The Independent Living Centre built within Cardiff City Council’s depo which houses equipment for minor housing adaptations, began construction in 2015 to demonstrate, in a practical setting, the various aids and adaptations that are available to help people live independently for longer in their own homes.

The facility includes equipment and adaptations such in-situ lifts, rise and fall kitchen units, a high tech heating system, under-the-stair WC, and a variety of shower trays, doors and bathroom innovations manufactured by a number of market leading manufacturers in their sector, including AKW.  The products from AKW include Braddan shower trays, Tuff Form wet room former, AKW SmartCare Plus electric shower, accessible kitchen and a wet room with bath to tray adaptor known as AKW’s ‘Bathroom for Life’.

Steve Burroughs, the Service Manager responsible for building the Independent Living Centre said, “The Centre provides an environment where people can view the equipment in a ‘home’ setting to give a better idea of how the equipment would look in their own home. The opportunity to try different pieces of equipment is also available and our Occupational Therapy and Technical Housing Officer colleagues can use the centre to find and assess the right equipment for their clients.  There is also a training room available at the Centre which is available to hire to our colleagues in Health, Housing, other Local Authorities and partner organisations.”

In addition to the ‘Smart House’, the Cardiff Independent Living Service also provides a wide range of support to help the vulnerable members of Cardiff’s population live as independently as possible.  This includes advice on the benefits system, domestic energy-efficiency advice and following assessment by one of their own Occupational Therapists, advise on minor adaptations or contact other services to ensure that any changes are tailored to the resident’s needs.  There are also links with local organisations who arrange regular social events, outings, luncheon clubs plus support and advice if people are struggling to prepare your meals and eat healthily.

James Dadd, AKW’s Marketing Director, said, “AKW were delighted to be part of this project in partnership with Cardiff City Council’s Independent Living Service as we are passionate about designing equipment for kitchen and bathroom adaptations.  Our 28 year heritage in the kitchen and bathroom adaptations sector means that we can not only design practical  products that help enhance the independence and wellbeing of people in later life or those with disabilities, but the products themselves look good too and make a home still look like a home rather than a clinical care or hospital setting.

“AKW look forward to the further opportunities that are in the pipeline to feature in other similar ‘Best Practice’ facilities for adapted kitchen and bathroom design around the country.”