Habinteg has marked 50 years of building and promoting accessible housing with an online event attended by celebrity guests, and a message of support from the Housing Minister.
The organisation celebrated the milestone by urging the public to respond to the government’s open consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes.
The consultation is examining how to best increase the number of accessible homes in England and what changes to policy and regulations, relating to the optional technical standards for accessible housing, would achieve the biggest impact.
Tweeting his support, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP tweeted: “Congratulations to @Habinteg on celebrating 50yrs of building accessible homes and communities – I hope you look forward to another 50.
“The government is working to deliver more accessible homes and I encourage everyone to respond to our consultation.”
Habinteg’s online event brought together tenants, parliamentarians and disabled campaigners, as well as celebrity guests.
They included Lord Jamie Borwick, Baroness Celia Thomas of Winchester, and winner of the Britain’s Got Talent 2018, comedian Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy.
Ridley, who supported Habinteg’s #ForAccessibleHomes week in September, said: “My home doesn’t have many adaptations at all. I was lucky enough to find somewhere that suited my needs, but I realise this is rarely the case for most people.
“I got involved with #ForAccessibleHomes because I know just how important it is to make the world a more accessible place. It’s vital that campaigns like this are highlighted as much as possible.”
The virtual event was a joint celebration with Habinteg’s specialist access team, the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), which supports clients to create and manage built environments that everyone can use, and train the next generation of inclusive design specialists.
The event also acknowledged Habinteg’s Lockdown Angels – tenants from around the country who have gone above and beyond to help people in their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They included Jermain Jackman, winner of The Voice UK 2014, who delivered a socially distanced community concert to boost morale.
Jackman said: “Whenever I’m down or upset, I tend to turn to music to find comfort. When we went into lockdown, a lot of people were down.
“One of the things that would bring the community together is clapping for key workers. I saw that sense of community and I wanted to bring joy and some comfort to my local residents.”
Habinteg director of Strategy & External Affairs, Nicholas Bungay, said: “Our thanks to all who attended our event and made it so enoyable. As we enter our sixth decade, Habinteg will continue to create accessible and inclusive homes and communities that promote disabled people’s independence.
“We encourage others to champion accessible housing by supporting the establishment of the accessible and adaptable standard as the baseline for all new homes across England and to call for that in a response to the government’s open consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes.”