Disabled Chesterfield man forced to shower outside for over two years after council delays

A disabled Chesterfield man has been forced to shower outside for over two years following council delays to adapt his home.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 2:44 pm

Tony Rawson, 54, lost his leg to sepsis in January 2019 and finds it extremely difficult to get upstairs to use the bath in his two-storey council house on Walton Drive, Boythorpe.

Despite Chesterfield Borough Council agreeing to turn the downstairs toilet into a wet room a month after his amputation, Tony said that the work has still not been carried out meaning he has had to cobble a makeshift shower together in his garden.

This saw Tony shower under a gazebo for many months in all weathers until he recently forked out for proper plumbing and shower fittings, as well as a plywood shelter, so it is slightly warmer and more private.

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Tony Rawson has been forced to shower outside for over two years after delays in the council adapting his house

Tony, who currently uses a wheelchair, said: "When I came out of hospital, I was assessed by occupational therapists and physiotherapists who liaised with Chesterfield Borough Council and they agreed to knock the wall down in the downstairs toilet and extend it for a wet room.

"They gave me a wet leg – a prosthesis designed to withstand water – but that hurt to put on and get upstairs. It was exhausting for me to get up there and back and painful as well.”

Tony says he has had numerous people visit his house, including architects and structural engineers, who promised to carry out the work but has since been told the delay is due to Covid-19.

Tony Rawson says the council agreed to convert his downstairs toilet to a wet room but the work has still not been carried out

He added: “I had to pay for a hot tap to be put outside then I connected the hose pipe up so I could control the hot and cold and was showering under a gazebo for about a year.

"My wife had to stand next to the taps and change the temperature. She was getting cold and wet, I wasn’t very comfy and it wasn't very dignified. Eventually I paid for plumbing for a proper shower and had a makeshift shelter made out of plywood built by the backdoor with a roof and a door with hinges.

"I’ve had to fund all the fittings and the work which I shouldn’t have to do. I even paid for a little heater and electric to be put outside.

"When I need a shower I have to check what the weather is like and sometimes I’ve had to miss a shower and wipe myself down if it’s too cold or has been snowing which isn’t very nice.

Tony Rawson has been forced to pay for a makeshift shelter meaning his is a little warmer when he showers outside

"My mum’s even been on my case saying they treat a dog better than they’ve treated me… I’ve had enough of it.”

Thanks to intervention by the Derbyshire Times, Chesterfield Borough Council has now been to see Tony and is working to resolve his situation quickly.

The authority said it is committed to carrying out adaptions for its tenants “as soon as we can”.

“We have been working with Mr Rawson to ensure that we can continue to meet his housing needs and have considered rehousing him to a more suitable property,” it added.

Tony Rawson pictured showering outside when he was forced to wash under a gazebo

"However, as Mr Rawson wishes to remain in his current home we will be making appropriate adaptations to the property. We have consulted with Mr Rawson on the adaptation designs and we are working hard to get these delivered.”

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