Kingston mum launches campaign to get council to provide suitable home for son, 5

A mum has started a campaign against Kingston Council in a bid to get them to provide suitable housing for her permanently-ill child.

Kelly Jones started the Get Vinnie Grounded Campaign in November 2020 and aims to raise £10,000 to ensure Vinnie, aged five, has appropriate facilities for when they move.

The 38-year-old noticed the council were leaving properties empty that would be suitable for Vinnie but claims the authority have done nothing to help her.

She said: said: “Kingston Council knowingly left my family in unsafe accommodation and the overall management of housing within the council is poor.

“Our bathroom is not adapted so I have to stand on the bath and lift Vinnie’s heavy equipment up to the wall.

“On average I lift Vinnie 32 times a day.

“We’ve had a serious mould issue which can have detrimental effects on those who suffer with respiratory illnesses, which Vinnie uses a ventilator for.”

Currently, living in a first floor flat Kelly struggles to lift Vinnie and his life saving equipment up the stairs.

The council refused Kelly’s application of a platform stair lift in 2017 on the grounds of overcrowding and that no adaptations were possible to the property.

Kelly said: “They have been aware since 2017 that our property was dangerous.

“Vinnie has no independent movement and relies on his power chair so without it in the property he cannot move around unless I move him.

“My hope is that by publicising their failures and applying pressure they would move quickly in housing us.”

The council allocated Kelly a house shortly after she started the campaign, however she claims the floor plans do not meet Vinnie’s needs.

At the end of last month, the council’s architect submitted a plan with an extension layout that is acceptable for Vinnie and is currently awaiting planning permission.

Kelly believes with improved management the housing sector could be coordinated better.

She said: “Kingston Council keep properties empty, as stated in a leaflet to Cambridge estate tenants that 80% of social housing was being kept vacant to decant for the regeneration.

“Elderly and disabled adults are in big houses they can no longer access upstairs because of mobility issues.

“Some are now being charged with bedroom tax.”

In 2015, at 9 weeks old, Vinnie was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition called spinal muscular atrophy type 1, causing children to lose their ability to walk, swallow and breathe.

The progressive muscle-wasting disease kills most children before the age of two.

Vinnie started a clinical trial in 2015 saving his life but still requires round the clock care.

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