Mum battles on for her son

Gemma Prescott with her three year old son Joe who suffers from cerebral palsy. Picture: Malcolm Billingham S0150MB
Gemma Prescott with her three year old son Joe who suffers from cerebral palsy. Picture: Malcolm Billingham S0150MB

YOUNG Bolton mum Gemma Prescott is gutted by a last minute let-down on a home adaptation for her severely disabled son.

Plans for a long-awaited through-floor lift at her council home on The Green, were shot down when Gemma, 29, received a visit from a Barnsley Council representative this week.

She was told the lift she has waited months for, that will transform her life and that of her three-year old son Joe, is back on hold.

“The installation company has gone bust so the whole tendering process has to run again. I’m really struggling and was so dependent on getting this lift. Now it will be months and months”, said Gemma.

Little Joe has cerebral palsy and no mobility. Gemma has another three-month old baby, Millie, and her partner Tony works long hours in a bid to support his family. Gemma is a qualified mental health nurse but was forced to give up her job to care for Joe. She carries him up and down stairs constantly as he is sick and needs frequent showers. His feeding equipment must be carried with him and he has spasms that render his whole body rigid.

There was a further blow when the family found out a week prior to Joe starting at Greenacre Special Needs School at Barnsley, that no transport will be provided until Joe is five.

And Gemma has been told there is no cash from the Council or the NHS for an adaptation to Joe’s heavy pushchair, that would allow her to take both children out together to local shops.

Desperate for help, she is now to speak to local MP John Healey to see if he can support their situation.

“I don’t want to moan but it’s hard to describe how difficult managing everything can be”, said Gemma. “This news about the lift just seemed the last straw. There are charities that can help with funding but most aren’t available to us because Tony’s working. We never have any spare cash”.

Gemma is grateful to Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice, who set up the Little Hopefuls support group at Thurnscoe to bring together families of children with challenging conditions.

The group champions children’s and families’ needs and is currently fundraising for sensory equipment for Joe, as he can not use toys. On Monday, ex-army man turned tattooist Ryan Smith of Briton Street, Thurnscoe, will do a 15-mile sponsored run to Doncaster and back. He was touched by Joe’s plight and aims to raise as much as he can towards the £2,500 needed. To sponsor him, telephone 07738 017035