CASH given out to pay for alterations for disabled people in their homes has topped £22m since 2009.

Wiltshire Council has tapped into the Disabled Facilities Grant for 3,617 people.

Last year 229 grants were handed out totalling £2m.

Swindon Borough Council has not revealed its own figures.

Door widening, ramps and rails are all included in the list of work that people can benefit from. Heating and lighting changes can also be paid for.

When it launched in 2009, 416 people were awarded cash to work on their homes in Wiltshire.

Hollie-Anne Brooks became disabled a little over 12 months ago, and although she doesn’t have first hand experience of the Disability Facilities Grant has spoken to people who have had the grants.

She said: “Although I haven’t personally applied for a DFG, I know full well the positive impact they can have on a person’s life. Small changes matter a great deal and something that may seem minor can have such an enriching impact on the life of a disabled person – both from an accessibility point of view but also in terms of their mental health.

“Though it’s great that the money is available when people need to access it, one of the major problems we currently have with the grant is awareness. Although it’s positive to see that spending across councils on DFG’s generally seems to be increasing, it’s critical that the people who need it most are aware that these life-changing grants are available to them.”

Nationally the councils with the highest spend is Leeds City Council averaging £6.5m annually between 2009and 2019. Manchester City Council followed in second place with an average spend of £4.6m.

Wokingham Council had the lowest DFG annual spend on average at £397,948, based on data supplied between 2014 and 2019. Slough Borough Council took second place with an average spend of £480k, followed by Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s £500k. 73 Council revealed their total DSG spending through a Freedom of information request by

A Wood Idea

had increased 25 per cent from £75m in 2009 to £100m in 2018. Up to £30k can also be provided for disabled children to make their family home easier to live in with a possible top up grant of up to £10k available.