Make The England's house a home
The England family, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, are currently remodelling their home to enable Duane full wheelchair access, flexible living accommodation and an adapted bathroom in order to make day to day living safer and easier. It will also allow 41-year-old Duane, wife Tracy and their two children (Sophie,9 and Josh, 13) to remain together.
Once the building work is complete, Duane and Tracy’s home will need to complete the project. The cost of the renovations has depleted the family’s savings so members of The England Family Support Group are appealing for volunteers and donations of materials to install internal doors, redecorate the ground floor of the house and transform the garden.
The Group would also like to make contact with individuals and companies who are able to get trade discount on materials.
Last year, having been refused a Disabled Facilities Grant and turned down by TV makeover show DIY SOS, Duane and his wife Tracy England (a day-surgery nurse at near-by Warwick Hospital) decided to use their limited savings to fund the redevelopment. Work began on February 9th this year – two years after Duane received his diagnosis.
The England family pictured in September 2012, shortly before Duane's diagnosis
Tracy comments: “The renovations have been long awaited as our current house layout just wasn't working. Duane’s needs are ever changing and in hindsight we probably should have started the work much sooner. When the work started Duane was able to get upstairs on the stair lift with the assistance of carers but this wasn't ideal. Things have now progressed, making the adaptations even more important. Once complete, he will be able to use his powered wheelchair throughout the ground floor.
We are now six months into the project and, as you can imagine, it's been a stressful process. Living on a building site with a young family would be hard for anyone but even more so for us due to our exceptional circumstances. Our builder has been fantastic and I’m pleased to say we’re nearing the end of building works. The goal has always been to stay together as a family and, despite everything; we have been able to do this”.
Garden designer Eleanor Wilson has already donated her time, free of charge, to create a garden design that will allow Duane full access into the garden. Kirsty Wood, from the British Association of Landscape Industries has also offered her support to source materials for the garden.
Support Group representative, and family friend, Katie Simpson comments: “Duane and Tracy have ploughed everything they could into the building works. This alone will transform their lives and stay together. There are a lot of people who have expressed their interest in supporting the family so now, with funds so limited; we are looking to call in as many favours as we can.
As Duane’s condition progresses, we want their house to feel like a home. We would like their home to be comfortable and practical with the privacy they need. The garden needs to be a tranquil, accessible space where the family can spend time together”.
In August last year, The England Family Support Group held a mass ice-bucket challenge at the Queen & Castle Pub in Kenilworth with over 60 adults and 20 children participating. Together they raised more than £750 for the Motor Neurones Disease Association .
Tracy concludes: “I'm sure it will all be worth the wait and will make a huge difference to our family life as Duane will have regained some of his independence. We need to be making the most of life and enjoying ourselves”.
Amazingly, we're 16 days in and have raised £6,475 towards our target. With revised costings our appeal target now stands at £7,500 and we look set to reach our goal by mid-August.
We are absolutely overwhelmed with the support this appeal is gaining and cannot thank you all enough for all your help... large and small every donation really does count.
By far and away the most expensive part of our appeal was paving for the garden. Without this, Duane would never be able to enter the garden so getting this done - and done right - is hugely important to the family.
Amazingly, within hours of the appeal launch, Alan P Grant from APG-Services offered to help. He is donating all labour (worth over £2,000), cement and a manhole cover. His brother David Grant has offered to help with labour and, as an experienced painter and decorator,with the internal work too.
Today, Anita from www.bartletthaulage.co.uk/ has agreed to donate 8 tonnes of GSB stone and 4 tonnes of sharp sand.
Kash, from www.crownwaste.co.uk/ is also donating a Skip (emptied and refilled if needed) free of charge.
You guys are amazing... From the bottom of our hearts... thank you xxxxx
Next up.... we're in need of 50 square metres of block paving. Can you help or do you know someone who can? We'd love to hear from you...
We are hoping to set up a series of fundraising events over the next few weeks with possibilities including a car boot sale, charity dinner, family fun day and sponsored events. If you think you could get involved in any of these please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you :o)
Our family are happy to help your family Karl, my hubby has offered some graft in the garden, my daughters can clean up/paint/make tea etc and I have a spinal condition, but am happy to spend time chatting to Duane and family and making tea, making calls to obtain supplies...........doing whatever I can . Love sent to the family xx
Hi everyone, thanks so much for all of your offers of support. We are in the process of collating offers against items needed and will be in touch with you very soon to get you involved. We are all absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown on here and through our facebook page xx
Hi Tracey, i know duane through work @eca , pass on my regards, but more important can you let me know what you need to complete the project , I can help , wether fund raising or workmen or supplies anything just let me know