A RURAL local authority is encouraging its older and vulnerable residents to apply for grants so they can live more independently in their homes.

The cash awards of up to £50,000 are currently available from Ribble Valley Council.

Some of the grants are not means-tested.

The council receives around £347,000 a year from the government for house adaptations.

They are a mix of means-tested disabled facilities grants (non-means-tested if the facilities are for children) of up to £50,000 and non-means-tested discretionary grants, called Ribble Valley Adaptations, of up to £7,000 for a range of measures such as accessible showers and stairlifts.

Rachael Stott, the council’s housing strategy manager, said: “Many residents in need of adaptations do not qualify for means-tested assistance, yet their need is equally pressing, and our discretionary grants have enabled us to double the number of households we are able to help.”

Adaptations are recommended by an occupational therapist and the work funded and overseen by the council’s surveying team, ensuring it is undertaken to the highest standard.

Ribble Valley has an above average number of older residents – 20.3 per cent of the borough are aged over 65, compared to 16.3 per cent nationally.