Imagine you have experienced life-changing injuries or illness. The challenges you face are daunting. You have to come to terms with your new condition, possibly as a permanent wheelchair user or with severely restricted mobility.
You may have a long stay in a specialist hospital ahead of you and after that a new life needing a whole new set of skills. It’s a daunting prospect and one faced by around half a million people every year around the world.
But you are not on your own. For the last 25 years we at the Ethos Group in Oswestry have been helping those who have experienced life-changing physical disabilities to find their way back to an independent life.
We do this by providing specialist housing in Oswestry to prepare our clients for independent living and the move to a home that works for their needs. During our clients’ stay we at Ethos facilitate bespoke care packages for each individual to help pave their unique path back to independence and the chance to have a full role in mainstream society.
It all started in 1993 with Professor Wagi El Masri of the Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. He realised that although the centre’s world class medical team was at the forefront of developing new ways to tackle the physical needs of its patients, it could not address the issues faced with patients returning home to live independently.
And it was the lack of these practical requirements – a downstairs bedroom, a wheelchair accessible wet room, lowered kitchen units and level floors – plus the skills and knowledge to adapt to a new way of life which were preventing patients leaving the spinal injuries unit.
He launched our charity - originally called Transhouse (Oswestry) Ltd - to offer short term housing in specially built bungalows in Oswestry for wheelchair users from the spinal injuries unit. We were renamed the Ethos Group Oswestry last year to respond to the increasingly complex changes in the health, housing and care sector for all wheelchair users, not just those with spinal cord injuries.
Over our 25 years we have grown and we now have three specialised properties in Oswestry which can accommodate up to ten clients. We draw on our 25 years of experience to enhance the provision of that housing with personal assistance and care as well as education and advocacy around the increasingly complex housing and social care systems.
It is the people of Ethos, our expertise and understanding and our drive to improve peoples’ lives, which remain at the heart of our work. We can and do change the lives of people with spinal cord injuries and physical disabilities.
Rita was a resident with Ethos (formerly Transhouse) from August 2008 to December 2010 after a life-changing spinal cord injury.
“The charity helped me adjust to a new way of living. I regained my confidence and independence and focused on the future. I am honoured to be an Ethos trustee.”
Paul Riley was a client with Ethos (formerly Transhouse) from 1996 to 1999.
“Ethos allows people to learn and develop the new skills they will need to live. The staff offered me help and support to set up the next stage of my life. Being able to give a little of that support back as a trustee is a privilege.”