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Putting Ability Back into Disability

  • Published: 2011-01-14 : Author: Shape
  • Synopsis: More needs to be done to enable people of all ages with physical disabilities to lead a normal life in their own home.

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With the Government placing more and more emphasis upon 'Care in the Community, there is a growing recognition that more needs to be done to enable people of all ages with physical disabilities to lead a normal life in their own home.

In many cases in the past, this has meant major reconstruction and alteration, but now there is a company that is offering a professional design and adaptation program that would seem to be much more efficient.

Steve Smith and Kevin Lamacq both have disabled children and therefore have personal experience and understanding of adapting their own home. In 2008, they identified a gap in the market for specialist adaptation work and set up an adaptation company - North Tyne Construction Limited. Their ability and knowledge of home adaptations was sought after by local charities, who contacted the duo regularly for advice. The general consensus from the people getting in touch is that there was little in the way of information available on how disability adaptations would work for them in their own home.

On the 28th April 2010, they launched the North East's first ever disability adaptation showroom. Leading equipment manufacturers from across the country were quick to get involved, and the showroom opened to high acclaim. However, the showroom was just the start. The duo is also the first in the North to use pioneering design and planning software within the adaptation process. Over the course of 2010 they have picked up a number of council contracts, with their service offering significant savings both operationally and financially. The company is now listed on the official supplier listing for North Tyneside, Gateshead and Hartlepool Borough Councils. In October this year the company felt that a major re-brand would be the right direction for the look and feel of the company and so became Shape.

One particular contract highlights the skills and versatility that is on offer. The team at Shape had been in discussion with Lynch Healthcare for some time and felt in this instance a collaborative approach was the best way forward. While Shape project managed the entire build, planning and working on its construction, Lynch Healthcare provided and installed the specialist equipment. Specialist equipment included ceiling track hoists, Clos-o-Mat toilets, rise and fall baths and vanity units, and showering equipment. The residents had a choice of colors for the wall tiles and non-slip flooring which they chose amongst themselves to give each bathroom a more homely feel. The project was delivered to budget and on time.

Steve Smith says, "Long term we are looking to expand nationally and are in talks with several strategic partners to facilitate this. In the short term we are re-launching the showroom in the next month or so as we have just expanded the facility by an additional 150ft2 of products and adaptation mock up pods. We believe that we can achieve this in the next five years. With our new showroom, our relaunched website and our proven expertise, we believe we can become a major force as the Government seeks to enable more people to continue to live at home rather than in care and residential homes, or even hospital." For further information please visit

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