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News Archive > General > Stay Home Stay Cold

Stay Home Stay Cold

By Matt Dixon 16th January 2021

Stay Home Stay Cold
Loic Rich, left, Tregolls ward councillor for Truro City Council, has been battling to help disabled mum Cassie McIlwraithe while Paul Caruana, right, set up a Go Fund Me page which raised almost £300 in just one hour

A disabled mother of five has been forced to spend £20 a day on electricity after being left without heating or hot water for almost two weeks.

Lockdown restrictions have meant that council tenant Cassie McIlwraith, who lives in Trelander, has had to endure freezing temperatures at home, while she waits for her boiler to be fixed.

Loic Rich, Tregolls ward councillor for Truro City Council, told the Voice: “Despite multiple attempts to contact Cornwall Housing, I have had very limited response. Nobody has seemed to grasp the seriousness of it. Someone needs to go to her property as a matter of an emergency.”

The boiler broke down on New Year’s Day and has also caused a leak which flooded a cupboard. The council did provide electric heaters, but they are costing Cassie £20 to run and are only “taking the edge off”, said Cllr Rich.

On one occasion, despite being in lockdown, Cassie was left with no option but to take her young children to a sympathetic neighbour’s house, to enable them to have a wash.

Cllr Rich has managed to secure a hardship grant for her, while friend Paul Caruana hastily set up a Go Fund Me page which raised almost £300 in just one hour. She has received that money which will help to cover electricity costs until the council is able to fix her boiler.

Paul added: “Cornwall Council has a duty of care towards their tenants, especially those who are disabled. The way that Cassie has been treated is totally unacceptable. “We have just been through the coldest part of winter and the whole family has had to struggle without hot water or effective heating for the house.”

Cassie was dealt another blow on Monday, when a visiting engineer explained he was unable to do anything until the piping had been fixed by the council.

Cllr Rich, who is also a Cornwall councillor, added: “I’m at my wit’s end, because I’ve seen situations like this before. I’m absolutely staggered that she has been left without heating. They provided some electric heaters but they are only just taking the edge off the cold. We’re being told to stay at home and to stay well, but the impact of the cold and the stress of the situation could have been catastrophic.”

Cassie said: “It’s appalling they have only just been out today. I’m cold and my kids have a cold as well.”

The Voice contacted Cornwall Council for a response on Monday morning. A Cornwall Housing spokesman said: "This is a warranty repair that was delayed by Baxi. We have been in contact with the councillor (Loic Rich) regarding it. "Baxi were to attend on Friday but postponed until Tuesday. "We have been very clear about the urgency and have provided heaters to the tenant in the meantime."

By Matt Dixon 16th January 2021

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