Thursday, 19 December 2019

Finding An Accessible Home | AD

AD - This post is sponsored by Branch Properties, all opinions are my own.

Ever since I hit my twenties there's been a few things on my mind that I think are common for someone of my age; learning to drive, moving out and gaining independence. However, when you're disabled there is an added dimension to these things that can make something already difficult, incredibly daunting and challenging. Learning to drive is next on my list of tasks to tackle and after that comes moving out, a big mountain to climb. Finding an accessible home and working out what adaptations I need all within a budget is going to be no easy feat. So, it's reassuring to know that there are services and people out there whose aim it is to make these processes easier. One of those services is Branch Properties and when they got in touch, I just knew I had to talk about them as up until their email, I had no idea such a service existed!


Moving home can be stressful enough on its own but when you suddenly find that disability comes into the equation, things can become even more challenging. Or, if you're like me and you're looking to move out of your family home but with little idea of what kind of property or adaptations you'd need. It's something I'd given little thought to until recently, whilst I know my body better than anyone I don't have as much knowledge as I'd like on what adaptations are available to make life a little easier and more independent, especially with technology changing and improving everyday. This is where Branch Properties come in! Branch was set up by Sallie Stone-Bearne after she struggled to help her father, who has MS (Multiple Sclerosis), find somewhere to live. She found that they would turn up to supposedly accessible properties to find that they couldn't even get through the front door.

So, in 2014 she set up Branch to help solve this problem! They take all the hassle out of finding your perfect home that fits your needs. You can work with them to set out your budget and requirements, like what size home you'd need and the area you'd like to live in. They can then hand select and visit potential properties, relaying back their suitability before you've even set foot inside, meaning that they'll be no wasted journeys to a house that is unsuitable. They work with landlords with ground floor properties to make them accessible, starting with the front door and then the bathroom. So, not only are they helping disabled people to find a home, but they are also increasing the amount of accessible properties out there, something that is so needed as in England only 7% of homes have minimal accessibility features.


Once you've found your perfect home they can help out with project management to adapt the building to your needs. Some things I would consider as a wheelchair user, for example, are adaptations like step free access, widened doors and an accessible bathroom/wet room. Disabled Facilities Grants can help out with the cost of such adaptations too. Simply thinking about moving out right now is stressful so I can only imagine how those stress levels could rise once things are in motion, so it's so reassuring to know that there are people out there who can make the process easier. A quick read of the testimonials on the website shows just how much easier Branch makes things!

'Eventually someone that understands the needs of a wheelchair user when looking for a rented property in London! Too many times, commission hungry estate agents fail to understand the simplest of briefs and show unsuitable properties. Branch Properties fully 'get' what you're looking for. Highly recommended! Thank you - Andrew Sutherland' 

You can learn more about Branch Properties and how they can help on their website, as well as keeping up to date with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also contact them via phone: 020 3475 4022.

I would love to hear about any advice you might have for a disabled person who is moving home or adapting their property!
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