A HOUSING association has won an award for major changes it has carried out to help people with sight loss remain independent for longer.

Newydd Housing Association won the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Cymru's Visibly Better Platinum Award for their work at Gwyn James Court in Sundew Close, a housing scheme for people aged 55 years and above.

Work has carried out on innovative changes inside and outside the development such as a wide level access path around the building, installing tactile paving leading to the car park and highlighting kerbs adjacent to the road, ensuring that tenants with sight loss can navigate their way and enjoy spending time in the gardens without worrying about access and safety.

Internally, the communal areas at Gwyn James Court now have lighting controlled by movement sensors and window tinting has prevented glare from affecting poor vision.

Repositioned signage now allows tenants to read at eye level or to easily reach Braille and coloured handrails as well as painting different areas within the building means that tenants can easily identify where they are.

Trained Newydd tenants have critically assessed the work, carried out by contractors LCB Construction, with support from Cathryn Hughes from RNIB Cymru. Throughout the process they ensured the work was up to standard and suitable for fellow tenants.

Heather Douglas [third from right in image], a Newydd tenant and RNIB Cymru Scheme Assessor said: "I have lived at Gwyn James Court since 2006 and as RNIB Tenant Assessor have seen positive improvements made to meet RNIB Visibly Better standards.

"The contrasting colour scheme and Braille on walls and doors is very helpful to tenants with visual impairment.

"The new footpath around the scheme provides tenants with access to washing lines and the garden, and the outside lighting gives added security.

"These improvements have made Gwyn James Court a safe and pleasant scheme for all of us."

The RNIB Cymru Platinum Award was presented to Jason Wroe, housing director at Newydd by Ansley Workman, network manager at RNIB Cymru on July 12 at a celebration afternoon tea at Gwyn James Court.