When Melissa fell down the stairs that led from her first floor flat to the ground floor, she and her partner, Scott, knew they had to try to find more suitable living accommodation.
Melissa suffers with Hypermobility Syndrome and at the young age of 24 is medically retired. She can walk, but no great distance, and relies heavily on the use of a wheelchair.
Living in a first-floor flat was proving just too difficult, with Melissa often feeling trapped and isolated when Scott was at work. As a result, Melissa’s occupational health team got involved and the couple was moved up the priority list of Vivid Housing Association for a new home.
Shortly afterwards they were lucky enough to become one of the first residents of Woodside Avenue, picking up the keys to a lovely – and practical – one-bedroom ground floor flat in the new development.
“It’s such a beautiful flat; so light and airy,” said Melissa. “I’m so much happier here. In our last place, I felt like I was in a prison. It was really difficult for me to get out if Scott wasn’t around.
“Our new flat is open plan so I can move around more easily in my wheelchair. The doorways are nice and wide, and all the floors are the same level which is really helpful.
“We have a balcony, too, which I can access in my wheelchair. It’s a nice quiet place to hang out and relax with Scott at the end of the day.”
Since moving in, the couple has watched Woodside Avenue transform from an empty shell, a building site with no residents, into the makings of a lively and bustling new community.
“We’re slowly getting more neighbours and starting to get to know familiar faces,” said Scott. “There’s a brand new community growing right around us. It’s nice to see so many people settling in. We’re making new friends and we’ve even had our neighbours pop in for a cup of tea.”
Melissa added: “We feel so lucky to be here. We wouldn’t be able to afford a place like this without the help of the affordable rent scheme. It has made such a difference to our lives.
“We’re really happy here. It feels like home.”
Photo for illustration purposes only