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South Wales-based Bridgend County Borough Council is set to bring its Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) scheme fully in-house to speed up the process for disabled residents.

Provided by local authorities, the DFG is a means-tested grant that helps cover the cost of housing adaptation works so that disabled people can remain independent in their own home. Adaptations aim to restore dignity, improve safety and make life easier for both disabled people and their carers.

The DFG can be used to pay for vital independent living equipment – such as stairlifts, grab rails and ceiling track hoists – to disabled residents users get around their home more easily. This can be particularly helpful for wheelchair users, who might otherwise not be able to access the upper levels of their home.

Councillor Nicole Burnett, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, said: “Applicants need these adaptations to help them live independently. These works are a huge part of their recovery process and can also impact on the care packages the council provides.”

In Wales, the maximum DFG award is £36,000. Depending on the person’s income, outgoings and savings, they may be expected to contribute towards the cost of adaptation works.

Currently, applicants who are approved for funding choose an agent to arrange the required works from a list provided Bridgend County Borough Council.

Under the new plans, the council says an internalised service will be piloted and a collaboration agreement will be made with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, which already has an in-house DFG service, to provide support until the new model is established.

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “The new model should speed up the process for residents and sees the council taking back control to oversee applications from start to finish.

“These adaptations help to improve residents’ lives and this will provide them with a better service and a single point of contact. I’m also pleased that we are able to share expertise and knowledge with a neighbouring local authority to help set this new model up.”

In the 2020 Spending Review, Rishi Sunak confirmed an investment of £573 million – up from £505 million in 2019 – in DFGs to support elderly and disabled people to live independently for longer.

This represents a 13.5 percent increase in the money local authorities will have available to deliver crucial adaptations to people’s homes to ensure they get the support they need.

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