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Communal lounges modernised for those with support needs

The communal lounges of seven Independent Living schemes have been given a modern and colourful refresh whilst promoting independence.

After consultation with customers of the schemes, the lounges were fitted with new carpets, furniture and artwork.

We worked with New ID and Seatable to refurbish Wellingborough schemes; Charles Robinson Court, Hollowell Court, Knights Court and Perkins Court, as well as Barringers Court in Irchester, Walkers Way in Finedon and Elizabeth and Victoria Close in Earls Barton.

Careful consideration was given to ensure the lounges were accessible and fit-for-purpose. The chairs had higher arms to aid support and were also made of waterproof and hard-wearing fabrics that are also anti-bacterial to stop the spread of viruses and bacteria. This reassured many customers who were still nervous about mixing in communal areas post-COVID.

In each scheme, dining chairs are available either with or without arm rests which were designed for wheelchair users in particular to enable them to easily move between the two without arm rests getting in the way.

The edges of the tables were also sealed to make them more hard-wearing in case of any bumps with wheelchairs or walking aids.

During the project, we worked closely with the Salvation Army Trading Company Limited [SATCoL] to ensure the majority of the old furniture from the schemes were either recycled or reused. Some other pieces of good quality furniture were donated to our customers who were in particular need of some items for their homes.

Valerie* lives at Knights Court in Wellingborough and said: “It’s lovely. It reminds me of a boutique hotel”.

John Ross, head of housing and neighbourhoods at Greatwell Homes, said: “It has been great to hear some of the really positive feedback from our customers.

“Along with New ID, we worked hard to understand what our customers wanted from these refurbishments and amended the designs accordingly to suit their tastes, as well as their needs.

“This project has been ongoing for almost two years and was a real team effort within Greatwell Homes, as well as support from New ID, Seatable and Salvation Army and we’re really proud of what we have achieved and the reaction from our customers.”

The lounge at Charles Robinson Court in Wellingborough was the first to be refurbished in February 2023 as part of a trial period.

Plans are in place to further improve other communal areas in the schemes.

*The name has been changed.