Children in Need carer and her disabled brother face eviction and homeless ordeal

An eight-year-old carer featured on Children in Need is facing eviction along with her severely disabled brother.

Georgie Leith starred in the BBC charity drive in November to highlight her role in helping mum Laura Gavigan look after Archie, five, who was born with most of his brain missing.

But the family have now had to turn to crowdfunding to try to raise cash for a deposit for a new home after being threatened with eviction.

Laura, 36, claims she has had no help from the authorities to get a place suitable for Archie, who is blind, cannot speak or move independently and requires 24-hour care.

He has severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy and is fed through a tube.

Laura has been given notice to quit their private rented home in Kippen, near Stirling, by January 30 because the owner wants to sell it.

They have already had a three-month extension past the original deadline.

The family desperately need adapted accommodation but have been told there is none through social housing.

Single mum Laura said: “Archie is getting bigger now and we really need a home which is adapted.

“We need things like hoists to lift him into the bath. But even homes with basic facilities like that are not available.

“He is blind, wheelchair bound and needs 24-hour care. As of January 30, we will be homeless unless I illegally squat which is a last resort.

The family need adapted accommodation for Archie who is severely disabled (Image: Daily Record)
“I nearly lost my son twice last year. He has a life-limiting condition and I’m not willing to put him under any more strain, he’s too important.”

Stirling Council have offered her a property but it has no adaptations and Laura says it is too far away from her vital support network.

She has set a fundraising target of £100,000 to help secure an adapted house in the private sector.

Laura said: “The children’s father and grandparents live nearby and there is no way I could manage living further away on my own.

“It would be detrimental to my kids’ health and mental stability and my own.

“Georgie has had a difficult time but the school has helped her immensely and she is settled now. If we took the house we are being offered she would have to start again at a new school.

Georgie Leith appeared on Children in Need to highlight her role as a young carer for brother Archie (Image: BBC)
“After discussions with the council, it became apparent that the housing situation hasn’t changed much in the three years since we first applied.

“Three-bedroom homes accessible for the disabled are few and far between.

“In the last five years, only two adapted properties have been turned over in this area. They are like gold dust. We are on a council waiting list for a house that doesn’t exist.

“I’ve been told that I need to take my children into homeless accommodation and unless I tick a box for an area that is away from my core support network, they can’t house us.

“There is a complex needs department in the council who will build a house if need be, however you have to already be in a council house to be accepted.”

Without an adapted property, she also faces losing in-home respite care for Archie. Laura added: “As a single mother that would be a nightmare.”

Consultant paediatrician for Forth Valley NHS Dr Michael Colvin has written to Stirling Council saying that Archie’s health would be “adversely impacted” by “an unsuitable living environment”.

Laura has been in discussions at Holyrood over new policies for children with exceptional needs. She feels her family – and others in a similar position – face discrimination.

 

The family have received a notice to quit their rented home
She said: “Since I’ve raised this in the special needs world, it is clear I’m not the only one affected.

“Our children don’t fall into tick box criteria, neither do our circumstances.

“Organisations aren’t communicating with each other. They don’t realise how important having a safe environment is, not only for Archie but all children with exceptional needs.

“People who don’t have disabilities or don’t need adapted properties are living in disability adapted council housing.

“There are no private lets, or if there are, they are around £1200 a month plus a deposit, which I can’t afford.”

A Stirling Council spokesman said yesterday: “The offices working on Ms Gavigan’s case are unavailable today so it is not possible to provide a detailed response.

“Stirling Council continue to work with the Gavigan family to support them during this period.”

The family’s Just Giving page can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/homeforarchie

Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/young-carer-disabled-brother-could-11782758

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1 Comment

  1. yiour social worker is legally obliged to help in such circumstances.
    county councils have to find the money to cover recommendations of county social servicesi’m disable i get help even though i’m in kentgjust about the stingiest local authority in england

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