Disabled five-year-old left in ‘unsuitable’ West Lothian council house following mother’s tragic death
The single father of a five-year-old girl says he fears for his disabled daughter's safety in their ‘unsuitable’ council home.
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Arabella Green was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis which causes her joints to curve in an abnormal way.
The five-year-old girl from Bathgate has endured numerous painful operations at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital and cannot walk or bend her arms.
Tragically Arabella’s mum Catherine, who suffered from PTSD and depression, took her own life in March 2021.
Since then, Arabella has moved in with her father, William Green, 35, and her step-sister Shannon Green, 16 in a two bedroom council flat in Bathgate.
Mr Green, who has given up his job as an electrician to care for his youngest daughter full time said their living situation is ‘impossible’.
“She has lost all of her independence,” he said.
The worried father said he has to carry his daughter from room to room because her specialist wheelchair cannot fit in the house.
He said: “There are too many stairs in the house and it’s not safe for her. There is no way to get her specialist wheelchair up the stairs.
“It’s totally unsuitable. She has to sleep in the living room because she can't get upstairs. She ends up just rolling about on the floor and I have to carry her around.
“I have contacted West Lothian Council asking for help but I am not getting anywhere.”
The dedicated dad said Arabella’s health is his number one priority
Mr Green has grown worried about how his daughter’s condition is impacting her happiness.
“She’s started asking why god made her like this,” he said. “And I don’t know what to tell her. I say it’s because she’s special to try and comfort her because I don't know what else to say.”
The family was due to buy a house this year but this money will now be used to pay for a £125k specialist operation, not available on the NHS, which could help Arabella walk.
The diligent father has put his home-owning dreams on hold and set up a GoFundMe page to raise the cash needed for surgery and investing his own savings in this campaign.
“My number one priority right now is getting Ella a better living situation,” he said. “And to fundraise as much as possible.”
A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “Mr Green has been given a wide range of support and guidance from various council services with regards to both his and his daughter’s current situation following recent tragic events.
“The family’s current housing situation and the medical needs of Mr Green’s daughter means he would be prioritised if a suitable tenancy became available that meets their needs. The Housing service recently carried out a housing options interview with Mr Green to discuss his options with regards to housing, and make sure all his circumstances have been taken into account in accordance with the council’s allocations policy.
“The Community Occupational Therapy Service provided support with the initial housing application and a property needs assessment to ensure that any properties identified suit the needs of Mr Green’s daughter. The service is available to review the current housing environment to identify any equipment that may help provide a more comfortable living situation in the immediate future, pending potential rehousing.
“Support has also been made available via the Social Work service and Mr. Green can discuss his own and Arabella’s needs with this service at any time.”