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"I've still got my own independence here."

Orbit, the 39,000-home housing association, is joining housing providers across the UK in a national campaign to ensure every person who needs extra support, has a home that meets their needs.

The Starts at Home campaign celebrates supported housing and tells the stories of people who have gained independence or rebuilt their confidence through these vital services providing them with a safe and secure home.

Kate Farley, interim Director of Independent Living at Orbit, said: “Supported and sheltered housing enables people to develop and retain their confidence to live independently, and we wholeheartedly support this campaign to celebrate the impact it has on individuals and communities.”

A couple, aged 34 and 23, moved into a sheltered home in Wellingborough when they decided to get married in October 2014, having already lived in a similar, smaller home beforehand.

Both having different degrees of cerebral palsy, they needed a home that could be easily accessible for a wheelchair user and adaptable to changing degrees of mobility. Their home was adapted specifically to support those with mobility issues, including an adjustable kitchen worktop and wet room.

Our customer said: “I don’t think I could live comfortably in a home that wasn’t adapted in some way. This has work surfaces which you can lower and a wet room with hand rails instead of a traditional bathroom, which means we don’t have to worry about falling. Everything was already in place when we moved in and the only thing we’ve had changed is that we had an electric door installed, which is perfect for my wife’s wheelchair, and Orbit helped us with that process every step of the way.”

“Our housing officer is extremely supportive and she often even stops by to make sure we’re happy, which is a lovely touch. While it depends on your personal situation, I would recommend looking into adapted homes if you feel it could help you. I’ve still got my own independence here and as long as you can maintain that it’s a very beneficial housing option.”   

“If we’ve ever had a problem or needed support, Orbit has dealt with it. As basic as that may sound, it’s important to have a landlord who step in and get the basics right."

Lord Best OBE DL, Crossbench Peer, said: “Starts at Home is an important initiative: it reminds us all that a decent home is the first essential for people who need society’s support to live independent and fulfilling lives. And to make this a reality, Government now has the opportunity to place the funding of supported housing on a sound and stable footing.”

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