They persuaded the local council to adapt a two bedroomed flat for their use, installing suitable equipment and accessible kitchen units. Jack and Margaret had a spirit and ‘can do’ approach to life despite their physical limitations. When they died the lease of their flat was taken on by the charity and countless young people with disabilities have been able to benefit from using the space.
Over the years many students and children have used the flat and enjoyed the independence that it allows, a place away from the bigger centres at Ella Road and Johnson Place. The flat accommodated small groups of students during the week, providing a base from which to explore the city, go to shops or maybe out for something to eat. In the summer the older children from Johnson Place were able to gain a taste of being an adult through the transition project, known as ‘City Breaks’, which was based at the flat.
Over the last few years the flat has become difficult for our children and adults to use. This has been for a variety of reasons, the main ones being the increasing complexity of needs of the students who come to The Hamlet and for wheelchair users access is difficult as the chairs themselves have increased in size over the years and the flat is actually too small to accommodate them! Reluctantly, we have made the decision to move on and we will no longer be using the flat. We were really pleased that the City Council are looking to lease it to people with disabilities – so the legacy of Margaret and Jack will continue. Students will be using space at St Leonards Road and Johnson Place for ‘flat like’ activities and City Breaks will be based in The Hive this summer, so we are not losing this aspect of our service, which is important.
In their book ‘Another Door Opens’ Jack and Margaret tell the story of how they met, fell in love, got married and then, with the help of some remarkable individuals, realised their desire to live together in their own flat. I hope that this spirit will always be part of the ethos of The Hamlet. Thank you Jack and Margaret, for starting the story of The Hamlet and for your generosity.