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AKW helps DIY SOS to keep families together by overcoming accessibility issues

AKW expertise in home adaptations helps BBC’s DIY SOS team to keep families together by overcoming their everyday accessibility challenges.

Adapted living specialist AKW has helped Nick Knowles and his team meet the accessibility needs of 17 year old Antonia and her family in a new episode of popular BBC show DIY SOS. AKW worked alongside the DIY SOS team to ensure the bathroom at the family home in Eckington, Worcestershire, was safe and fit for use for Antonia, who suffers from complex medical condition Ehlers-Danlos.

AKW’s Paul Tingey visited the Payne-Cheney family home to review the existing bathroom and the plans for the new version. Based on his extensive experience, he supported the DIY SOS team in revising the plans to enhance bathroom accessibility and allow Antonia to overcome the specific challenges she faced due to her condition.

Among her many challenges, Antonia is required to use a specially adapted wheelchair, designed to keep her legs elevated for the purpose of preventing her from losing consciousness. This poses a variety of accessibility, safety and manoeuvrability issues. To overcome these challenges, AKW helped to not only design a bathroom that would minimise safety hazards but also make the bathroom easier to use and provide additional space to allow her room to manoeuvre. Key to the final bathroom design was the inclusion of AKW’s iCare shower. This has allowed Antonia to regain a level of independence thanks to its remote control functionality which enables her to control the shower herself instead of relying on others or risking unconsciousness due to the need to raise her arms to control other types of showers.

Thanks to the DIY SOS team, a number of other local businesses and the expertise of AKW, Antonia has been able to remain living happily at home with her family instead of moving away into a healthcare facility.

In another episode due to air this summer, AKW’s Paul Tingey was again involved in the bathroom design of a property adapted by DIY SOS, this time at the Guest family home in Rotherham. Following a stroke, Terry faced new challenges in his home, causing him to require specialist support in a care home. As part of the project, DIY SOS built a special annex at Terry’s home, which featured a bathroom designed to meet Terry’s needs. This is where AKW stepped in to help, supplying its TriForm wet room former to enable Terry enhanced mobility and safety in the bathroom area.

With support from AKW, DIY SOS’s project has enabled Terry to return home from the care home he had been living in since his diagnosis, much to the delight of his family. Following the build, the Guest family wrote an open thank you letter to all the suppliers, installers and contributors involved on the project, commenting: “Everything about the annex, office, garden and main house is more than words can describe, it is a home to be so proud of.”

“We are incredibly proud to be able to provide our expertise to the DIY SOS team on these special projects,” said Paul Massey, CEO of AKW. “The difference these projects make to the families’ home environment, their day to day quality of life, independence and rehabilitation is immeasurable and it never fails to hit home to us just how much the families appreciate the positive outcomes that these adaptations have.”