The daunting target of £40,000 required to be raised for William’s own bedroom and wetroom didn’t deter the 6-year-old and his family. Far from it in fact … and ‘Team William’ successfully met their target and have now created an amazing accessible space for William.
Since William had been discharged from hospital, his family had adapted to home life with William as best as possible, which involved dedicating the living room of their two-bedroom bungalow to William and his equipment. This meant that the only place they could relax together as a family was in William’s bedroom, resulting in William rarely leaving this room when at home.
Although extremely grateful to have the family all under the same roof, William’s parents were concerned of the difficulties and implications this meant for the future as William continued to grow and get heavier, as they explain:
“Moving William around the house and showering him posed difficulties. His equipment could not get around the bungalow because the hallway was very tight. His wheelchair lived in the conservatory and everything else stayed in his room. William was still small though so we could carry him around, but we knew we could not do it indefinitely and that was a worry.”
With a full Disabled Facilities Grant awarded of £30,000 for the project, plans were finalised to build an extension on the family home with a dedicated bedroom for William with a ceiling mounted hoist. His bedroom would adjoin the main living area so that he can be wheeled out of his room and be included in all aspects of family life. The project included for a wheelchair accessible wetroom which could be used to bathe William using a specialist bathing seat.
In addition to the above works, the proposed project would allow for access ramps to the front and back of the house, as well as wheelchair friendly access into and all around the rooms William needs to use.
With costs of the build quoted at over double the council grant awarded, the family set about fundraising for the £40,000 shortfall, with the support of Sullivan’s Heroes, as William’s parents indicate:
“The advice and support we received along the way from Fiona and the Sullivan’s Heroes team cannot go unmentioned. It was extremely valuable to have the insight of a team who have seen many completed projects.”
To raise the funds a multitude of events and activities were undertaken by William’s family, together with friends and colleagues. Support was received from local businesses and the community; along with nationwide companies’ donating and Match Funding of employee’s fundraising activities. Additional charities and organisations also provided funding towards the target required, allowing the project to be successfully completed.
William’s parents detail how Sullivan’s Heroes helped along the fundraising route:
“In addition to the initial grant they gave, Sullivan’s Heroes gave us the tools to raise the shortfall in our funding. Without them and the use of their registered charity number, the corporate donations we received would not have been possible for the donating companies to process in their accounts – this made up a significant portion of our final figure. Also, we received the benefit of the exposure created by their various events and marketing efforts. I am in no doubt that without their help we would not have reached our target.”
Now that the works have been put in place – enabling William’s parents to celebrate his continued development without worrying about how to look after him as he grows – William’s parents detail how those previous difficulties have been overcome:
“Being able to freely wheel his equipment around the house, with level access ramps so we can easily wheel him in and out. The wet room and shower chair make life much easier and the hoist means that we can continue to manage as he grows up. The house is now fit for purpose and future proof.”
William’s parents continue, explaining just some of the life-changing differences that have been brought about:
“To discharge William from hospital, we gave up the living room of our bungalow to accommodate him and his equipment because this was the only room big enough. The adaptations mean that in addition to the benefits described above, we now have a living room again, which is great for us as a family. All four of us can now easily spend time together instead of being scattered around the house, living in bedrooms.”
The fundraising journey can seem an intimidating process initially, which William’s parents give an insight into:
“On a personal note, Sullivan’s Heroes helped me believe that raising this shortfall was even possible. At the very beginning I was pessimistic about it all and seeing what other families had achieved in almost identical circumstances did help a lot. Once we started climbing the mountain you feel like you owe it to everybody who has donated or otherwise supported the cause so far – to see it through and reach target. This makes the initial push to get going worth a great deal in hindsight.
We’re delighted at Sullivan’s Heroes with the success of the project to future-proof William’s home and congratulate everyone involved in its completion. Time then to conclude with some much appreciated final words from William’s family:
“The story of how the charity was founded is, to me, an inspiring example of compassion and selflessness. I am extremely grateful to Sullivan’s Heroes for adding my family to the list of those they have helped. Thank you!”