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The first of many for 2023 …

We start with great news of the first of 2023’s completed projects from Sullivan’s Heroes, in the form of ‘Funding Ishani’s Forever Home’.

The project saw the family bungalow home extended to provide a bedroom, bathroom and therapy room; plus adapted to give access for 9-year-old Ishani to move about safely. The aim – to provide Ishani with her own bespoke facilities where she will be able to move about freely in her harness, with safe bathing and dignity as she gets older.

Ishani’s family tells us of the completed adaptations:

"It has changed our lives. Ishani has her own play space and a level house and outside space and more importantly room to explore the house in bad weather. She will have her own space as she gets older but still in the heart of her family. Our lives will never be normal but the family now can have a house with normal spaces – everyday we pinch ourselves that we now have the best possible home for Ishani’s development and safety.”

We’ve already seen a high number of new applicants to the charity this year – all seeking support towards their life-changing adaptation projects.

Leon’s downstairs bedroom and wet room’ requires £15,000 to be raised above the Disabled Facilities Grant and top-up funding awarded, to extend and restructure the existing family home to provide 7-year-old Leon with a downstairs wet room and bedroom with tracking and ceiling hoists; widening all internal doorways throughout his home for full wheelchair access, along with ramped access to the front and back of house.

Leon’s parents explain:

“A strong minded and determined young man, Leon was born premature at 23 weeks and 3 days, developing septicaemia at birth causing cysts on his brain. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 9 months old which affects both his arms and legs, Leon is non-verbal, he has a very cheeky personality and smile with a great sense of humour. We are currently carrying Leon to and from his bedroom and the family bathroom upstairs. Leon is getting bigger now so this is becoming harder for us to keep doing, so we have had adaptations and an extension agreed to give Leon his own downstairs space – we now just need to raise the additional funds to make this happen.”

Whilst at Clodagh’s house, ‘Building works’ involve extending the home to create a new bedroom and wetroom for Clodagh; building ramp access, widening doorways throughout the home, creating an enclosed play area and enlarging the kitchen to accommodate a wheelchair turning circle – enabling Clodagh to move around freely both indoors and outdoors. Local authority funding has been accessed, but costs of the works leave a shortfall remaining of £10,000 required to meet the project costs. 

Clodagh’s parents tell us:

“Clodagh is a full-time wheelchair user and as she has got older her needs are getting more. Clodagh has had many operations and is a very happy wee little lady. Even with all the appointments and many hospital stays, she still smiles and even within the last 6 months she has had 2 surgeries. She has many medical conditions and she requires a wet room, bedroom and an area in the kitchen, for which a grant from housing has been agreed to but unfortunately this doesn't cover the full costs. The £10,000 extra is just for the building works which are required to make this happen, so it will improve the quality and independence for her.”

Meanwhile ‘teddys big build’ requires £10,000 to be raised above the Disabled Facilities Grant funding awarded, to create a ground floor wet room and bedroom extension for Teddy, with the necessary mobility equipment to provide him with access to essential facilities where he can meet his self-care needs appropriately, whilst increasing his safety and independence. All internal doorways will be widened throughout for full wheelchair access; together with creating ramped external access to the house and garden – giving Teddy a bedroom, wet room and full access to the ground floor in his powerchair – which currently has to be stored at school until the much-needed space for it is created with these home adaptations.

Teddy’s parents tell us:

“Teddy was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – a life-limiting muscle wasting disease – when he was 5. Teddy is now 9 years old; he loves life and tries to do everything that he can. We desperately need to find funds to extend and adapt our property, giving Teddy the space and independence he needs. The extension is to contain a bedroom and wet room on the ground floor so Teddy and his family do not have the strain of getting him up the stairs to go to the bathroom and to bed. Teddy will also have the whole of the downstairs to be independent and not rely on others, for a while. Teddy is always smiling and we are going to do our best in keeping it that way!”

Other projects that are already well underway have seen generous support in the recent weeks – with ‘Olive’s accessible house’ receiving funds from Independence at Home towards pocket doors in Olive’s newly created spaces; whilst ‘Eleni’s little big build’ will now have non-slip flooring installed thanks to a donation from The Frederick & Phyllis Cann Trust.

Donations to Eleni’s project were also boosted recently as a result of a BBC News Lincolnshire article featuring the family and their fundraising activities. Eleni’s Mum Eloise explained:

“We are raising money to build an extension for a downstairs bedroom and bathroom for her, giving her own safe place to be. This is becoming more important now as she is growing. It isn’t safe to be taking her up and down stairs as she has multiple seizures and she’s getting bigger and heavier. She really needs downstairs facilities so we can stay here with our friends and family around us.”

And last, but definitely not least – Gordon Borer will once again be showing his support for Sullivan’s Heroes, donning his running shoes this time, to take on the 26.2-mile challenge of the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday 23 April 2023. Gordon says: 

“I have been fundraising continuously for many years now and nothing makes me prouder to take on this biggest challenge yet of running the Virtual London Marathon as one of Sullivan's Heroes.  Please support me by contributing what you can to this amazing charity.”

Please do get in touch if you have any fundraising events, activities and ideas you’d like to share with us; or if you would like to apply for a grant or to fundraise through Sullivan’s Heroes.

Thank you for your ongoing support, it is greatly appreciated.