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Adaptations to your home

If you are disabled and need adaptations in your home to increase your independence and safety. The route for arranging these will depend on the type of adaptation required, and the tenure of your property.

Updated May 2016

Types of Adaptation

Minor adaptations include smaller, less costly items such as grab-rails, bannister rails, and half-steps. Many items are also easily available on the high street and it is possible to search on the internet for a variety of options.

You can also use the online AskSARA equipment self-assessment tool for information about equipment and minor adaptations which may help you, and can be privately purchased.

Major adaptations include larger, more extensive structural changes to your property.

These changes could include:

  • widening doors and installing ramps
  • improving access to rooms and facilities – e.g. by installing a stairlift, level access shower facilities or ramp
  • providing a heating system suitable for your needs
  • changing heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use

If you are disabled and need to make more major changes to your home, you may be able to get a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local council to help with the costs of any adaptations required.

Funding of Adaptations for Council or Housing Association Tenants

If you live in a property which is owned by a social housing landlord (for example a local council or housing association), you should approach your landlord in the first instance who may be able to assist with the provision and funding of both minor and major adaptations.   For major adaptations, they may suggest you have an Occupational Therapy assessment initially to determine what you need.

Local Authority (Council) Tenants:

Please contact Customer First, If you live in a local authority (council owned) property and have difficulties getting around, or using the rooms and facilities within your home, and require an Occupational Therapy assessment  

Your question will be answered quicker on web chat. Click chat with us in the right hand corner of your screen.

Housing Association (Registered Provider) Tenants:

If you live in a Housing Association property and require an Occupational Therapy assessment of your housing needs, please contact Orbit East Housing Options and Advice Service (see Downloads) on:

Tel: 0800 121 7711

Consent to adaptations:

If you live in rented accommodation (including privately rented, local council or housing association) you will need to obtain permission from your landlord prior to making any alterations or fixtures.

How to access help if you are having difficulties at home

  • Contact customer first, If you live in council housing and or if you would like an assessment for simple equipment or minor adaptations, for example grab rails or banister rails please .

    Your question will be answered quicker on web chat. Click chat with us in the right hand corner of your screen.

  • If you do not live in council accommodation, or have tried simple equipment but still require help please contact Orbit East

Suffolk County Council and the District and Borough councils within Suffolk have been working with Orbit East Care and Repair to develop a new Housing Options and Advice Service.

Customers who are:

  • aged 60 and over, or
  • have a disability and own their own home, or
  • are a private or housing association tenant,

can contact Orbit East directly for an advice and information, and if required and Occupational Therapy assessment of their housing needs.

These may include difficulties with getting into and out of your home, getting around your home, and / or using the rooms or facilities within it.  Orbit can give a whole range of information and advice to help you keep as safe, warm and independent as possible within your home.  They can also help provide you with financial help for adaptations including Disabled Facilities Grants.

Orbit East have produced a leaflet if more information is needed. They can also be contacted on:

Tel: 0800 121 7711

Repairs to existing adaptations

If you have adaptations already to your property because of your disability which need repair you should contact the landlord/housing provider who arranged for the adaptation. If the adaptation was through a Disabled Facilities Grant and you own your own home check if you had a service warranty included as part of the DFG award. However in most circumstances, you may need to organise the repair yourself (please see below for other sources of help).

Advice about moving to a more suitable property

If you require further information and advice about moving to a more suitable property, please refer to the Orbit Housing Options and Advice Service.

If you are a Council or Housing Association tenant, your District / Borough Council or Housing Association will also be able to give further advice. Information is also available via Gateway to Homechoice.  

This is a choice based lettings system advising of council and housing association properties within Babergh, Braintree, Colchester, Ipswich, Maldon, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney.

Other sources of help and advice

You might find help with repairs, adaptations and maintenance to your home from Age UK Suffolk, the Royal British Legion Handy van service, CheckatradeNorfolk Trusted Trader and Which? Trusted Traders.

Information on sources of funding to help with equipment, repairs and adaptations is available from:

  • Age UK factsheet on funding repairs
  • Charity Search help to find sources of funding
  • Disabled Living Foundation 
  • some service associations such as the Royal British Legion may help with loans or grants
  • Friends of the Elderly provides one-off grants to help with the costs of household repairs, adaptations and mobility aids
  • Suffolk Disability Care Fund gives grants of up to £1000 to provide daily living equipment for people with disabilities
  • The ACT Foundation gives grants for building modifications, provision of specialised wheelchairs, mobility aids and equipment to assist independent living
  • In certain circumstances you may also be eligible to buy equipment or have adaptations made without paying VAT. Read more here.
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