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Finsbury Park mum: ‘I can’t take any more of this damp’

Sleeping on the sofa ‘has become the norm now’ as autistic son is forced out of his bedroom

13 April, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Jenny Woolward with son Lenny in the damp bedroom

A MOTHER has been reduced to sleeping on her sofa while waiting for serious dampness to be tackled in her autistic son’s bedroom.

Jenny Woolward, 38, has camped in her front room most nights for the last two weeks to allow her six-year-old son, Lenny, to sleep with his dad Alfie.

Severe damp was uncovered in their son’s bedroom in Roth Walk on the Andover estate in Finsbury Park before Easter. It has made his room inhabitable, the family say.

But the mum-of-one was told by workers the next available appointment to tackle the dampness would be at the end of April.

It follows her boiler breaking and toilet and sink leaking earlier this year, she said.

Ms Woolward, a carer for her son who has high-functioning autism and attends The Bridge School, said: “It’s like it’s become the normal now, and I really don’t want it to become the norm.

“Raising a child with special needs is hard emotionally and there’s now added pressure with the house problems. I’ve got to keep him out of that room as I don’t want him breathing that in.

“But getting him back into that routine of sleeping in his own bed is going to be a lot harder the more time that passes.”

Residents often complain to the Tribune about dampness in council-owned properties.

Similar concerns over what the council was doing in the long run to solve a dampness issue were raised at a protest at Park View estate, in Highbury, earlier this year.

If re-elected in May, Labour says it would invest £15million on major work to address damp problems on the Andover and Girdlestone estates.

The Green Party is pledging to make the council a “better landlord” if it is elected.

Ms Woolward said: “I know there’s a lot of other people on this estate also suffering with damp. I feel like I’ve been let down by the council. I can’t take any more, I’m at the end of my tether.”

After the Tribune contacted Islington Council about Ms Woolward’s plight on Wednesday, it confirmed that work had been brought forward to help her.

A council spokesman said: “We understand and sympathise with the distressing situation this family is in, and have worked with them to carry out the necessary work on this flat as soon as possible.

“The first contractor was unable to carry out the work before April 30, but we have found another and agreed with the family that works will start on April 13.”

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