Mum despairs as Bexley Council offer extension for disabled boy but no stair lift

News Shopper: Mum Miriam is struggling to get him up the stairs with her bad back Mum Miriam is struggling to get him up the stairs with her bad back

A MUM has spoken out against Bexley Council who she says are insisting she gets a £30,000 house extension for her disabled son rather than a stair lift.

Mrs Cahill of Sandgate Road, Welling, is struggling to carry her five-year-old Callum upstairs because of a back problem and says she will be forced to put him into care if she cannot get a stair lift.

The youngster suffers from autism and global developmental delay and requires round-the-clock care.

News Shopper: Bexley mum despairs at council's offer of £30,000 extension instead of stair lift for disabled son

When she approached the council for modifications to be made to her stairs they did an assessment and said she would have to have a house extension instead, costing around £30,000.

Mrs Cahill, 40, says the extension would block out a large portion of the living room area, meaning it will be cramped for her other three children, aged four to 13.

News Shopper: Bexley mum despairs at council's offer of £30,000 extension instead of stair lift for disabled son

She told News Shopper: "I’m trying to save them money by asking for a stair lift instead of an extension but they said it would be unsafe because he might fall out - but I don’t know why we can’t use a harness.

"I spoke to a company, Welling Mobility, who said they’ve fitted them for lots of disabled children before and used to work for Bexley Council.

"It’s stressful enough having a disabled child anyway and then to cope with this is too much.

"We will be forced to put him into care if the situation doesn’t improve, which we really don’t want to, but I just can’t carry him any more."

She has appealed to Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett for help and he has spoken to Bexley Council on her behalf to help resolve the issue.

Welling Mobility manager and main engineer Keith Hunter told News Shopper: “I spoke to Mrs Cahill about this and since she assured me her son would never operate the chairlift himself or use it unsupervised, it would be safe for him to use. There is no need for an extension.

“We have fitted a chairlift for a child before.”

News Shopper: Bexley mum despairs at council's offer of £30,000 extension instead of stair lift for disabled son

Bexley Council response

A spokesman for Bexley Council said: “We are sorry that Mrs Cahill is disappointed with our decision.

“Two occupational therapists have assessed her son Callum and decided that at present his disability is such that a stair lift would be unsafe for him to use. Callum's safety must be our priority.

“The family have been provided with a powered stair climber. We met Mrs Cahill, with a representative from a stair climbing company, to advise her on how best to use this and would be happy to do so again.

News Shopper: Mum despairs as Bexley Council offer extension for disabled boy but no stair lift

“If this doesn't help, we have offered Mrs Cahill other options.

"These include a downstairs extension, including a new wet room and bedroom, keeping the stair climber and creating a downstairs toilet and installing a bath lift or adapting the upstairs bathroom to include a bath lift or shower all on one level.

“We have also offered the family a sizeable grant or an interest free loan to help them move to a more suitable premises. We are happy to continue to work with Mrs Cahill to find a solution.”

Comments (3)

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11:41pm Mon 24 Feb 14

sarfflondonbird says...

It seems it has to be no expense spared, can't decide whether this is good or bad decision making by the council. The mother is trying to save the council humongous costs of putting in wet room, toilet and extra bedroom, which will no doubt count in the bedtoom tax department later and will take up space downstairs, but they insist on going ahead because of so called health and safety regs! Yet a simple request for a Stair lift, no doubt saving thousands and is deemed more beneficial for mother and son is denied. Do health and safety mob go out of the way deliberately to be contrary?
It seems it has to be no expense spared, can't decide whether this is good or bad decision making by the council. The mother is trying to save the council humongous costs of putting in wet room, toilet and extra bedroom, which will no doubt count in the bedtoom tax department later and will take up space downstairs, but they insist on going ahead because of so called health and safety regs! Yet a simple request for a Stair lift, no doubt saving thousands and is deemed more beneficial for mother and son is denied. Do health and safety mob go out of the way deliberately to be contrary? sarfflondonbird

8:27am Tue 25 Feb 14

patwoodhouse says...

Why can the new extension not come in the form of say a simple 4ft square lift, maybe located in the void of a chimney breast to minimise disruption? An extra ground floor bedroom and wet room is all very nice, but it sounds as if Callum can't be left for long periods so he needs to be able to go where his Mum is. If she's upstairs, he needs to be able to get there too.
Why can the new extension not come in the form of say a simple 4ft square lift, maybe located in the void of a chimney breast to minimise disruption? An extra ground floor bedroom and wet room is all very nice, but it sounds as if Callum can't be left for long periods so he needs to be able to go where his Mum is. If she's upstairs, he needs to be able to get there too. patwoodhouse

9:39am Wed 26 Feb 14

dizzy13 says...

Surely as he grows up a room on the ground floor with facilities will be better then carrying him upstairs? And the comment she'll have to put him into care is a bit much.
Surely as he grows up a room on the ground floor with facilities will be better then carrying him upstairs? And the comment she'll have to put him into care is a bit much. dizzy13

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