A local family is benefitting as part of a £2.17 million investment by the Housing Executive over the past year.
Since April of last year the North East Grants office has approved 282 Home Improvements Grants. In the same period 252 schemes have been completed.
In the last year, the North East Grants office has approved 220 Disabled Facilities Grants and in the same period completed 206 adaptations were completed, the office also approved 5 Renovation Grants, 10 Home Repair Assistance Grants, 1 Replacement Grant and 46 Repair Grants.
Antrim mum Tracy Donnelly has described the disabled facilities grant as a ‘godsend’ allowing her to adapt her home with a new bedroom, wetroom and disabled access for her 17-year-old terminally ill son, Caolan.
Caolan is one of only 500 young people in the world, and the only child in Northern Ireland, to have Niemann Pick, type C, a progressive neurological disease, for which there is currently no cure.
He was born with the disease but was not diagnosed until he was 13 years old.
Symptoms include poor spatial awareness, poor motor skills and balance. Caolan is unable to look up and down or from side to side and has dystonia and dementia.
Tracy, a social worker, said: “Caolan requires 24 hour care and cannot be left unsupervised. He has chronic fatigue so he’s unable to do many of the things he used to.
“The space and privacy that Caolan now has is fantastic. I cannot put into words how much of a difference that the grant has made to all of our lives, especially to Caolan’s. It’s a total godsend. He loves his new bedroom and his wetroom.
“The space is fantastic, it’s safer and it doesn’t look like a clinical hospital room. It’s a teenage boy’s bedroom and bathroom.
“The impact on our family life has been enormous. I couldn’t recommend the grants scheme highly enough.”
These grants have helped owner-occupiers, landlords and private tenants carry out adaptations, renovations and repairs to their properties in the North East Area.
Ron Mitchell, Grants Manager for North East, said: “Disabled Facilities Grants, up to a maximum of £25,000, are paid to make the home of a person with a disability more suitable to their needs and improve the quality of their life.”
For further information and advice contact the Housing Executive Grants office where a member of staff will be pleased to advise Tel 03448 920900 or visit www.nihe.gov.uk