first night, I went home and cried. It was breaking my heart.

“It’s been so hard since dad died but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. To have mum less than a five minute walk from where we live will mean all our lives will change for the better. I have the peace of mind of knowing I can be with her at the drop of a hat in an emergency.

“We won’t have a two-hour round-trip any more if we need to just pop in with a pint of milk. She can even go and get essentials herself now as the shops are much closer compared to where she was living.

“There’s a real sense of community spirit in the village so she’ll never need to feel alone again. Even if we are away, we have friends who will pop round and check on her.

“It’s been a long time coming but it’s such a relief.”

Brenda said: “I love my new home. I don’t have to worry about trying to get upstairs, the wet room is nice and big and there is plenty of space to get around with my walker plus I have a lovely garden. But best of all, I know my family are within easy reach. I’m going to be very happy here.”  



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