HomeHome > Blog > Mum


Jul 27, 2023

Cheryl Shaw says she is struggling to live in the cramped and mouldy conditions of her one-bedroom council flat and is desperately pleading with the local authority for a move.

Share your email to get the latest property news

We have more newsletters

Share your email to get the latest property news

We have more newsletters

A family including seven children under the age of 16 have been 'forced' to live in a cramped one-bed council flat.

Cheryl Shaw has been living in the mould and damp-ridden property with her kids since last year. The mum was given the property when she was pregnant with her youngest child Laila but her other six children moved in shortly after.

Manchester Evening News reports that each morning Cheryl wakes and clears her living room floor of the makeshift bed that her and three of her children are forced to sleep on so they can use the little space there is to play. Now she says she is at breaking point, fearing for the safety of her children and pleading with her local council for more space.

Read more: Second 'deliberate blaze' at Bothwell restaurant as police probe firebombing

She said: "I'm trying to fight. I do everything everybody asks me to. The kids can't sleep properly - the situation is awful.

The council told the M.E.N no five-bed socially rented properties have been available in the area since July 2021. Cheryl claims she has been advised to move further out of Manchester for a better chance of successfully bidding on a larger flat

But she feels moving away from her family and support network is 'setting her up to fail'.

She said: "Even if they give me a three bed I can make it work. I just want them to give me a house that's suitable for me and the children."

The mum is currently paying £389 per month for the mouldy property.

Cheryl continued: "The children have always got coughs and colds. The damp worries me. It's just horrible. I have got clothes round the back of my settee because I don't have anywhere else to put them. First Choice Homes know all about the mould.

"They told me you need to open your windows. They said you have too much washing and drying but what else am I supposed to do?"

"It is affecting my mental health. I recently was in hospital diagnosed with shingles due to stress and worry. The kids can't sleep, they need their own bedrooms.

"I honestly don't know where to turn. I have done everything. All I want is a little bit of help and for my children to be able to sleep properly and go to school with a fresh head."

A First Choice Homes Oldham spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment about an individual tenant because of our commitment to protecting confidentiality and our obligations under data protection law. That said, when information is brought to our attention, we review that internally and act swiftly to address any shortfall in services including any report of damp and mould which we prioritise immediately.

“We are making our contribution to addressing the chronic shortage of social housing. Last year we built 137 new homes, and we are on target to build 188 this year, including larger family homes. We are committed to providing homes that are safe and fit for purpose and would encourage any of our customers experiencing any issues to contact us as soon as possible so we can work together to resolve them.”

Sign up to our daily Glasgow Live newsletter here to receive news and features direct to your inbox

An Oldham Council spokesperson: “We’ve been made aware of this particular case and we are working with First Choice Homes to support them in finding a temporary housing solution which meets the residents current needs. Unfortunately, the housing crisis means we cannot always guarantee there is a sufficient number of houses available to bid on, in particular those with a higher number of bedrooms, as these homes are in very high demand and rarely become available.

“But no one should have to live in substandard housing no matter the circumstances, we’ll be working with FCHO to correct this issue as soon as possible.”