Innovative stairlift loan and housing support scheme show benefits of new Somerset Council, say council leaders

A new scheme to support people leaving hospital and returning to their own homes has been praised by senior councillors today, 15 March 2023, as demonstrating the advantage of bringing services together in the new unitary Somerset Council.

The headline benefit of the scheme, published in the Somerset Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy, is the provision of stairlifts on loan, cutting through the processing of the Disabled Facilities Grant. The loan will get Somerset residents back into their own homes while the grant is processed. The policy, which links up the work of the council’s Adult Social Care, Children’s and Housing Services, includes support for insulation, help for essential repairs for residents on means-tested benefits and support to make homes dementia friendly.

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities said: “This is a thoughtful and helpful support scheme for residents getting back home and out of hospital as quickly as possible. It is great news for residents and help for a very pressured NHS. Bringing additional support from housing services helps to create a broader service that will be simpler for residents to use.”

Council Leader Cllr Bill Revans added: “The real innovation in this paper is how it brings together our Adult Social Care service and Children’s Services with Housing Services – developing a council that works to support our residents in different aspects of their home lives – from stairlifts to reducing energy bills.

“This is the type of thing that was theoretically possible in the past with different councils working together, but it would have been slow to put together, and the financial benefits would be more difficult to identify and budget for.

“I am really excited that we are already seeing how council services can work better together.  I know the authors of this paper have plans to work with our new Planning team to make sure that all new build housing is structurally capable of supporting stairlifts. 

“I hope to see a lot more of this in the near future – the new council being clever and innovative in looking for ways we can provide support to our residents where they most need it.”

The Somerset Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy is available here.

The new Council services will be accessible through