Northbrook Community Trust funds kitchen for vision impaired students

5 March 2021

WESC Foundation has recently opened a new adapted kitchen for students with vision impairment and complex needs, thanks to a generous donation from the Northbrook Community Trust.

Looking across a kitchen towards a sink under a wundow. There's a hob on the left hand side and there are gaps underneath the worktops for wheelchairs
The completed kitchen, with space for wheelchairs and height-adjustable work surfaces and appliances

A gift of £30,000 has meant that young people at the Exeter charity are now able to access height adjustable worktops, cooker-tops and kitchen sinks in their shared accommodation. The new facilities mean that more of the young residents – who all attend the charity’s specialist College – can now develop essential independent living skills that will stand them in good stead for later life. It’s also a practical space used for socialising and preparing and eating food in a busy home from home.

The talking microwave and induction hob with traditional hand-turned dials (as opposed to the modern touch panels) are impressive additions to assist blind or partially-sighted users, whilst the removal of white goods to a dedicated laundry room have created more space under the worktops to improve access for students in wheelchairs.

Even the lighting, flooring and decoration of the kitchen have been planned to reduce visual clutter and create suitable levels of contrast to help the young people who have some functional vision to navigate the space.

Jane Bell, Chief Executive Officer of the WESC Foundation said:

“The ongoing and generous support of the Northbrook Community Trust has enabled us to complete this important upgrade as part of an ambitious redevelopment of our residential accommodation.

“It is essential for our young people to be given every opportunity to live fulfilling adult lives when their leave WESC Foundation, and this donation means that have the best environment to develop their independence”.

The next stage of the refurbishment will seek to develop a multi-zoned lounge space, further enlarge and adapt a bathroom for wheelchair users, and improve the bedrooms used by the students.

Find out more about our Home from Home appeal

View of kitchen worktop with garden visible through the window. There's a kettle and toaster on the work surface

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