Mother's plea as she fears for toddler's life living in mouldy flat in Bridgend

Aimee and her daughter moved into the flat eight months ago. Credit: Media Wales

A woman said she fears for her daughter's life after she keeps getting hospitalised while living in a mouldy flat.

Aimee James, 18, Bridgend, says she and her 20-month-old are having to sleep on a sofa in their living room because the two bedrooms are infested with damp and mould.

She said her toddler has been hospitalised four times with severe asthma.

The single mother is pleading for urgent help from the Valleys to Coast (V2C) housing association.

She said: "I'm suffering really badly with my mental health. I'm 18 years old — I shouldn't have to be dealing with this. I just want a happy life with my daughter. I shouldn't have to worry that my daughter is going to die."

Aimee and her daughter - who she did not want to be named - moved into the flat around eight months ago.

She said she first noticed damp in the home around two months ago and claimed it has quickly ruined many pieces of furniture, clothing, bedding and toys.

Mould can be seen growing on the mattress and up the wall in the room of Aimee's daughter. Credit: Media Wales

She said the recent case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould, has left her fearing for her own daughter's life.

Her child has struggled with severe asthma since being born but Aimee now fears it has worsened since the damp appeared.

She said her daughter has been admitted to the Princess of Wales Hospital four times.

"Any little thing affects her chest and she can't cope," said Aimee.

"She panics because they put an oxygen mask over her face when her levels are low. She has also had a tube in her nose."

The child's GP has written a letter to the housing association expressing concern that there is a "significant damp problem", that the child is "coughing a lot" and that she has developed "very itchy skin".

Aimee has found mould growing on different pieces of furniture and bedding. Credit: Media Wales

The letter asks that V2C consider moving the mum and daughter to a "more appropriate" home.

Aimee, who also has asthma, initially complained about the damp to Bridgend Council, which advised her to contact the landlord V2C.

The housing association, which manages more than 6,000 homes in Bridgend, said it first recorded a mould complaint on 11 November and scheduled an inspection for 2 December, after which it would carry out any necessary work.

The mum said: "When we first moved into the flat, I noticed the rubber seal on the windows had come off.

"They let in a breeze even when they're shut, but you also can't open most of them. The floors were cemented and there was no carpet on them. I couldn't afford a bedroom carpet so I covered the floor with rugs.

Mould growing on the windowsill in Aimee's home. Credit: Media Wales

"After a few months I moved the bedroom drawers and noticed there was a green mould underneath. I started moving furniture and noticed there was more mould. It was black on certain things. Since then it's just got worse."

When she first moved into the flat, Aimee had to buy furniture herself and rely on gifts from family and friends.

"We can't go out and buy new furniture," said Aimee. "I'm on a £55-a-week hairdressing apprenticeship and getting about £240 a month in government benefits. There's hardly any money left after the gas and electric and rent.

"For the last three weeks we've been sleeping cwtched up on the sofa because the damp hasn't affected the living room that I know of.

"But the dodgy windows let in a breeze and we can't afford heating.

"Other parents I know have got their child in a routine where they go to bed in their bedroom and mummy's bedroom is next door. She hasn't been able to have any of that. She doesn't properly know what a bedroom is.

Most of the new furniture Aimee bought when moving into the flat has been ruined she says. Credit: Media Wales

"She is a happy kid and barely ever cries unless she's seriously unwell. When I say she can't go in her bedroom she doesn't scream, she just plays with the few toys she's got in the living room."

Aimee said V2C should put her and her daughter in temporary accommodation until the flat is safe.

A spokeswoman for the housing association has said "We received a report from Miss James regarding mould in her flat on November 11, and as per our usual procedures a survey was booked. This is taking place on Friday, December 2, following which we’ll take any remedial actions required.

"We remain in contact with Miss James and have advised her regarding the separate issue of her application for transfer."

A Bridgend Council spokesman has said: “The householder has contacted the council regarding a complaint of mould within her flat, and we have advised her to speak to V2C as her registered social landlord.

"Following this, if she still feels that the matter has not been resolved, we will make a referral to the Shared Regulatory Service and will ask environmental health officers to look into the issue.”