Real stories of Progress

James lives in Leeds

Nick Howe is a Service Leader for Community Integrated Care and provides support to James and the other tenants (Vinnie, Craig and Carol) in a Reside property in Leeds (Reside will become Reside with Progress on 1 April). He recently wrote to our contractors Bell Group with very positive feedback about a kitchen renovation that they carried out on our behalf.

He wrote: “We have had a new kitchen fitted which as you can imagine has given the people we support a massive boost in spirit. Throughout the process we were supported by many different people who all went above and beyond in terms of co-ordination and execution. I’d like to give special thanks to the two workmen from Bell Group who installed the kitchen units. These two heroes can have a job here anytime. Their level of professionalism when dealing with the people we support, and their respect and patience, is second to none. It really makes my heart sing knowing that there are people like these two out in our communities operating frontline, willing and able to go that extra mile when dealing with people who have learning disabilities.”

We followed up and spoke to Nick about the tenants who all use wheelchairs and have varying support needs. The kitchen renovation has included a lower level breakfast bar, so that it’s easily accessible for them. “They can now access the kitchen and are keen to do activities like baking or cooking prep. Before the renovation we had to do things like this at the dining room table which isn’t ideal,” says Nick.

In preparation for the new kitchen installation, everything was transferred to the adjacent sensory room including the fridge, which made life a little easier during the work. The new kitchen appliances are fully integrated and an electric hob bas been installed which is safer than a gas hob.

The new modern kitchen has had quite an impact on the tenants and the support staff. “It’s changed the whole dynamic of the house – it feels like a ‘Grand Design’ makeover!” says Nick. “All of the tenants are in their senior years, and have had long spells living in institutions, so they deserve the home we’re making for them here.”

Now that restrictions are lifting, the tenants are able to enjoy days out again to the coast and trips to the cinemas and the bowling alley, supported by the CIC staff. “We’re all off to see the Blackpool Illuminations next week,” says Nick. “Lockdown was hard for us being inside. Having an old kitchen that the tenants couldn’t access didn’t help. It’s great that they can now use the space safely.”