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New bedroom sanctuary for Ballymoney boy

Published: Fri, 8 Jan 2016
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Mary McGinty with Paul Isherwood, our Director of Asset Management, DSD Minister Mervyn Storey, Brendan Doherty, our Area Manager and Alistair Neeson, our Design Group architect.
Donnelly Park Bedroom
A Ballymoney boy with a severe form of autism has been given a special birthday present of a new purpose-built bedroom.
The extension, built by us, will make a “huge difference” to nine-year-old Carson Madison’s everyday life, according to his mum, Mary McGinty.
The family’s home in Donnelly Park, near Ballymoney, has recently been adapted using German construction methods, in what is thought to be one of the first of its kind used in social housing in Northern Ireland.
It means Carson’s airy new timber framed bedroom can be kept at a constant warm temperature but costs very little to heat.
“Carson doesn’t like wearing clothes, it’s quite common for children with autism. As soon as he comes home from school in Ballymena, his uniform comes off so it’s really important that this house is always warm,” said his mum Mary.
“Carson is at an age now - he’ll be 10-years-old in January - when he needs his own room. Up until now he has shared my room. This bedroom will become his sanctuary, he will have his sensory toys in the corner so he can come down here and feel calm, especially when he’s feeling off.
“Carson already likes his room. Even before it was properly decorated he would come in and lie on the bed. It’s lovely to see the big smile on his face when he’s in there - we’re delighted with the way the room has turned out.”
Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey, MLA, recently visited Mary along with our representatives involved in the unique build.
Outside the new purpose built extension are Michael Beck, Regional Welfare Officer, Brendan Doherty, Area Manager, Mary McGinty, DSD Minister, Mervyn Storey, Paul Isherwood, Director of Asset Management and Design Group architect, Alistair Neeson.
Donnelly Park
The Minister said:
“It was a great pleasure to visit Mary and see firsthand how the adaptations programme is making a real difference. My Department has provided £4 million this year to the Housing Executive in order to carry out adaptations to their homes and an additional £10 million for disabled facilities grants to private home owners.
“The changes made to this home in Ballymoney clearly show the impact of this investment as Carson, and his family, now have a more comfortable environment in which to manage his condition.”
Mary, who also has a 13-year-old son, Matthew, approached us to request that the house be extended to include a bedroom for Carson.
Following an assessment process, it was decided that the Donnelly Park house would be suitable for an adaptation.
Design Group architect, Alistair Neeson, had been on a study trip to Germany and was keen to see if the timber frame materials and techniques used there could be tailored to provide major home adaptations for people with disabilities in Northern Ireland. Mary’s home was selected as a pilot scheme due to the unique circumstances of her son’s disability.
Our Design Group specialise in the provision of major adaptations to tenant's homes for people with disabilities.
Speaking about the bedroom’s design, Alistair explained:
“The extension was constructed with 100% timber frame construction using natural and sustainable materials. The structure has been highly insulated and thermal bridges have been eliminated so that there are no ‘cold spots’ within the extension.
“We will be keeping in touch with Mary and monitoring energy consumption in the extension. If everything works well then we may look at using this concept in more adaptations.”
Brendan Doherty, Area Manager, said:
“One of the big bonuses for Carson is that the internal comfort will be much greater than in a conventional construction.
“We are always looking for the most energy efficient methods of building and adapting homes. In this case the tenant’s heating bill in the extension will be reduced by up to 90%, which is a significant saving.
“The Housing Executive adapts homes to suit their tenants’ changing needs. We are delighted that we helped this family create a home where they can live comfortably for many years to come.”