Mum’s agony in sad fight to help her son

Amanda Hellman and her son
Amanda Hellman and her son

The mum of a teenage cerebral palsy sufferer has opened her heart about the difficulties faced by parents of disabled children.

Amanda Hellman has spent a decade on and off trying to get an extension at her Shevington home to create a suitable bedroom and bathroom for her 14-year-old son Louis Telford.

At the moment he is going round the house on his knees. The fact he could stand up is a miracle for me

Amanda Hellman

The case is currently awaiting further approval from the town hall’s planning department after Ms Hellman and a health professional became concerned the bathroom would be too narrow to accommodate Louis’s wheelchair.

The delay and living in a building site has caused some anxiety for Ms Hellman as Louis is due to undergo a major operation this summer which could mean he will be able to use a walker for the first time in his life.

Wigan and Leigh Homes, which owns the Inward Drive property, says it is doing everything it can to resolve the situation and is determined to have the extension finished by the time Louis goes for surgery in Oswestry in July.

Ms Hellman said: “I’ve no back garden at the moment, there’s just piles of bricks everywhere. It’s fair enough we have to wait for planning permission to make the bathroom bigger but I just want to get it done.

“I don’t even have the blinds open in the kitchen because it looks onto a building site.

“He’s going for the operation at the end of July.

“His legs are bent so they are taking bone out on both sides which would make them straight enough to use a K-walker. At the moment he is going round the house on his knees. The fact he could stand up is a miracle for me.

“There’s a real risk of infection if he has had major surgery and there’s still dust from the building work coming through from the kitchen.”

Ms Hellman originally applied for the extension at the back of the property in 2006.

However, work did not begin straight away and Louis and his brother spent a lot of time with her ex-partner as he had a bungalow which was more wheelchair friendly, which meant the plans for the bedroom and bathroom went onto the back burner.

The children began spending most of their time with Ms Hellman again about three years ago and the process of reviving the extension plan began. Work finally got under way in April last year but stopped again a month later due to the need to return to the drawing board and create a bigger bathroom.

As this requires making the whole extension wider the neighbours have to be consulted to ensure they are happy with the building coming closer to their properties.

Wigan and Leigh Homes says it has asked the planning department to treat the case as a matter of urgency.

Matt Roberts, director of asset management and development at WALH, said: “We have been supporting the family and have been in regular contact with Mrs Hellman over the last year to make sure this gets resolved.

“After initial work had started Mrs Hellman expressed concerns over the size of the extension that had been agreed and requested changes to the original plans. The plans needed to be revisit and another submission to planning was needed because of the increase in size requested.

“This is being dealt with as a matter of urgency and we are doing all we can to get the right approvals for work to continue We have invested a lot of time in making sure the extension is right and provides the very best care and support for Mrs Hellman’s son.”