Seashell's home-from-home family flat gets a facelift from LOFT

Gemma Boys is pictured with her son Thomas, who is a Seashell Trust student, and his grandparents Jeremy and Gillian Boys at the opening of the family flat at Seashell Trust.

Families who can live up to hundreds of miles away from their profoundly disabled children can now stay in newly refurbished home-from-home flat when they visit them at Seashell Trust.

More than a dozen years in constant use had taken its toll on our two-bedroomed visitors' accomodation.

Family Link Worker Caroline Fishburne said: “The ground floor family flat is perfect overnight accommodation for families visiting Seashell Trust. This saves families spending a lot of money on hotels and allows them space and time to spend with their children.

“It is well used by families, many of whom live far away and while families typically may stay for one or two nights it has been booked for longer visits so families can support their children and young people in transition into Seashell Trust or to support after operations.”

Manchester-based rental property furnishing company LOFT Interiors worked its magic, giving the flat a modernising overhaul.

Daisy Temperley-Cassin, at LOFT Interiors, said: “Despite operating nationally, as a family run company we always want to give back to our local community.

“With Seashell Trust, families come from all over the UK to stay to visit their children. We wanted to help create a ‘home away from home’ with our furniture to help make families feel special during their visits.”

Westex Carpets, in West Yorkshire, donated and fitted the carpets.

Gemma Boys, mother of 13-year-old Thomas who has CHARGE Syndrome and has been a student at the trust since June 2016, comes to visit him from Basingstoke, Hampshire, at least once a fortnight and stays in the flat.

Thomas goes home in the holidays and every other weekend during school term.

She said: “I think most importantly for us, the family flat enables us to ensure Thomas’ link to home stays strong, and we can be close to Thomas and see him happy and settled at school and residence.

“I know also seeing Thomas happy really helps my parents understand about how the placement at Seashell is really benefiting Thomas’ learning development and independence.

“Thomas likes knowing that we are on site, and often signs about the family flat to Seashell staff which is really lovely.

“The flat is comfortable and relaxed. Also it really helps me as hotels are a big expense on top of travel costs so having the flat available at a very low cost is a real help.”

Caroline Fishburne added: “Seashell Trust is extremely grateful to Loft and Westex carpets for completing refurbishing this much-needed facility.”