VILLAGERS have raised thousands of pounds to give a Uttoxeter man the chance of a more independent life. Robert Brindley, 40, of Windsor Road, Uttoxeter, hosted a celebratory open day last week, after a new bedroom and wet room were completed at his home. After more than four years sleeping in his kitchen, Robert, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 26, can now manoeuvre his wheelchair between his living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
The major overhaul of his home has been made possible by a long-running drive by villagers in Foxt, where Robert grew up.
Neighbours of his mum, Beryl Brindley, joined forces when they heard of his plight and vowed to top-up a grant from East Staffordshire Borough Council to allow Robert to make the most of his home.
After the installation of a new bedroom and wet room with specially adapted bed and bathroom facilities, Robert hosted a party on Friday last week, to thank all his friends and neighbours for their support.
He said: “Today I’ve had my first shower for four and a half years, which was brilliant.
“Up to now I’ve had to manage with bed baths.
“The renovations mean I can be a lot more independent and eventually I’m having an electric door which will make it easier for me to get out and about.
“I’ll be able to do stuff around the house or just go out of the house on my own without somebody having to be with me all the time.
“It’s also a better working area for my carers. Some of the conditions they’ve been working in were shocking, but there was no alternative.
“They’ve all helped and done a really good job of muddling through the muck and dust.”
Peter Cowie from Foxt has been one of the driving forces behind the campaign to help make sure Robert could have all the alterations needed to convert his house into a suitable environment for him.
Peter said: “It’s been a social community project involving volunteers and professionals.
“It’s certainly nice to get here and see the work completed.
“We’ve done some very successful fund-raising in Foxt and also had contributions from Uttoxeter Lions, the Rotary Club and JCB.
“Work started last October, but we discovered a main sewer ran under the property.
“Then the bad winter came and work was delayed again, but the arrival of the long summer meant the work could be completed.
“It just confirms my faith in the importance of the community – it demonstrates the power of the community when we come together.”
Much of the fund-raising has been organised and supported by neighbours of Robert’s mum, Beryl. She said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful. We wouldn’t have been able to have so many things without the support from people and organisations like JCB.”
As well as friends, family, neighbours and fund-raisers, Robert also invited contractors from Broad Oak and staff from Mediline, who have helped him throughout the building work.
Robert added: “It’s overwhelming, the amount of support and help I’ve had, the donations coming in from different people and various places – people giving up their own time to come and help with decorating.
“There are too many people to name, but everybody has been fantastic and I just want to say a big thank you to them all.”
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