Home at last - young mum who lived in 'damp' social housing gets keys to new house

A young Lincolnshire mum says she finally feels at home after being moved from a mould-ridden bungalow to a two-bed refurbished house.

Hollie with Regan-James, 18 months, and Cassidy-Mai, aged three, have finally moved into their new home in Skegness.

Hollie Hobson waved goodbye to the old people's bungalow in Horncastle which she had been fighting to leave for two years at the beginning of the month.

She has feared the damp was affecting her children's health and her mum, Helen, had appealed to our newspaper to help raise awareness of their plight.

Receiving the keys to her new home in Skegness was 'a dream come true' - and Hollie told us she was grateful to Platform Housing for finding her a suitable property and making it perfect for her.

Hollie with Regan-James, 18 months, in their new kitchen.

"Platform have been really helpful in finding this home and making it perfect for us," said Hollie.

"I'd seen it before and met with Platform before we moved in and they agreed for a new kitchen to be put in and even provided a new fridge freezer and washer from their well-being fund.

"The shower was also faulty and they have put in a new one and an extractor fan, so there is no worry about damp.

"I have been a managed move this time because of everything I've been through and Platform have been really good."

Hollie's mum, Helen, contacted our newspaper after the first property they were offered in Skegness showed more signs of damp.

The property is a far cry from the 'damp' bungalow they had lived in at Horncastle - and the first house in Skegness they were shown, which also had similar issues as well as an 'overgrown garden and broken fence' and led to our article.

Since moving into the new home in Orchard Way, Holiie's mum, Helen, has been helping with the decorating.

The house now has new carpets and flooring, paid for by Hollie, and her mum is painting throughout and doing some wallpapering.

"We've nearly finished the decorating - we just wanted these jobs done so we could move in," said Hollie.

"There are other jobs like putting together some storage so I can get things put away but we are getting there."

Hollie is hoping the Skegness air will help improve the health of her son, Regan-James, who is being treated at at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham for a chest condition.

"They are still exploring the cause, but he has been poorly for two weeks every month and I'm hoping the new property and Skegness air will help him," Hollie said.

"My daughter, Cassidy-Mai - also has health issues and is being tested for ADHD, so living in Skegness where there is plenty to do to keep her occupied has made the world of difference to us.

"It has changed our lives and we are so grateful for the help we have received."

Our newspaper first reported on Hollie at a time the state of rental properties nationwide was being featured in a special report by ITV. An investigation revealed 10 million people in the UK live in homes that do not meet suitable standards.

Government statistics show that the annual cost to the NHS each year is £1.4billion.

One in five winter deaths are attributed to damp and cold housing.

Former Health Minister Matt Hancock told the ITV: "We have seen some horrific examples in some parts of the country and housing is having a clear impact on people's health.

"What I want to do through the whole of the health system is focus on what causes ill health - not just picking up the pieces afterwards - and housing is at the centre of that approach."

We spoke to East Lindsey District Council who are currently working to raise standards for tenants in the area.

The authority is currently delivering Green Homes Grants to residents across the district. These will improve the energy efficiency of eligible properties through measures such as external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, floor and loft insulation.

Raising the standards of the fabric of buildings will help reduce fuel poverty by lowering running costs. The scheme is open to homeowners and landlords.

Those living in rented properties who believe they could benefit from a grant may wish to speak to their landlord directly, or get in touch with us and we can approach them on tenants’ behalf if the eligibility criteria is met. For more details visit https://www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/greenhomesgrant or call 01507 613573.