A photo overlooking Hastings, with the sea in the background. Overlaid text reads “A bigger, bolder system for Disabled Facilities Grants in Hastings”.

Hastings Council Leader’s Observer column – 9 June 2023

More help for our disabled residents

At the Cabinet meeting this week, we agreed a new policy that will improve the system for getting a grant for Disabled Facilities.

Essentially this means that wherever you live, whether you rent or own your home, there is help for you if you need it. We want residents of Hastings to be able to stay in their homes for longer, even when age or disability means it is harder to get up and down stairs, or into the garden, or use the bath.

When we discussed the details, I said this is a really emotional topic, as we all know someone who needs this extra help, maybe our parents, or a friend. And by showing how much we all care about this, we can improve the system that many have struggled to access over the years.

I spoke for example about how long things can take. If you are unable to use your upstairs bedroom, or your bathroom, you need quick action, obviously. But one resident in Hollington told me the prospect of waiting weeks led him to use his life savings instead so his wife could have a stairlift within days.

The changes have made things more flexible to cover more circumstances, so more people can get grants, and also a quicker system to deliver these improvements.

We still need our partners in this to do more, so I spoke about the need for the NHS and the County Council to look again at how they can also speed things up.

But for now, it’s over to you. The reason for that is we need more applications. So please, please spread the word. There is £2m available this year for improvements to Hastings homes, and currently we usually only spend about three quarters of this. To make the first step, just ring Adult Social Care on 0345 6080191 (8 till 8, 7 days a week) and ask for an assessment for a Disabled Facilities Grant. They will then come and see you to understand the details of your situation, and start the process which in many cases ends up with Hastings Council organising a stairlift, or a new wet room with a walk in shower to replace the bath, or a ramp to your front or back door.

Our new system will help. But I still want to hear from anyone struggling to get help with any access issue. Please write to me if you hear of any such cases: [email protected]

Let’s make Hastings a truly accessible town for all.