The council of a London borough which has seen the capital’s biggest drop in Disabilities Facilities Grants (DFGs) over the last decade has defended its record.
Redbridge Council said that it was “committed to helping residents live in their homes as independently as possible” and pointed out that it had this year bid for over £2m to help elderly and disabled residents adapt their home.
Council spending on DFGs has seen a 33% rise since 2009 across the country, but figures obtained by The Ilford Recorder show that Redbridge Council has seen a decrease in spend in that period, as well as the largest fall in applications.
Whilst 2009/2010 saw the council hand out grants worth £1,504,500 to 116 applicants, by the end of the last financial year they were spending just £634,094 across 39 applications.
And it has been claimed that the issue can be explained by the fact that not enough has been done to make people aware of DFGs.
As reported by The Ilford Recorder, disability rights campaigner Hollie-Anne said: “Though it’s great that the money is available when people need to access it, one of the major problems we currently have with the grant is awareness.
“It’s critical that the people who need it most are aware that these life-changing grants are available to them.”
A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said: “We’re committed to helping residents live in their homes as independently as possible and understand how much these grants help our residents get the support they need to live safely and comfortably.
“That’s why earlier this year, we successfully bid for over £2m to help elderly and disabled residents adapt their home – one of the highest amongst the north-east London boroughs.
“Additionally, cabinet agreed a range of new discretionary Home Improvement Grants including an Independent Living Grant and a Security Grant to help make the home environment more suitable for a disabled person to live.
“We will be attending Redbridge lunch clubs, the pensioners forum, day care centres and doctors surgeries to reach as many people as we can and if residents need access to this service we encourage them to contact us by calling 020 8708 7333.”