Disabled Barry woman's housing plea

Barry And District News: CONFINED: Gemma Rawlings says she wants to lead an independent and productive life. CONFINED: Gemma Rawlings says she wants to lead an independent and productive life.

A DISABLED former outdoor pursuits instructor from Barry says she feels ‘confined to the indoors’ and fearful over her safety, after failing to secure suitable accommodation.

28-year-old Gemma Rawlins suffers from complex regional pain syndrome - a chronic progressive disease causing pain, severe swelling and changes to the skin.

She says her privately rented flat in a communal block in Cadoxton is unsuitable for her disabilities, and wonders how she would cope in the event of a fire.

But despite being on the Homes4U Gold plus list, and supported by medics and social workers, she has not been able to find alternative accommodation.

And she says she feels trapped - and that her lack of independence is costing services more than if she were able to get out and pursue a productive life.

Gemma, of Church Road, said she would like to develop her sporting interests – having been inspired by the London 2012 Games.

"Homes4U are aware of me and they are trying their best, but I can't get out by myself and I have got carers coming in four times a day,” she said.

"They have to give me a wash, I can't use a bath, and I use a commode.

"If there was a fire I can't get out to open the door.

"My sister does as much as she can, but it's not fair on her,” she added.

"I really would like to go down to the shop myself. The last little independence I had has been taken away from me, and I just want my life back."

Vale MP Alun Cairns said the difficulty was the lack of suitable properties, and suggested planners should consider accessibility and going beyond what is required by law.

"Gemma is in an impossible position,” he said.

'"The local authority needs to understand what her needs are."

Vale AM Jane Hutt added: "I am working closely with the Vale Council to support disabled people like Gemma to access suitable housing, so that she can maintain her independence."

Vale Council operational manager (public sector housing) Mike Ingram confirmed Ms Rawlins is registered on H4U and has been listed as highest priority under the Accessible Homes Scheme.

"Unfortunately, even though there has been significant council investment in adapting our homes, spending almost £2m in the last three years, it is not always possible to assist applicants as quickly as we would like due to scarcity of adapted stock,” he said.

"We have spoken to Ms Rawlins and her representatives to explain the position and are continuing to discuss the potential provision of new purpose built accommodation with our partner social landlords to help in this regard.

"In the meantime the council will continue to explore all avenues to assist Ms Rawlins as quickly as possible."

Comments (2)

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10:06am Wed 17 Oct 12

realsteal says...

ummmm, im sure i have seen this lady out, walking with crutches mind you but still getting around fine. allways at the bus stop by the doctors on barry road..

so i think this story is hyped up a bit, and if you look at her facebook there is loads of photos of her out! might be wrong but cant stand people trying to make thinks worse than they are!!!
ummmm, im sure i have seen this lady out, walking with crutches mind you but still getting around fine. allways at the bus stop by the doctors on barry road.. so i think this story is hyped up a bit, and if you look at her facebook there is loads of photos of her out! might be wrong but cant stand people trying to make thinks worse than they are!!! realsteal

5:48pm Tue 30 Oct 12

shammer says...

I know this lady quiet well and even spent time in hospital with her on one occasion. she is not disabled as she claims to be. regional pain syndrome is not a reason for being in a wheelchair (see the NHS website).

She was known in hospital for playing the system and trying to get as much as she could. her life is not in danger in her flat as she is quiet capable of walking or getting up in crutches like the previous comment said. she definately makes things worse than they really are. the reason she is not getting help is because she doesnt need what she says she needs. give the help to someone who genuially needs it
I know this lady quiet well and even spent time in hospital with her on one occasion. she is not disabled as she claims to be. regional pain syndrome is not a reason for being in a wheelchair (see the NHS website). She was known in hospital for playing the system and trying to get as much as she could. her life is not in danger in her flat as she is quiet capable of walking or getting up in crutches like the previous comment said. she definately makes things worse than they really are. the reason she is not getting help is because she doesnt need what she says she needs. give the help to someone who genuially needs it shammer

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