A TEN-year-old disabled girl forced to sleep in a dog cage has a new bed – after city chiefs performed a dramatic U-turn.
Sadie Fenton Hunt, from Chesser, suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and cannot be allowed out of bed at night in case she hurts herself.
City chiefs refused to provide a special padded cot to secure her safety, forcing desperate mum Effie to make do with a padded dog cage.
The council came under fire after it said it would provide a special chair and bath, but not a bed – despite Sadie’s previous local authority in Northumberland providing one. A council spokesman said at the time that Sadie “didn’t meet the criteria for a cot bed”.
But it has now performed a U-turn under mounting pressure – providing the youngster with the customised bed and issuing an apology to Sadie and her family.
A council spokesman said: “We have urgently reviewed Sadie’s case and are taking immediate action.
“We are going to provide the family with a new bed which will meet her current and future needs. We would like to apologise to Sadie and her family for any upset caused.”
Sadie’s family moved to the Capital from Northumberland in January to be nearer Effie’s mother.
Effie, 41, had previously been forced to use a metal dog cage to keep Sadie safe at night, and last night spoke of her relief at the council’s decision.
“It’s fantastic that they are going to fund the bed for her and look at their criteria for other families in the same position,” she said.
“Sadie will get the bed that she needs. It will mean sleep at night for her and the rest of us. It will make a comfortable and safe environment for her. It makes all the difference.
“It’s half of her life sorted out. It’s brilliant.
“The council were probably embarrassed or it was brought to the attention of someone higher up. They haven’t done anything before today.
“They will hopefully fund other families, because I know there are lots of families in the same situation as we are. I do hope it comes to that.”
Children’s disability charity Newlife, which had been supporting Sadie and her family as they began fundraising for a special bed, said it was “very pleased” the council had reversed its decision.
Operations manager Stephen Morgan said: “We are very pleased that Sadie’s needs will be met now and in the long term. We hope local services will review their criteria to prevent these circumstances happening again.”