Some Islanders with disabilities are ‘overlooked’, says charity

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ISLANDERS who could benefit from early-stage support to help them live independently are being ‘overlooked’ until they need a greater level of care, according to a disability charity.

Enable Jersey chief executive Sean Pontin said the Island appeared to have adopted a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ and a ‘high threshold’ for access to appropriate housing, benefits and social care.

He made the comments after wheelchair user Jenni Halsey said she was struggling to live in her new apartment, to where she was moved after her previous accommodation at Willows Court – a site purpose-built for Islanders with disabilities and acquired by affordable-housing provider Andium Homes in 2017 – was knocked down as part of a wider redevelopment of the area.

The 77-year-old claimed her new apartment at Clos Couriard in St Helier was ‘unsuitable’ for her needs – with issues including a raised patio doorway and difficulty navigating the bathroom, as it was too small.

An Andium Homes spokesperson confirmed the company was working to identify ‘a more suitable property’.

Mr Pontin said: ‘We seem to have reached a sad point where a one-size-fits-all approach and high threshold for accessing appropriate housing, benefits or social-care support means that people who could benefit from early support to enable them to continue to live independently are overlooked until such time as they need care and support at a much higher level.’

He added: ‘We are currently supporting a number of people in navigating systems and helping them to access the right support, facilities and housing because they don’t “fit” in the Island’s system ,which says “No” instead of saying “How can we help?” ’

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