Midland Heart goes purple

We’re proud to support Purple Tuesday, the international campaign which focuses on improving customer experience for those with disabilities.

3rd Nov 2020 - Corporate news
By  Sarah O'Leary

The event on November 3 brings together organisations across a variety of sectors who are pledging to make real improvements to meet the needs of disabled customers.

As a leading housing association in the Midlands, we’re showing our support of the campaign by launching our improved aids and adaptations policy, which has been simplified following feedback given by our customers who had requested aids and adaptations in the past.

Minor aids assist everyday life and include grab rails and lever taps, while adaptations involve more major work such as creating ramps, widening doorways and installing stair lifts.

Paul Barker, Head of Maintenance, Assets and Delivery, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to launch this new policy ahead of Purple Tuesday.

"One key change reflected in our refreshed policy is that recommended aids and adaptations can now be checked against the criteria and given the go ahead by the contract manager rather than have to be referred to the next panel meeting for decision. This had previously delayed decisions for some customers of up to six weeks - and even longer if the panel then asked for further information.

“We’ve also got plans to automate many of the administrative tasks which, again, should improve or speed things up and enable us to offer a more responsive service to our customers.”

Involved customer Lynne Holland uses a wheelchair and believes it’s vital customers with disabilities have an input so as to help shape the services they receive – and bring about improvements where necessary. There are many reasons, including physical disabilities, illness, dementia and increasing frailty, why some of our customers may need aids or adaptations to help them use their home more easily.

Lynne explained that specially-designed bathrooms with walk-in showers, ground floor apartments with easy access and stair lifts or a reliable lift service, were all important, as was being able to state specific needs when applying online for a home.

“There will be a stage in life where, with the right equipment, an elderly person can carry on living in their own home. Which is why it’s important to gain insight and feedback from customers who have disabilities.”

As well as improving the experiences of our customers, supporting our colleagues or those applying for jobs with us is important. Last year we launched Liberty*, our disability network, which is made up of staff across the business. The network, sponsored by Baljinder Kang, Executive Director of Corporate Resources, raises awareness of what it’s like to live and work with a disability and ensures we’re a leading employer of disabled people.

One key change reflected in our refreshed policy is that recommended aids and adaptations can now be checked against the criteria and given the go ahead by the contract manager rather than have to be referred to the next panel meeting for decision.

Paul Barker, Head of Maintenance, Assets and Delivery