How can you make your bathroom safer?

Have you considered a walk-in shower room in your home?

We can help you plan the perfect bathroom that’s both safe and stylish

It can be daunting starting out on a project like redesigning your bathroom. Even more so if you have very specific needs. We’ve been helping people make their homes safer for over 30 years, specialising in bathroom adaptations. So let’s walk you through how we create a bathroom that’s built around you.

Let’s talk about you

First and foremost, your needs are the most important thing to take into consideration. Do you have a particular health condition? Have you had falls in the past? Are you a wheelchair user? The answers to these questions will help us shape the bathroom. It’s important that whatever we create will work for you, now and in the future should your needs change.

You should also consider what aspects of your current bathroom you like and would want to keep. Some aspect of the bathroom might work for you but other things need to be changed. That’s alright! It doesn’t have to be a total redesign, especially if you’re on a budget.

Bathrooms don’t have to be boring!

Whether you’re looking for a clean and modern design or want a splash of colour, our accessible bathroom ranges have something to inspire everyone. Perhaps you’ve done some research into the styles and colour schemes available. Show us what you’ve seen. Just because we want to make your bathroom safer, it doesn’t have to be boring! Take this opportunity to let your own personality shine through.

Your space doesn’t have to set the pace

Think about the current layout of your bathroom. How much space do you have? Don’t worry if you are working on a budget and have limited room. There is always the option to convert another room to a shower room, upstairs or downstairs. Even build an extension or convert a garage. We know this might not be affordable for everyone though. Our contractors can maximise what you’ll get out of the space whilst being realistic about what’s achievable.

Other than certain fixtures and fittings that help save on space, we also have a range of level access showers. No big bathtubs mean you’ll free up a lot of floor space for manoeuvring, and fewer obstacles to contend with.

A stylish bathroom in our Bristol showroom

Wet room or walk-in shower?

There’s a big difference between the two. A walk-in shower uses a tray to catch the water from the shower. A wet room, also known as a level access shower room, has no tray or lip. The actual tray is beneath the floor, allowing you to access the shower from the floor level without having to step over anything to enter.

In our experience, level access showers are the safest option. They also lend the bathroom a very modern look, and work fantastically where space is limited.

Let the pros worry about the technicalities

There are several things to consider when redesigning or re-configuring a bathroom to accommodate a level access shower. Our vetted contractors worry about the details. We’ve fitted thousands of specialist bathrooms across the South West. So when it comes to electrics, heating, waste pipes and other practicalities we know what will work and what to do, all to make you safer while you bathe.

Improve your bathroom, transform your life

Just because you’re finding it harder to bathe right now, it doesn’t mean you have to keep on struggling. With the right set up of a wet room, rails and accessible toilets and sinks, you’ll be staying independent in your own home for much longer. With your safety and your future in mind, trust us at We Care to improve your bathroom around you.

Get in touch with us today for an obligation-free chat.

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    Your new wet room

    Wet rooms, also known as level access shower rooms, are the trendy modern bathing solution for a designer bathroom that everyone can use.

    Accessible shower wet room bathroom
    A wet room you can be proud of as well as safe in

    Why a wet room?

    It’s our mission to make homes enable access for all. That means that every room of the house needs to be safe to use for whoever is living there. The bathroom can present a few hazards, with things like shower trays and bathtubs to step over. This is why we prefer to install level access showers. They take the stress away from bathing for a stylish looking bathroom that’s safer and easier to clean and maintain. In this article, we will go over the parts that make up a wet room, that we think about carefully when designing your new shower room.

    But where’s the shower tray?

    Wet rooms have a tray that is sunken into the floor below. This means that you access the shower from the floor level rather than having to step over the lip of a tray. This is altogether safer, removing a major barrier to access for people with mobility issues.

    Ideally, the shower tray area would be as large as possible because you don’t want water splashing out to other areas of the bathroom. Safety and ease of use go hand in hand. We will advise you about what is possible in the space that you have. There are also many non-slip flooring options available that minimise any danger posed by water leaving the shower area.

    Shower panels or tiles?

    Tiles have been the style in bathrooms for many years, but recently shower panels have become very popular. Panels keep the shower area watertight; you can still have tiles in the wider room. Our experts will be able to design the wet room in a way that makes everything look seamless.

    You may have one or several panels in the actual shower area with a screen separating it from the room, with up to three of the bathroom walls tiled. You may have a room that is completely panelled. Panels can come in various colours, patterns and effects, like frosted glass style or mirrored. They can match the flooring or contrast, whichever you prefer. The benefit of panels, much like the non-slip flooring, is that they are very easy to clean and maintain versus tiles.

    dementia friendly accessible bathroom wet room
    A dementia friendly accessible bathroom

    Digital, electric or mixer shower?

    A mixer shower has hot and cold water inputs that are mixed in the shower bar. You can set the temperature on the shower’s control panel or by using the taps, depending on the type you have installed. We would also recommend having a thermostatic valve installed – this protects you from sudden temperature changes if someone else uses the water in the house.

    However, you may prefer an electric or digital shower instead. Both electric and digital showers let you start the shower with the water at the right temperature straight away, either by pre-setting the temperature controls on the panel or using a smartphone app with a digital shower.

    Digital showers are usually the easiest to install, with the control unit being installed discreetly in the loft. They are also the most modern and fully featured. Electric showers can be useful where there is low water pressure or for people that want a simpler manual controls option. There are also control options for people who are blind or have different health needs.

    Designed with you in mind

    Whatever your needs, we can work with you to gain the bathroom you desire. From the style and colour to the shower itself, there are options to suit everyone. Our trusted contractors can convert small bathrooms into level access showers, and even convert other rooms such as garages where our customers have need more space or a ground floor accessible bathing solution.

    If you want to have an informal chat about a new accessible bathroom, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help remove the barriers between you and your safety and independence in your own home.

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      The Learning Disabilities Assistive Technology Project

      Evaluation Summary Report

      The purpose of the project

      Below you will find a link to the full evaluation summary of The Learning Disabilities Assitistive Technology Project.

      The project involved work with up to 100 individuals with a learning disability (LD) living in the city of Bristol, to assess for and install assistive technology (AT) solutions and to measure the outcomes.

      The three key predefined outcomes of the project were to:

      • Promote independence choice and control for individuals: support people with LD to
        live as independently as possible with the right care and support.
      • Reduce and Prevent adults with LD entering inappropriate services: support adults (and
        carers of) with learning disabilities who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering
        inappropriate services such as inpatient and registered care services for learning disabilities.
      • Mainstream the use of assistive technology in the learning disabilities and housing
        pathway: increase the total number of adults with LD supported to live in their own home
        specifically people with complex needs/challenging behaviors.

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        Keeping your home warm in the winter

        It’s so important to keep your home warm in the winter, when the temperature is much colder and the frost has set in. Here are some helpful tips for keeping nice and toasty all winter long.

        It might seem obvious, but it really is so important. Older people are more vulnerable to illness during the winter because the cold suppresses the immune system. That means it’s easier to contract heavy colds and the flu and increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks.

        This guide will give you some quick ideas on how to keep you and your home warm in the winter months, so you are healthy and hearty until the spring finally arrives.

        keep home warm in the winter older person slippers socks fire
        Keep warm this winter – it’s as simple as putting on slippers and checking your radiators!

        Be smart about your heating

        Set your heating to at least 20 – 21C, and close off rooms that you aren’t using to keep the heat locked into where you are going to be. You should shut doors to rooms where the radiators are on so that you are keeping the heat in where it’s needed. A smart thermostat can help you control the level of heat from wherever you are, so you can turn it down if you’ll be out for a while or plan ahead for when you’ll arrive back.

        Radiators – reflect heat and bleed when necessary

        Your radiators are so important – they need to be working properly so that they are effectively heating your home. If your radiators have cold spots and don’t heat up evenly then they need bleeding. This can be done with a radiator key or flat head screwdriver, but you might want to get a handyperson in to take care of it for you, just in case there are any further issues.

        You can buy reflective radiator foil to keep our rooms warm and cut down on the heating bills. The reflective foil helps by reflecting the heat back into your rooms instead of it being lost through the walls. This is best for radiators on walls that are not adjoining inside rooms and face outside. Your handyperson can give you some solid advice on where they will be most effective in your home.

        Don’t lose heat through the cracks

        Make sure that your house isn’t losing heat through the windows, doors and floors. Floorboards are not great at retaining heat, especially if they are older boards and have gaps in them. Even laminate flooring can get very cold when winter comes, so think about getting a rug to stop cold air coming in and heat going out. Decent socks and slippers will also keep you feeling very toasty too.

        You should also consider getting a draft excluder for your doors, and even for windows. Rolled up towels can also work as a stopgap. Decent curtains with a lining will help retain heat – the heavier the curtain the better for this. Keep curtains closed when you are out and close them when it gets dark to retain the heat for as long as possible. Conversely, open them in the daytime as the sun will heat the room for you, for free!

        Draught excluder door keep warm winter
        Draught excluders can be bought from most home furnishing stores, or we can source one for you

        Lining your loft keeps you home warm in the winter and beyond

        Proper insulation in your loft ensures that there is minimal heat being lost from the top of your home. There are a couple of types of insulation, such as loft boards or loft insulation rolls. They are all designed to stop warm air from escaping from the attic space. It’s good to get a professional in to do this for you, as some of the materials can be irritating and difficult to lay properly.

        Dress and cover yourself for warmth in your home this winter

        Don’t forget to look after yourself by dressing warmly this winter, even if you are staying in the house. Slippers and socks are important of course but also use blankets when you are lounging on the sofa. Wear pyjamas to bed, and underwear underneath if you feel you need it. A blanket on top of your duvet is also a great idea as your temperature fluctuates during the night when you sleep.

        Make sure you are eating right, because the right amount of fat for your BMI helps you keep warm too. Alcohol makes you lose body heat so drink it in moderation, or not at all.

        Keeping you and your home warm – we can help

        We are happy to give you all the help and advice you need to prepare yourself for the colder months. Our handyperson team can assist with lots of smaller tasks that will soon add up in the warmth stakes. If you need help with insulation, our project management team are well equipped to assess what needs to be done and arrange the repairs as soon as possible. Drop us a message for an obligation free chat!

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          How to unblock a toilet or sink

          There’s nothing worse than having a blockage in the bathroom. It’s inconvenient at best, and a nightmare at worst. Especially if your only toilet is blocked! If you’ve ever wondered how to unblock a toilet or sink easily, this guide is for you.

          This advice will help you unblock a toilet or a sink, but sometimes the issue calls for the expertise of a plumber. Our handypeople are experts in all manner of plumbing problems around the home. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’re struggling to clear the blockage on your own.

          Cleaning a blocked toilet with bleach and rubber gloves
          Before you break out the bleach, read our brief guide to unblocking a toilet simply and safely.

          Unblock a toilet in three simple steps

          It’s easy to tell if you have a blockage in the toilet pan. At one point or other in our lives, we’ve watched with dread as the flush water rises up to the toilet rim. Even if the water does drain away slowly but surely, there is still some obstruction that needs attending to before it gets worse. Usually, a blockage will sit in the pan’s outlet. Any further down in the drainage system might be more difficult to take care of. So, grab your rubber gloves and apron, and let’s get the water flowing free again!

          Step 1 – first try a warm bucket of water

          Take a full bucket of warm water and pour the water into the toilet pan from a height. This will usually clear a very simple blockage with the warm water dislodging anything that is stuck and a bit of force from the poured water. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use a bit more elbow grease.

          Toilet flushing with water and a blue and orange block freshener
          Amazingly, sometimes all it takes is a bucket of warm water to dislodge whatever is blocking your loo.

          Step 2 – use a good old-fashioned toilet plunger

          You’ll need a large toilet plunger rather than the smaller ones designed for sinks. How do you know which type is for toilets? Toilet plungers have a flange that folds up into the plunger cup when not in use. The flange creates a tight seal by completely covering the hole. You can get long handle ones that make it a lot easier to work on your blockage.

          A toilet plunger should also be completely submerged in water to work, so if the toilet isn’t full of water, take your bucket and fill it up with warm water again. You also need to make sure the water won’t overflow. There’s usually a cut-off valve on the pipe behind the toilet that you can turn off. However, some older toilets won’t have this so you’ll have to go into the toilet tank and prop the float up so the tank doesn’t refill when it’s flushed.

          Put the plunger under the water and completely cover the pan outlet. Pump the plunger handle up and down, which creates an air vacuum that dislodges the blockage. Have an old towel or kitchen roll on hand to soak up any water that does spill as you pump the plunger. Expect to have to keep pumping for a while – 10 to 15 minutes should do it. If it doesn’t something more heavy-duty might help.

          blocked toilet long handled plunger
          A long-handled plunger is easier to use and helps you get enough plunging force.

          Step 3 – use a drain auger

          Not everyone has a drain auger, but it’s a good idea to have one for emergencies. You’ll need one that’s designed specifically for toilets. An auger is a wire coil that either has a turn handle or an automatic winder handle with a trigger. Its probe goes around the toilet’s U-bend, rotating as you turn the handle, pushing through the blockage to dislodge it. Make sure you wear protective gloves, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and clean the auger thoroughly with bleach after use.

          Unblock a sink in three steps

          If your sink becomes slow to drain water away, or stops draining it completely, there’s probably a blockage in the waste pipe. Most of the time this is caused by accumulated grease, waste or fibres caught below the plughole. If the water doesn’t drain away at all then there’s usually some obstruction caught in the waste pipe. Before tackling a blocked sink you’ll need to put on some rubber gloves, an apron or an old top, and if you’re using any chemicals it’s wise to wear safety goggles too.  

          kitchen sink with easy use mixer tap handle and overflow
          Don’t forget to block the overflow (under the tap in this image) before you start plunging!

          Step 1 – use a sink plunger

          Firstly, remove any debris that is in the sink. Scoop out as much as you can. Take out the plug if it is in. Next, fill the sink up with water. Just like with the toilet plunger, we need a little water in the sink to help with suction. Ideally, you would also put a damp cloth into the sink’s overflow (the small air vent that is usually below the taps). This helps to stop the loss of pressure when you’re plunging. If it’s a dual sink you’ll need to block the other sinkholes in the same way.

          This will give enough pressure for you to plunge. Take your sink plunger and create a seal around the hole. You’ll need to pump the plunger up and down vigorously for up to 30 seconds. Remove the plunger and see if the water is draining away. You will likely need to repeat this step several times.

          Step 2 – use a chemical cleaning product

          If step 1 didn’t do the job, you should try using a chemical cleaner instead. Before you start, the experts recommend that you smear some petroleum jelly around the plughole to protect it from chemical damage. You’ll definitely need gloves and goggles for this step, and don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using the cleaning product. Chemicals are highly toxic, so be careful when handling them. Make sure you do not use these types of products where you might have used bleach or other chemicals as this can cause a reaction that produces harmful gasses.

          unscrewing a sink waste trap to unblock a sink
          This is what a sink waste trap looks like. Unscrew the turn caps to loosen and remove it.

          Step 3 – remove the waste trap and use an auger

          If that hasn’t worked, it’s time to remove the waste trap. Grab a bucket to place beneath the trap, which is situated under the sink. This will catch any water that comes out of the pipes. You’ll need to put your gloves back on and unscrew the trap. Be prepared for a sudden gush of water! Empty the trap out into the bucket.

          If this has not unblocked the sink then you’ll need to use a drain auger to probe into the pipes, which will hopefully reach and unblock the obstruction. Once this has been completed, screw the trap back on. Make sure you also put the washers and o-rings back on too. Be careful to not overtighten the trap when you put it back on, in case you need to repeat this step in the future.

          using a drain auger plumber's snake to unblock a sink
          A drain auger, also known as a plumber’s snake, should help to get rid of that pesky blockage once and for all!

          It can be difficult to unblock a toilet or sink – so if you are struggling don’t hesitate to call in a professional plumber or handyperson!

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            How do you fix a leaking gutter?

            If your gutters have sprung a leak you’ll want to get them repaired as soon as you can. In order to fix a leaking gutter you need to know what the root cause of the problem is.

            Gutters should allow any rainwater to flow away freely. If the water is pooling and overflowing from gutter pipes it can saturate the walls below it. This can cause some serious structural damage to your house in the long term. That’s why you should fix a leaking gutter as soon as you can. In order to do that, you need to know what’s causing the problem first.

            fix leaking gutter repair

            What causes gutters to leak?

            There are lots of things that can cause a gutter to leak. There are three main areas where you are likely to have a leak: the downpipe joint, the gutter joint or along the gutter length.

            If there is an obstruction in the downpipe of the gutter itself then you’ll notice overflowing water. This is more than just an annoyance with the dripping or gushing water spilling onto people below. It can be a trip hazard as well as cause structural damage in the long run. You should aim to get your gutters and downpipes cleaned or cleared at least twice a year to avoid blockages.

            Dirt and grit can also get stuck in the seal between joints. This happens when pipes contract during cold weather, trapping small debris inside as it shrinks. This creates a small gap for water to escape from, making it doubly important to keep the gutters clean throughout the year.

            How gutter wear and tear happens

            Gutters will expand and contract throughout the year with the change in the seasons and the weather. If they aren’t cut to the right length then expansion and contraction can expose the seals or not have enough pressure between the seals to seal tightly enough. Most modern guttering systems are made to handle the changes in temperature, but older ones will be subject to serious wear and tear over time.

            Even things like snow falling from your roof or sustained weight upon the gutters can cause repetitive damage. A heavy impact from a ladder if you are having roof repairs can do a lot more damage than you think, weakening it before the elements get to it or exacerbating an existing problem. Loose gutters or downpipes may be missing connecting bolts or clips.

            Quickly fixing a leaking downpipe or downpipe joint

            First, if the water is overflowing from the hopper head at the top you should check to see if there is a blockage in your downpipe. You may be able to use a garden hose to blast out a simple blockage caused by leaves or small debris. To do this, cover the drain the turn on the water, aiming the hose up the pipe. You can also dislodge slightly tougher obstructions using a wire placed into the top of the downpipe. For lower down blockages you can take the section of pipe off and insert a wire or drain rod into that section directly.

            For a leaking downpipe joint, first clean the area to remove any dirt, loose paint or rust. You can purchase repair tape to wrap around the joint. Overlap the ends of the length of tape then squeezing tightly to mould the tape to the shape of the joint. Once it’s dried, you can use your garden hose or a bucket of water to flush some water down the pipe to check it is fixed.

            fix leaking gutter downpipe

            Using sealant for cracks and holes in gutters

            Roof and gutter sealant might be more appropriate for the joints of metal pipework, and also cracks or holes. Again, you’ll need to clean the area around the crack or the joint. Also scrape off any excess rust if it’s metal. You’ll need to fill the cavity with just enough sealant, making sure to smooth it down with your finger (use gloves!) or a sealant smoothing tool.

            For cracks and holes, first seal the inside area, wait for the sealant to dry, then seal the outside. You’ll still need to smooth the sealant down and test that the hole is repaired once it’s dried by flushing water down the gutter or pipe. Weatherproof tape is sometimes a good option for gutter cracks too. However, you may find it harder to seal the area properly compared to using sealant.

            Replacement parts for leaking guttering

            If you have older gutters or metal ones, you may find it difficult to source the exact parts you need. Luckily, some gutter parts from different manufacturers are interchangeable. You’d just need to know the width of the opening at the top of the gutter, the shape, and the type of material it’s made from. Generally, downpipes are easier to replace as they are usually either just round or square-shaped. However, if you’re finding any of this difficult it’s much easier to call a local handyperson with gutter repair experience. They can do the hard work for you.

            How We Care Home Improvements can help

            Our trading standards approved service and award-winning handypeople can tackle a multitude of jobs in your home and garden. Our local, friendly and trusted tradespeople are more than just typical handypeople. As well as knowing how to fix a leaking gutter they include experienced plumbers and carpenters.

            Whatever job you need a helping hand with at home, we can send someone out to do the best quality work that you can rely on, for a competitive price. Contact us today for a quote or some obligation-free advice.

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              What to do in a plumbing emergency

              Burst pipes. Leaks. Flooding. We all dread these things happening in our homes. Here’s how to handle a plumbing emergency if it happens to you.

              Water damage can ruin your home, so you’ll need to act quickly in any case of a plumbing emergency like leaks or flooding. The best thing to do is not to panic, but to know about the basic steps you can take in the first instance. You’ll need a few basic tools and a little knowledge before you call in the pros to make any fixes permanent.

              handyperson we care home improvements plumbing emergency leak tap pipe
              Before you call in a handyperson or plumber, there are a few things you can do yourself with a little knowhow

              The very first thing to do in a plumbing emergency

              If you do get a leak or burst pipe, make your home safe by immediately turning off the electricity at the fuse box. If water gets into sockets or electrical appliances the situation can quickly turn from an inconvenience into something more deadly. You’ll need to make sure that no water got into these places after the leak has been taken care of. If it did, make sure that everything has dried out before you turn the power back on.

              Next you should turn off the water

              You should also turn off the water supply in the property. Learning how to turn off the water can save a lot of time and effort if you have a burst pipe. To turn the water supply off for the whole house you’ll need to find the internal stop tap. This is usually in one of the following places:

              • Under the kitchen sink
              • In an airing cupboard
              • In a downstairs bathroom
              • Under the floorboards by your front door
              • Under the stairs
              • In the basement or cellar

              Turn the tap clockwise to stop the water. You will then need to run the hot and cold water taps in your home to completely drain the system. This should stop any leaks in their tracks and allow any repairs to be done safely.

              If you have a leak under the sink you might be better off isolating the taps rather than turning off all the water in the house. You’ll likely see red and blue isolation valves under the sink, for the hot and cold taps respectively. Turn them clockwise and do the same as you would for the main water valve. There are ways to isolate the water to places like the toilet and the washing machine too. If you aren’t confident to do these just turn off the main water supply.

              Look after your valves

              It’s important to know where your water valves are and to keep them well maintained. You should check them every 6 months. Try opening and closing them. If they can’t be turned easily you can apply some oil or lubricant to them. Just make sure that they aren’t completely open as this makes them more likely to seize up. Close them by up to a half turn once you’ve checked them. That should mean that they are easy to close if there is a plumbing emergency. Once the water is off you can either call in a pro or try to tackle the problem yourself with our helpful advice.

              plumbing emergency handyperson
              Don’t be intimidated by your pipes! You only need to know the basics to save yourself a lot of time and hassle

              Fixing a burst pipe

              It’s possible for you to make a temporary repair to a burst pipe before calling in a plumber or handyperson. However, you’ll need to have a couple of supplies and basic tools to do so.

              The quickest way to stop a leak from a burst pipe is to apply a pipe repair clamp. These can be bought from some DIY or hardware stores. Some literally clamp onto the pipe with no tools needed whilst others have to be screwed on with a screwdriver. Check the instructions before buying so you’ll know what you need and what to expect.

              Self fusing tape – handy in a plumbing emergency

              The other way to make a quick fix to a pipe is by using self-fusing or self-amalgamating tape. This is a special type of tape that creates a watertight seal around pipes and hoses. Here’s how to use it:

              1. Wipe the pipe clean on either side of the hole so that the tape can bond easily.
              2. Cut about 20cm of tape off with a pair of scissors and remove the backing from the tape. Once the backing tape is removed you’ll need to work quickly otherwise it loses it’s stickiness.
              3. Stretch the cut bit of tape out to roughly twice its length. Start wrapping the tape tightly around the pipe, starting slightly away from the hole. Keep the tape tightly stretched as you’re wrapping it around the pipe, overlapping half of the tape so that it bonds to itself.
              4. When you reach the hole in the pipe, leave a gap where the hole is and wrap the tape over to the side of the hole. Keep on wrapping until you reach the other side of the hole. Then go back the other way with another layer of tape, this time covering the hole.
              5. Do this until the hole is completely sealed. Press down firmly when you reach the end so that the end of the tape bonds with itself.
              we care handyperson plumber plumbing sink pipe emergency repair
              Our handypeople team includes expert plumbers who can tackle a variety of plumbing problems in your home

              Fixing leaking pipe joints

              It takes pipework and soldering knowledge to completely fix a leaking pipe joint. However, plumber’s repair putty can do a remarkable job of completely sealing leaking joints.

              1. Dry the pipe with a cloth and then key the area that needs sealing with a wire brush.
              2. Put on some rubber gloves to protect your skin and fingers, then take enough putty to cover the repair. You’ll then need to roll and work the putty with your hands until it is a consistent colour all over.
              3. At this point, you’ll then need to quickly put the putty over the damaged area of pipe joint. Work it into the gap between the pipe and the joint to seal it up, smoothing it down as much as possible.
              4. Leave it for 24 hours to completely harden before turning the water back on.

              What to do about leaks from water storage and tanks

              If you spot water leaking from your ceiling below the loft there may be a leak in your water storage cistern or tank. If you don’t have water storage in the loft then there may be a roof problem that needs to be attended to. In either case, you’ll need to act quickly by going up to assess the situation before water damage causes a ceiling collapse.

              If the water storage tank is indeed leaking you should put buckets, bowls or containers underneath the leaking areas to catch any water. It’s important to go and turn on all the taps in the house and flush the toilets. This will empty the pipes and the cistern (as long as the main stop valve is off).

              The leak could be caused by a burst pipe, but it might also be the cistern itself leaking or overflowing. If the leak is coming from a hot water cylinder you’ll need to turn off the boiler. There is usually a draincock around the base of the cylinder that will allow you to drain it using a hose, but if this proves to be difficult or intimidating to do you should just call in a plumber.

              Investigating any leaks helps you and the plumber

              Being able to take these initial steps in the event of a plumbing emergency will save damage to your home and your possessions, and maybe even save your life in extreme cases. It also helps the plumber or handyperson when you initially describe the problem to them, as well as later when they can crack on with the repairs.

              we care home improvements handyperson handyman plumber sink trap leak repair
              Call in a skilled trustworthy handyperson to permanently fix any leaky pipes and taps

              Nobody wants to get a plumbing leak – it’s an inconvenience at best and a nightmare at worst! With the help of this guide, you can tackle it head-on with confidence. Once you have, contact our handyperson team. We’ll send one of our skilled plumbers who can fix the problem for good.

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                How to create an accessible garden

                Just because your needs have changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying your garden. Make it more accessible with some smart changes and adaptations!

                Gardens and gardening. A great British passion and pastime. Your garden might be your haven in a hectic city and a busy life. A place where you entertain guests on summer evenings. A place where you grow plants, flowers and vegetables. Or maybe it’s just the place you hang the laundry when the sun is out!

                In any case, we all love this special part of our home that lives and breathes outside of the four walls we spend most of our time in. Many people would love to spend more time in their gardens, if they weren’t harder to get around now that their health has changed. Some people find it daunting to downsize to a patio or terrace, or tackling a garden that’s now overgrown.

                There are laws in place now that advise on how accessible new build homes must be, but there are no rules around gardens. It’s well known that gardens can help with mental health and wellbeing, so why not transform your garden into a place that is accessible to you and anyone that enters it.

                Accessible garden paths enable access for all

                The first thing that you might think of when making your garden more accessible is paths. The path certainly needs to be wide enough for two people to walk side by side. It may need to be slightly wider if one of them is a wheelchair user. The path doesn’t necessarily have to be brick or tarmac. Concrete doesn’t quite scream garden does it! However, laying gravel is a cost-effective way of making a pathway that is also safe, even for wheelchair users. As long as it is laid properly with a secure base and a top layer pounded down to compact it, it will be absolutely fine for wheels.

                Anyone using a wheelchair or with a visual impairment will greatly appreciate decent edging. Edging means clear borders showing where the path ends. You might consider raised brick, stones, coloured timber, short knee-height hedges, and LED lighting running along the path when it’s dark.

                Your needs will determine how to make the garden accessible

                Some things will be dependent on your specific needs. For example, low hedges might be hard for you to trim yourself if you can’t reach down or kneel. However, for a wheelchair user, they can be at the perfect height. It’s also important to think about who will be joining you in your garden. It’s a good idea to have a variety of seats and benches at different heights if you’ll have tall or short guests, young children, or those who might find it difficult getting on and off low chairs. You might also have benches or seats with and without armrests – wheelchair users will find it easier to transfer to a chair without an armrest.

                It’s worth considering lightweight folding tables and chairs too. That way you could host a party but still make your garden accessible at other times when you’ll need the space. Remember that a garden by its nature might not always be accessible for everyone, but you can do as much as you can to make it as simple and as easy for yourself and the main group of people who will join you in your garden.

                Handrails can make your garden easily accessible again

                Handrails will make sure that anyone who needs some support whilst walking can access parts of the garden that they otherwise wouldn’t reach. Kee Klamp rails are very strong and secure galvanised tubular rails that won’t rust. You can have them painted or buy powder coated ones that will complement the garden or stand out so that they are easy to spot for those with visual impairments. You may also be interested in some bespoke rails; there are many steel and iron railings that might add some style to steps or raised platforms for a fancy finish as well as extra safety.

                we care home improvements accessible garden rails older disabled person
                We Care’s Handyperson service can help by installing rails

                Raised beds are a great idea

                If you’re looking to keep working in your garden then making sure that your garden is at a manageable height is key. Raised beds are great for those who can’t kneel or are wheelchair users. Raised beds are good for plants and flowers like perennials, shrubs, vegetables and soft fruits. They are easier to manage and water, with a bigger soil volume than containers. Just make sure that they aren’t too wide and are definitely at the right height for you.

                They also need to be in a place where you can easily access them, but also where the plants contained inside them are going to get the amount of sun or shade that they need. Clever planning here is key, which means that the layout of the garden will need to be considered before any raised beds are put in. Alternatives would be smaller tabletop style beds or containers, preferably ones with locking wheels if you need to move them about to give them more sun or make space at any point.

                raised bed accessible garden wheelchair user
                An example of a raised bed

                Vertical gardens are quirky and easy to reach

                Another alternative to a raised bed is a vertical garden. This means vertically suspended panels either free-standing or attached to a wall, that contain plants, flowers or vegetables. Some even come with the ability to store pots inside so you can easily swap out the plants that are growing in them. They are great if you are short on space or can’t bend over or twist your body to access a raised bed. They can also liven up drab walls!

                It’s a good idea to think about where plants and branches might be hanging. You don’t want to be brushed or hit in the face with something sharp or that obscures your vision. If you want plants that are low maintenance then grasses and perennials are the best, as you won’t need to do much pruning or cutting.

                Garden maintenance is important

                It’s easy for gardens to get overgrown during the autumn and winter, especially if you find it harder getting around than you used to. Making a garden accessible is only possible once it’s cleared and tidied. It’s worth getting a home maintenance technician or handyperson to tackle the lawn, bushes and weeds. That way the rest of the improvements can be made with ease. An experienced gardener might need a few hours to take care of everything efficiently, saving you time and money. Tell them what you want them to do and what you’re planning to do to the garden afterwards. They’ll be able to give you some great advice about what is possible with the space you have.

                If you need advice about accessible homes and gardens, you know what to do

                Contact us to discuss your needs. We’re always happy to help, even if it’s just mowing the grass or giving some practical advice. We’ve got experience in garden maintenance as well as home independence. We’ll do what it takes to improve your home around you. After all, you should be able to enjoy your garden, now and always.

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                  We Care Home Improvements and 3SG – working in Bath and North East Somerset

                  We Care Home Improvements is proud to be a member of 3SG (BaNES Third Sector Group). 3SG supports the charity, social enterprise, faith and voluntary sector operating in Bath and North East Somerset. They share daily news and run various events throughout the year, as well as promote local job opportunities.

                  3SG is an independent membership network supporting the charity, social enterprise, faith and voluntary sector operating in Bath and North East Somerset. The aim of the charity is to raise the profile of it’s members, provide 1-1 support and give them a chance to influence local strategic decision making. 

                  They are not aligned to any political party or campaign group and receive no local authority funding towards their core costs.

                  3SG runs and promotes relevant charity events, training and disseminates information and charity job opportunities. They also promote charitable activities and facilitate co-operation between community organisations and statutory bodies in B&NES such as the Council, Virgin Care, CCG and Community Volunteer Services in Bath and North East Somerset. In December 2018 3SG became a registered charity and a founding member of the West Of England Civil Society Partnership.

                  In 2020 they launched the Compassionate Community Movement which is a broad initiative that brings together people in Bath and North East Somerset to support each other. In April 2020 they launched the Emergency Volunteer Response service supporting thousands of people with urgent food and medication. The movement also ran a successful Compassion at Christmas campaign in December 2020.  Visit the campaign page here.

                  If you’d like to find out more, then you can get in touch with them by emailing: