Family plea for better home for Oliver

Andrea and her son Oliver. Picture by George McLuskie
Andrea and her son Oliver. Picture by George McLuskie

A Methil family whose little boy spent the first eight months of his life in hospital has appealed to the Council to find them a more suitable home.

Andrea Kelly and her husband Michael were delighted whenson Oliver was finally allowed home in October 2013.

I just want the best for my kids.

Andrea Kelly

The Mail covered the story of his homecoming after a difficult start to life. Before he was even born, it was confirmed Oliver had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) which affects the heart ventriicles, and Oliver had his first heart surgery at just four days old. He has since had two more open heart surgeries.

Now two and a half, Oliver is doing better, but still needs a wheelchair to get around as he suffers from scoliosis of the spine. Doctors have told the family that Oliver will eventually need surgery.

The family has been on Fife Council’s housing list for over 18 months, and medical staff who have helped with Oliver, have submitted numerous letters on their behalf requesting a larger and more suitable home which would suit his needs.

Andrea said: “We live in a top flat in a four block.

“Oliver can’t even go outside and enjoy fresh air because we don’t have a garden.

“We can’t get the wheelchair up the stairs and it will be even worse when Oliver needs spinal surgery. I just want the best for my kids.”

The family - Andrea and Michael, and Oliver’s two big brothers and big sister - were dealt a further blow last month after the Council refused their disablement relief request on the grounds that the home did not have any adaptations.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Andrea. “We keep being told to move to a private let, but even with Michael working full time, we just can’t afford it. I feel like we’re being penalised beacause my husband works.”

Peter Nicol, Lead Officer (Access & Support) said they were aware of the situation. “The family is looking for a specific type of property and unfortunately there are no suitable properties at the moment. Four bedroom properties are in high demand and it can take some time before something suitable becomes available. We’re rarely able to provide a suitable property immediately. This is because we must take into consideration the needs and preferences of applicants. The location and property types Ms Kelly has chosen do not have a high turnover, so I’m unable to give an accurate timescale of how long Ms Kelly may need to wait.”