The Cedars – a purpose design home for the Robinson family

Hereward Homes received an unusual request from the Robinson family to build a new house which would enable them to enjoy normal family life, whilst providing a fully accessible home for their son George who was severely injured whilst playing Rugby on a school trip to South Africa in 2015.

George was only 17 when spinal cord was transectioned in this injury, this resulted in him being left paralysed from the shoulders down. George is working hard to rehabilitate and adapt to his C4 tetraplegic spinal injury and has remained impressively resolute, purposeful and calm at every stage of his rehabilitation. He is determined to get on and embrace life. George returned home from hospital in May 2016 and in September 2016 he returned to Stamford School close to Wothorpe.   He has successfully secured a placed at the University of Birmingham, starting in September 2017.

Very early on, the Robinson family realised they needed a house that could meet all their needs. Currently the family live in a rented town house, close to the centre of Stamford where George’s current bedroom combines as a family space and dining room, with no adapted wash facilities. Their search for suitable accommodation and the desire to remain in Stamford led them to be introduced to Jon Gibbison from Hereward Homes. Together they worked at securing a suitable plot and then designing an adapted open plan bungalow that would meet the needs of not only George, but that of his mum and dad (Gill and Simon) and his brother Eddie.

Jon’s brief was for a contemporary, energy efficient house built on one level, that was light and airy and to could be built within a set budget.  But having to deal with a sloping site, also had its challenges. George’s medical needs have had to be considered, as well as ensuring George could enjoy as much independence and autonomy as possible. The tenaciousness and determination of the family, as well as the knowledge and experience of Jon meant that they were able to secure planning within the village of Wothorpe, close to George’s school.

The cost of building an adapted house is very high, particularly when it comes down to specific equipment for George, such as tracking hoists, adapted wet rooms and specialist flooring. Other considerations include, access, doorway widths, level thresholds and intelligent/voice activated electrics. But is it not just the interior layouts that have to be carefully designed, great consideration also had to be given to the accessibility of the site so that George can enjoy the outdoor spaces too. Careful budget planning was also required, as the house is a new build, the Robinsons do not qualify for a Disabilities Facilities Grant.

teamgeorge was set up for George by friends of the Robinson family shortly after

George’s injury. A charitable trust, it has helped the family already by funding the purchase of an adapted van, a wheelchair and a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike. Moving forward, the trust hope to help towards the cost of some of the specialist equipment within the house and to meet George’s long term needs, goals and aspirations, as well as the possibility of accessing medical advancements into spinal cord injuries.

The new Robinson family house has required a visionary approach to the design and build and the team at Hereward Homes has risen to the challenge to create a contemporary home that delivers a high quality of life for all the family. Jon Gibbison’s specialist planning and design knowledge has enabled Hereward Homes to create a stunning property that truly combines form and function.

Jon commented: “This project has been an interesting journey which has resulted from George’s life changing accident whilst pursing a sport he loved. I have enjoyed working closely with Gill, Simon, Eddie and George to create a home that delivers a high quality of life for all the family. It certainly a different type of project for Hereward Homes and it is a project which will take pride of place in our extensive portfolio of work.”

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