When a house becomes a home

By Luisa Bustos, 6 March 2019 , Comments

“I feel happiest when I’m sitting on my verandah and I see a staff member come out with one of the other residents to pick some items from the vegetable garden.”

Our resident Craig is talking about the community garden he has helped to create at Northcott’s five-villa complex in Merrylands where he has lived for the past 12 months.

After an accident in 2014 that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs, Craig struggled to find a living situation that suited his needs.

“I was potentially looking at going into a nursing home, and I’m only 54,” he says.

“Social housing has wait times of over a decade and private rental was not really going to be an option as it’s quite hard to find something that’s wheelchair accessible.”

It was then that Craig found Northcott and moved into shared transitional accommodation in Ryde, with the goal of finding a place more permanent and long term. Some time later, a Northcott staff member approached Craig about an independent living arrangement that was perfect for his needs.

“There was a villa that was vacant and Ravi, a Northcott support worker, took me out to have a look at it. It was fantastic! It was much closer to my family and much closer to where I had lived before my accident.

“I jumped at the opportunity to come closer to an area that I knew well and into a more stable and more permanent living environment.”

Since moving into his new home, Craig has applied his green thumb to the communal gardens he shares with the fellow Northcott customers.

“I think if you create something that is beautiful and practical it draws residents out of their homes, first into the community space, and then into their own garden,” he says.

Now that Craig has a place to call home, and a community to enjoy it with, he’s feeling much more positive about his future, thanks to Northcott.

“When, like me, you acquire disability as a result of an accident, you don’t know how to navigate housing or the social supports you need. The result I’ve achieved is really down to the commitment and caring of Northcott staff. It’s that support that’s got me here.

“It’s provided a foundation for me to launch into what I hope is going to be the next stage of my life. I always understood that the Ryde accommodation was transitional in nature and having Northcott have the ability to move me through the system and get me to an end goal that was so positive is immense.

“Life at the moment is pretty near perfect.”                                

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Are you a gardening enthusiast too? Ready about our Life Skills green thumbs in Hurstville.

Northcott’s properties and accommodation vacancies are listed on Nest, a home-matching website for people with disability.


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