Twice as many renters in the North West opt for comfy cushions over a neighbourly chat when setting up home, say Shelter and B&Q

46% of renters in the North West – the equivalent of 305,000 people – say cushions and furnishings are key to settling into a new home, compared with only 21% who say it’s speaking to their new neighbours, according to research by Shelter and B&Q.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by the housing and homelessness charity and its partner B&Q, probed tenants in the North West on their attitudes to home improvement and what makes a rented property ‘feel like home’.

On the question of DIY home improvement, a huge 67% of renters in the region revealed that they want to personalise or improve their pad. And 47% of renters said they would feel happier in their home if they could decorate or improve it themselves.

Also high on renters’ lists in the North West for making their new place feel like home are:

Getting TV and internet set up (63%)
Putting your own pictures up (45%)
Making the bed with your linen (36%)
Inviting friends round (27%)
Having your first bath (21%)

The findings support the work of Shelter and B&Q’s new partnership, which aims to make home improvement accessible to all, including those in housing distress.

As part of the partnership, B&Q will fund a team of six specialist Shelter DIY advisers located across the country to work with people at risk of losing their home, as well as those settling into a new home following a period of homelessness.

The advisers not only provide home improvement help, but train and equip people with basic DIY skills so that they can continue to maintain their own homes. The three DIY advisers already in post have successfully helped 173 people in the last three months alone to improve and keep their home. And the charity expects to help hundreds more in the coming months as the service expands with B&Q’s support.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “At Shelter we see first-hand through our DIY service how something as simple as a fresh lick of paint, or a cleverly placed set of shelves for a wheelchair user, can make all the difference in helping someone to settle into their home.

“Every day we speak to renters in the North West who desperately want their rented place to feel like it’s their own, and the simple fact is renters who are allowed some choice over how their home is decorated often feel much happier and more secure.

“Equipping people with essential DIY skills means they can create a real home where their family can put down roots and build a future. Thanks to B&Q’s support, we can now support many more people to improve their home so that they can stay there for the long-term.”

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