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Supported housing gives Robert and Sylvia a new lease of life

Supported housing gives Robert and Sylvia a new lease of life

Robert and Sylvia Ackroyd are both in their early 90s and dreamt of living happily ever after in their beautiful canal side cottage, until they were victims of a serious flood.

Robert and Sylvia moved into their cottage in Elland in 1977, but on Boxing Day in 2015 they were victims of floods that devastated many homes in Calderdale.

Sylvia said: “When we woke up on Boxing Day morning, the flood water was up to our knees on the ground floor of our cottage.” Sylvia went about her day, even trying to cook a roast dinner in her wellies, before the reality hit home. “The Fire Brigade arrived and tried to rescue us by rubber dingy, but that was unsuccessful.

“They wanted us to swim a short distance in order to reach the dingy, but I couldn’t swim and there was no way Bob would leave me behind, so we were forced to stay put and live upstairs for 24 hours until the water level had dropped enough for us to get out safely. The flooding was horrific, but I still managed to make a full chicken dinner and rice pudding.”

On the 25th January 2016, Robert and Sylvia moved into Willow Court, one of our Extra Care schemes in Calderdale. While they were said to leave their cottage behind, Sylvia says that the supported housing scheme has changed their lives.

“Since moving into Willow Court we have absolutely flourished. We have been able to join the social committee and we take part in most of the activities going on at the scheme; knit and natter, signing out loud, curling, bingo and OOMPH.

“We have been so very lucky. Had it not been for the floods, we would never have been offered a property at Willow Court, with us being as independent as we both are. Without this opportunity from Together Housing, we would have been forced to move into temporary accommodation until our cottage was fit to move back into – which took just over 12 months to refurbish. That would have been no life for two 94 year olds.

“Robert has just gone through treatment for bladder cancer and we couldn’t have done it without the support we received from staff at Willow Court. Bob has now got the all clear!

After their fantastic experience at Willow Court, the couple are excited to celebrate Starts at Home day with their new neighbours and are urging the government to continue to protect the vital services that turned their lives around.

“Supported housing means the world to us – it has opened brand new avenues for us both, we can still socialise without even having to leave the scheme. We have more friends now than ever before.

“It’s given us a new lease of life!”

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