The Rogers family

Annie Slinn

For years, devoted mum Emma had struggled helping her daughter Courtney, 10, with daily routines at their home in Deanshanger, Northamptonshire. Courtney was born with Bardet Biedl Syndrome – a genetic condition resulting in reduced mobility, obesity and learning difficulties. Due to her disability, Courtney needed her mum’s assistance to wash, go to the toilet and get down the stairs.

With Grand Union’s help, Courtney’s life was transformed. Our Procurement & Contract Management team installed a wet room, wash toilet and converted a downstairs room for Courtney to have her own space.

Emma said: “I cannot put into words the difference the adaptations have made to our lives. Not just for me and Courtney, but the whole family! In fact, it was a race to get the first use of the shower and toilet. The difference it’s made has been enormous – we even bought the builder a bottle of champagne to show our gratitude.

“Before the wet room was installed, I used to dread washing Courtney. I spent the past eight years lifting her in and out the bath, even while pregnant, with a trapped nerve in my back and struggling physically. It was so stressful and I often ended up in tears, we tried lots of different things to help the situation, such as steps to the bath, but nothing worked.

“At 10 years old, Courtney was getting to the age where she really needed her own privacy. Not to mention, she was getting too heavy for me to lift anymore. I spoke to Gemma, an Occupational Therapist at Grand Union, and told her about our situation. In just two days, she was back on the phone, organising a time to come round and complete the home assessments and installations.

“We were kept informed every step of the way and even had our own say in the choice of flooring and other renovations. My husband is a tiler and was able to tile the wet room himself, which he added to his work portfolio. Nothing was too much trouble, and alongside the wet room and wash toilet, Grand Union even facilitated an extension, making room for Courtney to have her own space, to destress and cope with her emotions if she needs too.”

The extension installed by Grand Union meant that Courtney and her family still had space for their family dining room, which was essential in creating a sense of routine and normality for the whole family. It also meant Courtney didn’t have to go up and down the stairs – something which she’d need help in doing – so Emma feels she is a lot safer.

“The wet room enables Courtney to wash independently and she’s at less risk of falling over, due to her deteriorating eyesight. The sense of independence she must feel is clear – she’s telling all her friends about the adaptations and is so excited, no longer dreading bath time.

Once the wet room was finished, Emma recalls crying tears of joy. “It’s something I don’t think people will fully understand unless they’ve walked in our shoes. It’s also something we wouldn’t have been able to afford without Grand Union’s help.

“I’m so grateful we’ve been able to make these adaptations for Courtney who, despite everything, is the happiest and most smiley child I know. I feel so lucky to have had the help we desperately needed from Grand Union’s Occupational Therapy team.”