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Disabled people face 'shocking' delays for aids and facilities to be installed

PUBLISHED: 10:51 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51 02 May 2019

Disabled people across the Great Yarmouth Borough are facing delays to have support equipment installed. Picture: Submitted

Disabled people across the Great Yarmouth Borough are facing delays to have support equipment installed. Picture: Submitted

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A disability support group has called on a council to speed up after it failed to meet targets around installing vital equipment into people's homes.

Wayne Chivers, 52, has had a ramp and toilet fitted in his home to make it more disabled friendly for himself. Picture: Joe NortonWayne Chivers, 52, has had a ramp and toilet fitted in his home to make it more disabled friendly for himself. Picture: Joe Norton

As a result of the missed targets, people across the Great Yarmouth borough are facing delays to have access ramps, wet rooms and stair lifts fitted into their houses.

The founder of Care for Carers has described the hold-up on the work funded by disabled facilities grants (DFG) as “shocking”.

Councils in Norfolk are expected to meet the 240-day target - set by Norfolk County Council - when installing the equipment into homes, but in the last two quarters of 2018/19, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has failed to do so.

A report on key performance indicators showed that in third quarter of 2018/19, it took the authority on average 280 days - a delay of more than a month - to complete all of the work requested in that quarter.

An example of some of the mobility equipment which is available through a disabled facility grant. Picture: Joe NortonAn example of some of the mobility equipment which is available through a disabled facility grant. Picture: Joe Norton

In the final quarter it took the council 249 days to complete the work.

Peter Rowley, 74, founder of disability support group Care for Carers, has called on Great Yarmouth Borough Council to improve the delay.

“It is not fair people are waiting longer than they should for this kind of work,” he said.

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“For a lot of people being able to remain independent and live at home is really important to them.

“To know the council is missing its targets by more than a month is shocking.”

In a statement Great Yarmouth Borough Council said its performance was well within the statutory deadline of 18 months for the completion of works.

The statement said: “At all times the council seeks to minimise the time required to complete an adaptation to ensure customers have their needs met as quickly as possible.

“The pace of completions is subject to contractor availability and, for the very largest works, to an individual tender process, although the council provides a housing improvement agency, Safe at Home, which helps people through the process much more swiftly by offering a contractor framework.”

In the papers, the council said staffing issues were a factor behind the delay.

Wayne Chivers, 52, from Great Yarmouth, struggles to walk due to back problems and relies on a wheelchair to move around.

He said it was “disgusting” and that some disabled people rely on the equipment to remain independent.

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