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Aspire Housing A temporary adapted house whilst you find a permanent home


Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Incurring a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be life changing, but you can still lead a full and rewarding life. Aspire provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Since 1982 we have worked with thousands of people throughout the UK and Ireland, providing practical support to take them from injury to independence. We provide a number of services for people and families affected by spinal cord injury. This brochure explains how you can benefit from the Aspire Housing Programme.


About Aspire Every eight hours in the UK, someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Aspire is a national charity that works with people who have been paralysed, providing practical support and advice to help them regain their independence.

Aspire is here to help: Aspire Grants provides funds to assist with the purchase of much needed equipment, giving those with spinal injuries the independence most of us take for granted.

preparation of evidence for appeals. Aspire’s head office is the Aspire Leisure Centre (ALC) in Stanmore, Middlesex. The ALC is a leading innovator in accessible and inclusive fitness and sporting activities. Many of our British Paralympians and national squads train at the ALC and it was one of the training venues for the 2012 London Paralympics.

Our research at the Aspire Centre for Disability Sciences has led to We provide a number of specially adapted groundbreaking work on relief of Houses, which serve as accommodation pressure sores, fertility services and the development of technologies which can for patients newly discharged from greatly assist independent living. hospital while permanent, accessible accommodation is being arranged. We Through our Campaigning we have also have a Housing Case Manager who developed strong links with Westminster, provides a dedicated telephone support Whitehall and the media on a range of service that can help you tackle a wide important issues including wheelchair range of housing issues. provision and accessible housing. We continue to act as advocates for positive Aspire’s Independent Living Advisors change and improvement in these and give practical support to people by other areas. sharing advice on how to live a more independent life. We work with patients Aspire receives no statutory funding and in Spinal Injury Centres around the we couldn’t provide practical help to country, providing accurate information people with Spinal Cord Injury without and signposting them and their families the enormous generosity of our friends to the best services for their needs. and supporters. We run a number of Aspire also provides Assistive Technology exciting fundraising activities throughout the year so there are many opportunities facilities at Spinal Injury Centres, which help people to use computers, tablets and for friends and families to get involved. smartphones, regardless of their level of Please see the other brochures in this injury. series for further information about Our free Welfare Benefits Advice Service our services: Aspire Grants, Aspire Independent Living and Aspire Assistive provides advice and support, help with Technology. completing forms and applications, and

“Aspire provides fully adapted houses around the country.”


About Aspire Housing Often there is not enough time for your home to be adapted and ready for you before you have completed your rehabilitation and are discharged from hospital. In many cases your home will not be adaptable at all and you will need time to find a new home, which is or could be adapted for you and your family. Sadly, for some people, the only answer to this problem has been to stay in a care home, a hotel or a property that is totally unsuitable for their needs. We see this as a serious barrier to leading an independent life, and it can also separate you from your family and friends.

“Living in an Aspire house gives you the freedom to get on with your life.”

surfaces and sinks. They also come fully furnished, from sofas to cutlery, so that you can move in straight away. Although we don’t have properties in every town, we aim to get you closer to your own home and back to living independently with the support of family and friends. Whilst we try to make sure that every Aspire house is perfectly suited for those who live there, we never lose sight of the fact that getting back to your own home will be your main goal. We use our expertise to guide you through your housing options, working closely with hospital case managers and local authorities to get permanent, suitable accommodation as quickly as possible.

Often, you might not need or want to make use of the Aspire Houses, but still be in need of specialist housing advice Aspire aims to help overcome this problem or guidance. Our Housing Case Manager by providing fully adapted houses in key provides a dedicated telephone support locations around the country, and making service that can help you tackle a wide them available for short-term use while range of housing issues; Disabled Facilities your housing needs are being met. Living Grants applications, Local Authority in an Aspire house gives you the freedom priority assessments, confusion around to get on with your life. adaptations and the use of inappropriate All of our houses have a minimum of two temporary accommodation are just some bedrooms so that your carer or family of the areas we can help you with. members can live with you. If you have a housing issue and would like Our houses are fully accessible and come to make use of our free support service, complete with wet-rooms and accessible contact us on 020 8420 6714 or email kitchens with height adjustable work housing@aspire.org.uk.


Abdel’s Story I was living and working in Edinburgh. The council were brilliant and helped me in adapting my home to suit my needs following my injury. However, later down the line I found out that I would have to relocate my entire family to Bristol due to my new job.

property is so simple and easy. The bedroom is brilliant. The adjustable bed and special mattress mean I can minimise the chance of pressure sores and look after my skin, which is so important to someone with a spinal cord injury – it’s a lifesaver to be honest.

I heard about the Aspire Housing Programme from my Occupational Therapist at the Glasgow Spinal Injury Centre. They put me in touch with Aspire’s Housing Manager who told me about a vacant property near where I’d be working.

I’m in the process of buying my own home, which has not been without its challenges. I’ve really struggled in getting advice around the adaptations process. Not only has Aspire provided a home for me and my family whilst we find permanent accommodation, but they have also been my sole source of information around buying an Having an accessible bathroom was on the top of my list, accessible property. I will definitely be adopting a lot of followed by an accessible kitchen so I can do everything the same features that are in the Aspire house once a with ease; cook or clean. Everything is on one level so suitable property is found; it’s been an eye opener. there is no need for ramps and gaining access to the

Tony’s Story Before my injury I owned a lovely apartment with my partner and we had a very comfortable and sociable life. I began to experience constant pain in my back and leg and was prescribed painkillers but these didn’t help. One day my friends called to visit and found me on the floor, unable to get up. They took me to A&E where I was diagnosed with an infection on the spine, an abscess at the bottom of my spinal cord. When I was told I had a spinal cord injury I was in shock. I was so frightened about how my life would change. My flat was on the fifth floor of an apartment block with no lift, so it would be completely inaccessible. I was in a Neurological Unit for over four months and I had no idea about what support was available to me. At this point my partner and I split up. I was so confused and didn’t know where to turn. I had my laptop and decided to do some research. I quickly came across the Aspire website and got in touch. They were so amazing,

understanding everything I’d been worried about and gave me the advice that I needed to start the ball rolling. I felt reassured that someone would be there to help me and I wouldn’t have to do it alone. I had to sell my property but wouldn’t be able to buy another. Aspire’s Housing Case Manager helped me to get onto the housing register in my local borough and as soon as my property was sold they were on hand to ensure the council found me somewhere suitable to live. I now have my own lovely flat that I can access unassisted and the independence this has given me is incredible. I feel as though a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Even simple things, like not having to rely on anyone else to get to appointments or do my shopping, have made such a massive difference, not just physically but mentally as well. It has given me confidence to put myself out there. I’ve joined a gym and am doing a sign language course. I am able to see things more clearly now and I am looking forward to the future.


FAQs How do I contact you? • Speak to the hospital staff or talk with one of our Independent Living Advisors • Phone or email our Housing Manager directly who will be able to give you more information on 020 8420 8950 or housing@aspire.org.uk

entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, if you have no income or are on a low income. Housing Benefit and Universal Credit will apply whether you rent privately or through a council or housing association, however both have upper limit caps as to how much they will pay.

Can my family stay with me? Your personal and financial circumstances Yes. The tenancy will be in your name but a will be assessed and you should get advice family member/carer can stay with you. before assuming you will be able to claim. You may also be able to claim Council How long can I stay? Tax Benefit at the same time. If you get We like people to stay with us for as short a Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or time as possible so that others can benefit, Universal Credit but are having difficulty and so that you can move into your own paying the rest of the rent yourself, you home. We will start by offering you a sixmay be able to get a Discretionary Housing month stay on a Short Hold Tenancy, though Payment. You will have to complete extra we may be able to extend that by mutual forms to apply for this which you can get agreement for a further three months from the council or your Benefit Advisor. at a later date if you are still waiting for adaptations to be made to your own home. If I live in an Aspire house will I lose my place on the Housing Register? What about other housing problems? No, this should not happen. We will discuss Your allocated member of staff at the your case with the Local Authority Housing Spinal Injury Centre should be able to help team and assure them that this is a temporary you with most questions, but if you need housing placement while they continue the additional support once you leave hospital, search for your new home. Given that you contact our Housing Case Manager on 020 will be offered a six-month tenancy, they will 8420 6714 or housing@aspire.org.uk. be aware of the time constraints. What happens if you do not have a house What if my home needs adaptations? available when I need it? The Occupational Therapists will go to see Your hospital discharge team should be your your home and work out whether it can be first port of call to answer your questions appropriately adapted. If it can be, you may and help with finding you a suitable place be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant to live. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee (DFG) from your local authority to help that we’ll always have an Aspire house when fund the adaptations. and where you need it. However, even when we don’t have a vacancy, we may still be able Please be aware that this can be a time to help with your housing concerns. Contact consuming process and you will need to get the Housing Manager or your Aspire advice, and possibly permission, from your Independent Living Advisor and we’ll do our local authority before planning any works. best to give you the support you need. If you rent, your landlord may agree to you How can I afford the rent? adapting their property and you can still Depending on where you live you may be qualify for a DFG. However, you may be

responsible for returning the property to its original state when you leave so do discuss your options fully with your landlord first. Usually you will only be able to qualify for one DFG grant every five years so be realistic about your long-term plans before making any decisions. Our Housing Case Manager will be happy to talk to you about your options and help you get the advice you need. How else can Aspire help me? The full range of Aspire Services are there to provide help and support when you need them; the other brochures in this series give further information about what is available: Aspire Grants, Assistive Technology, Independent Living, Aspire Guide to Legal Services and Welfare Benefits Support. Additionally, Aspire has partnered with Back Up, another charity with a range of great services that are available to spinally injured people. Aspire can make a referral on your behalf to Back Up, or you can see everything they have to offer at www.backuptrust.org.uk. How can Back Up help me? Back Up understand that a spinal cord injury can be devastating, but they believe it shouldn’t prevent anyone getting the most out of life. Their services include mentoring, wheelchair skills training and activity courses as well as support in getting back to work or school after an injury. All their services help to build confidence and independence and provide a supportive network of people who understand. They can help you get your life back and achieve your goals – whether these are about family, work, lifestyle, social life, travel, or simply to feel positive about the future.


How to contact us? Service Aspire Housing Aspire Grants Aspire Independent Living Aspire Assistive Technology Aspire Welfare Benefits Advice

Telephone 020 8420 8950 020 8420 6707 020 8420 6735 020 8420 6732 020 8420 6711

Email housing@aspire.org.uk grants@aspire.org.uk advice@aspire.org.uk technology@aspire.org.uk welfarebenefits@aspire.org.uk

Support Aspire If you would like to make a donation to support the work of Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/donate. If you would like to fundraise on behalf of Aspire please call 020 8420 8951 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/fundraising. We welcome support from companies. To find out how your company can fundraise for Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit www.aspire.org.uk/corporate-support.


Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800by 030 20 40 Sponsored Email: help@aspirelaw.co.uk www.aspirelaw.co.uk

Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800 030 20 40 Email: help@aspirelaw.co.uk www.aspirelaw.co.uk

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Wood Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4AP Tel: 020 8954 5759 Email: info@aspire.org.uk

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH.

www.aspire.org.uk

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Association for Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Registered Charity Number 1075317. Scottish Registered Charity Number SC037482. Registered Company Number 3744357.

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