Mary visits Wakefield North resident Brenda Hepworth
Wakefield North resident Brenda Hepworth invited local MP Mary Creagh to her specially adapted home on 9th December to talk about the housing needs of wheelchair users in the district.
Brenda has been provided with temporary supported housing in the Ingsbeck area by Aspire, a national charity that works with people with spinal cord injuries. The property off the Ings Road is one of 23 Aspire properties in the UK, including 3 in Wakefield, but with a 300,000 shortfall in wheelchair accessible homes in the country, many disabled people across the country are struggling to live an independent life.
Brenda sustained a spinal cord injury after an operation, meaning that she would be a wheelchair user. Her own home is not wheelchair accessible, and needed to be adapted. This meant that she had nowhere to go when she was ready to be discharged from hospital apart from a care home which was the only option made available to her. Through its Housing programme, Aspire is providing a temporary home for Brenda while work is being carried out on her own home to make it wheelchair accessible.
Wakefield resident Brenda Hepworth said:
“Living in an Aspire property has really given me my independence back. I was in a care home for a week and had everything done for me there. Here I do things myself. I make my own meals, have my friends around, it’s fantastic. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without this. I’m pleased Mary was able to take the time to visit to see how my life has changed.”
Mary Creagh MP said “I want to thank Brenda for inviting me to her home. She showed me how much easier it is to live independently in an adapted home, rather than a residential care home. I know that Aspire share my view that disabled people should have the choice to live independently after an injury. I hope it will not be too long before she can get back into her own home, but in the meantime a huge “thank you” to everyone at Aspire for the work that they do in supporting wheelchair users to live independently.”
Aspire’s Policy and Research Officer Krupesh Hirani said “Every eight hours, someone in the UK is paralysed by spinal cord injury. Many patients are unable to be discharged from hospital, despite having completed their rehabilitation, because their own homes are inappropriate for wheelchairs and there is a lack of alternative accommodation. They face months of uncertainty and stress while they search for somewhere to live or arrange to have adaptations made to their house. We have twenty-three properties around the country and three of these are in Wakefield. We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to highlight the housing issues that wheelchair users face to Mary Creagh MP and explain more about the work of the charity.”