Catriona and her four children moved to Newtownabbey bungalow last month, a property that will significantly impact her youngest son Caoimhín, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, severe autism and encephalopathy.

The family lived in privately rented accommodation for 11 years, a property that did not meet the complex needs of their family, and Catriona and her youngest son had to sleep in the living room.

After assessing the family’s living conditions and engaging with the Housing Executive and Choice, it became clear that the family needed an adapted bungalow.

Roisin McLoone (Director of Choice Housing), Catriona Adams and her son Caaimhín pictured with Mairead Burns (Choice Development Director) and Michael McDonnell (Chief Executive of Choice Group).

This led to a transfer agreement between Choice and the Housing Executive for Old Mill Drive, Newtownabbey, in 2019, with the association appointing main contractor Hugh J O’Boyle to develop the individual property, which was allocated to the Adams family.

Work began on site at the end of March 2021 and the property was completed in July 2022 with an investment of £360,000.

Catriona said: “The independence our new home has given Caaimhin has already made a world of difference. It used to take two of us to get my son in and out of the house to lift him up the stairs and disassemble the wheelchair in the process. Now he can move around the house in his wheelchair.

“Keeping medical equipment safe and easy for paramedics to access is another key element of our new home, knowing that if Caaimhin or my other son Aidan, who has severe epilepsy, need urgent medical attention, there is no barrier for them.”

Michael McDonnell, Group Chief Executive of Choice, added: “When we acquired the land in 2019, we were keen to ensure that the property we developed would not only stand the test of time in terms of efficiency and sustainability, but would also be a home that could satisfy a wide range of unique needs.

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“After consultation with Catriona and her family, it became clear that the new bungalow would make their lives more manageable and give them all, in particular Caaimhin, a quality of life that would meet his needs.”