Brainy Speak

Stuff that matters

A family of eight saw in the New Year with no central heating or hot water.

Two days after Christmas Amanda Mathers called in Stoke-on-Trent council having smelt gas in her three-bedroom home.

The mum was told that the maintenance work would not be carried out until at least after the Christmas break on January 4, Stoke Sentinel reported.

To keep the family warm over the bitterly cold festive period the council provided one heater for Amanda, her partner, David Pritchard and the children aged two, five, nine, 13, 15 and 16, after the family kicked up a stink.

The 38-year-old said: “The council told us they did not return to work until January 4 and had no cover so we had to wait.

“It was not good enough, especially with children in the house.

“I was not happy at all because it was so cold and they expected us to live in a three-bedroom house with that one heater and it was not possible.

“The temperature was freezing in the morning. It affected us because the children have been waking up in the night telling us they are cold.

“I’ve had to split the one heater between three bedrooms.

“We are wearing blankets and extra layers and having to shut the doors in the living room just so we can have the one heater and the fire on in there.

“If the door is open you feel the draught straight away.”

Amanda said the situation was “very frustrating and ridiculous.”

“It has been cold at night and the kids have all taken hot water bottles to bed with them,” she continued.

“My son woke up one night and told me it was freezing so I had to put that one heater in his room and shut the door so he got a little bit of warmth.

“They could have at least sent more than one heater for us. I’m disgusted that they think one heater is going to warm a three-bed house with six kids.

“It has had a massive impact on us.

“I can’t dry the clothes or do the dishes – the little things in life you take for granted.

“We can’t have a warm bath and I was worried about the kids catching colds.”

According to Shelter most repairs in homes run by councils or housing association are the responsibility of the two types of organisation.

These include heating and hot water, gas appliances and toilets.