We are delighted to start the new year with a celebration of the latest completed project from Sullivan’s Heroes, for 3-year-old Jude.
The project to create ‘Home adaptations for Jude’ saw Jude and his family needing to raise £50,000 above the Disabled Facilities Grant awarded for the works – to extend the family house to create a downstairs bedroom and bathroom to enable Jude to be properly cared for at home.
Jude’s Mum gives us some background into the requirements for the adaptations to their home:
“As Jude grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to carry him up and down the stairs and to lift him in and out of the bath. He cannot support his body weight in any way and is entirely dependent on others for all his moving and handling. Constantly having to lift and carry him was causing back problems for myself and was dangerous for his professional carers.”
The lack of suitable spaces in the existing home caused numerous problems for Jude and his family, as his Mum describes further:
“All of his personal cares including catheterisation and bowel wash outs were done on his bed, which was unhygienic and left Jude with little dignity. It was very difficult to bathe him properly in a traditional bath.”
“In addition, the cramped living space and kitchen were not conducive to Jude (and all of his equipment) being part of family life and he had no access to our outside space whilst in his wheelchair.”
With the help of family, friends and colleagues all joining their fundraising forces together – some even taking on the arduous ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ to boot (and in boots!) – plus donations from external organisations through Sullivan’s Heroes, the significant target was met within just a few months for the works to commence.
Jude’s Mum enlightens us on the support Sullivan’s Heroes brought throughout the fundraising journey:
“Sullivan's Heroes has been an invaluable source of knowledge, support and ideas during our adaptations process. We were able to access charity fundraising that we didn't know existed. It was also helpful to see the stories of other families who have been through the process before us.”
“Sullivan's Heroes helped us to apply to other charities to access funding for our adaptations. They also generously donated to our fund and assisted us in setting up a JustGiving page.”
Jude’s Mum continues with some insight into their situation, and how the charity supported them, along with other families in similar circumstances:
“Having a disabled child can be incredibly stressful and difficult. You have to fight for everything your child needs. Sullivan's Heroes holds your hand whilst you are fighting for the adaptations your child needs to make your house a home for your unexpectedly challenging family life. Having someone to help guide you through the difficult process is wonderful.”
The project plans for Jude’s adaptations involved converting the integral garage into a bedroom for Jude and re-locating the old kitchen to accommodate a wet room with H-frame tracking hoist. A full extension to the rear of the family home has created an open plan kitchen, dining and living area with access to a raised platform on which Jude can enjoy some of the outside space.
Jude’s family advises us of the differences now that the adaptations have been put in place:
“Jude's personal care can now be done in a hygienic and safe environment in his new wet room with specialist paediatric shower trolley. The hoists in his bedroom and wetroom mean that Jude can be lifted and handled safely and comfortably by all those who care for him.”
“His downstairs bedroom means we no longer need to carry him up and down the stairs which is safer for everyone. He has ample room to store all of his supplies and equipment in a bedroom that is made for Jude.”
“Our open plan living/dining/kitchen mean that our family can comfortably be together. The new wooden flooring is so much more appropriate to Jude's specialist chair. He can be moved around easily and can share all aspects of family life.”
It’s not only internally where the adaptations are life-changing – the outside spaces have also been altered to meet Jude’s requirements, as his Mum elaborates:
“The level access balcony to the garden will allow Jude to experience the outside space in warmer months. He loves to feel the breeze on his face and we are looking forward to seeing him smile in the sunshine.”
The need to accommodate Jude's access requirements to the front of the property has also been addressed by widening the existing driveway, as Jude’s Mum tells us:
“Our driveway was also extended in order to accommodate our bigger car which we need for Jude. We are now able to safely open the doors wide enough to allow us to get Jude and all his equipment into the car without falling down the edge of the driveway and traipsing mud all over. This will be even more helpful for us all when we acquire an even bigger Motability vehicle in a few months now that Jude has turned three.”
We’re thrilled at Sullivan’s Heroes to hear of the benefits the adapted spaces are bringing to Jude and his family – and sign-off with these touching words from his Mum, about the charity and the project undertaken:
“We are very grateful for all the help and support you have provided to us. We really could not have found the strength and courage to pursue the adaptations project without your encouragement.”
“The adaptations have made such a huge difference to our family life and for Jude. He can be cared for so much more easily in a wonderful, light and modern environment. Our whole family has felt a lift in our mental health since moving back into our adapted home. We finally feel that Jude fits in our house now that we have something that was made for him. He belongs in the new rooms and spaces. It has massively helped us accept our path together with Jude.”