‘Mum’s trapped without a ramp’

Irene Hill, with her daughter Janet Cenet
Irene Hill, with her daughter Janet Cenet
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A GREAT grandmother, who uses a motorised wheelchair, is being denied a ramp to her home, even though people on her estate have been given new driveways, whether they have cars or not.

Irene Hill, aged 81, of White’s Lane, Wybourn, Sheffield, has lived in her home for 38 years and does not want to move to a bungalow.

Janet Cenet

Janet Cenet

The pensioner is hoping for a new lease of life in her electric wheelchair after heart attacks, a stroke and arthritis limited her mobility.

But without a ramp, daughter Janet Cenet, said: “The farthest she will be able to go is out of the door and down the garden path, as there is a set of three steps at the end leading to the street which she will be unable to negotiate.”

Janet, aged 55, who works as a special needs escort, said she first asked her mum’s landlord, Great Places Housing, for a ramp more than two years ago when the company was consulting on modernisation work on the estate.

She said: “They told me the request could be considered but that outdoor work would not take place until 2010, so to discuss it then. When they came back to modernise the exteriors last year, I spoke to Great Places again and they had no recollection of their offer.

“They say my mum can’t have the ramp because she never ordered it and because an occupational therapist from the council said she would be better moving to a bungalow.

“But my mum does not want to move because she wants to retain her independence.

“Other houses have had new drives – even when they don’t have a car – but Great Places won’t install the ramp for my mum. It doesn’t seem fair – and it is depriving my mum of her quality of life.”

Guy Cresswell, director of housing for Great Places Housing Group, said: “We take directions from the recommendations of occupational therapists at local authorities when it comes to installing aids and adaptations at residents’ homes.

“This means qualified, specialist professionals work with residents to decide what will work best. When Mrs Hill asked for adaptations we called in the council and Mrs Hill was visited twice by occupational therapists. They recommended internal adaptations to the house including a level access shower, which we installed.

“They also recommended a handrail on the garden path, which we also provided.

“They did not recommend a ramp because they were concerned the angle it would need to be installed at was too steep, and that there was not enough room to manoeuvre a wheelchair in the doorway.

“We have offered to work with Mrs Hill to arrange for her to move to another house or flat that would be more suited to her needs. We will continue to work with Mrs Hill, her daughter and social services to establish the best way to solve the problem.”