The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) has worked in partnership withMersten, property developers, andBEST Housing Associationto create excellent accommodation in the North West for a small group of adults with acquired brain injury to help increase their independence.

BIRT briefed Mersten to find a suitable property near Blackpool that wouldprovide service users with single, ground floor accommodation that had wet rooms, outdoor space and was close to the community. They received the accommodation needs for each person and, once the property had been found, adapted it for each individual, working in tandem with BIRT and the individuals themselves and /or their families. Mersten have a strategic partnership with The Disabilities Trust and have similar values of giving people choice and independence. The partnership approach meant Mersten worked with the registered social landlord to adapt the property, leaving BIRT to concentrate on the care and support where we are experts.

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To ensure service users were on a tenancy agreement, a partnership including BEST Housing Association was ideal. BIRT were able to meet local need in the right environment, supported living, for the service users. BEST Housing Association helped service users and their families with housing related paper work and applications and the BIRT central support team helped with the funding and contracts leaving local BIRT staff to concentrate on the care. BIRT now delivers 24-hour support (with sleep ins), and 1:1 support as appropriate in the supported living accommodation named Speyside.

By moving to a supported living solution, service users are able to access more state benefits, and this results in them having more choice and disposable income to enjoy hobbies and activities in the community.

There was an excellent transition to the new house for service users. A BIRT team member met one service user who had been kept in hospital due to a lack of suitable accommodation for him to move into. He was in hospital for a total of 14 months living away from his family. His condition has improved tremendously in supported living and he now does his own cooking and washing and is back in contact with his son.

Two of the people moving to Speyside were wheelchair users so having an adapted environment has meant they are much more independent. One tenant said “The bungalow itself is lovely, I can’t fault anything at all, it’s perfect.

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BIRT staff encourage people in the house to take their meals together and friendships have formed. BIRT has grown its supported living schemes over the last few years which has created a community of like-minded people and services users now know people in other houses and have a great network of friends.

A BIRT staff member said “It’s one the best facilities we manage in the area. It’s an adapted accommodation in a community setting allowing people to live a life that they want to live. BIRT helps people who suffer brain damage move back into a community setting and live as normal a life as possible.

Ceri Wood, Mersten Marketing Manager, said “Mersten are delighted with the outcome of Speyside. We complete these projects to make sure people have decent properties in areas they want to live, closer to family and friends.

Please email business.development@thedtgroup.org or call Hayley Briddon on 01924 908298 for more information.