A DISABLED couple have welcomed Incommunities’ decision to allow them to return to the social landlord’s assisted gardening scheme after being told earlier they were no longer eligible.
George and Margaret Firth, who both receive the highest tier of disability benefits due to their various conditions, have urged their landlord to reconsider after being turned down as the scheme returned after Covid.
They said that before the lockdown they were on the relief scheme at their home in Keighley, on Whin Knoll Avenue, because they couldn’t maintain their garden themselves.
But after contacting Incommunities earlier this year, Mr Firth said he was later told they were no longer eligible under new criteria.
Incommunities disputed the Firth’s version of events, saying it was because the couple had employed their own gardener that they were no longer eligible.
However, Mr Firth asked the organization to reconsider their case as he and his wife had only employed a gardener once out of desperation when their hedge had become so overgrown they could barely walk to their doorstep of entry.
After the couple contacted the Telegraph & Argus, Incommunities have now agreed that the Firths can be added to the list again.
Mr Firth, 56, who suffers from arthritis, arrhythmia, low grade lymphoma, chronic lymphedema and extreme obesity, said: “I am very happy that they have changed their minds now and let our grass be mown again.
“We only had the gardener come once because we asked Incommunities to come and we couldn’t figure out why they were saying we were no longer eligible.”
Mr Firth and his 63-year-old wife suffer from several conditions, with Mrs Firth suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis and she is also blind in one eye.
A spokesperson for Incommunities said: ‘Our gardening assistance program is a popular and oversubscribed service, so we need to provide targeted support to those who need it most to get the most out of the money from the tenants. We regularly review who receives this support.
‘Last month a member of our groundskeeping team visited Mr Firth’s home to assess his eligibility and garden space and it was confirmed with us that a private gardening service was being used .
“Clients who can manage their gardens themselves or with a gardener are not eligible for the aid scheme.”
Incommunities carried out a one-time clearing of their back garden to make it more manageable.
They later added: “Our Estates team has confirmed that as paid gardening was a one-time event and we have since had a vacancy on the list of assisted gardening schemes, we are now able to resume regular pruning. the garden for Mr. Firth.
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