A little Vale boy is getting his dream bedroom after a big-hearted company steps in to end the family council’s two-year battle to make it safe.
Five-year-old Barry McLaughlin has Pica, a rare condition that causes him to chew on wall and floor coverings, and is waiting for the West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership to make life-saving adaptations.
We reported three weeks ago how mum Caitlyn is constantly worried about him getting hurt and fighting to get the job done.
A roll of linoleum, provided by WDHSCP, has been sitting in his hall since last summer, with the walls and floor still bare and the electricity not yet complete.
But she was overwhelmed when London-based Impact Group UK got in touch to offer to remodel Barry’s bedroom at their own expense.
The company had already provided an estimate for the work over a year ago, which Caitlyn says she passed on to the council, but nothing came of it.
Commercial Director James Cooke read our story online and contacted Caitlyn committing to outfitting the space safely, including an ocean-themed wall and built-in TV.
Caitlyn said: “It means so much to us. After the story was in the Lennox I thought maybe it would give the advice a boost, but I never thought for a minute that a company would reach out to me.
“Someone had tagged James in the story and he messaged me on Facebook.
“He said, ‘If you don’t mind, we’d like to come out and make Barry’s room as safe as possible. You won’t need to worry anymore. We’re going to make it safe and fun for him.”
” I could not believe it. I was in floods of tears. I thought it was such a beautiful thing to do.
“A year ago they did a quote which I showed the council but they said it was too expensive. I offered to pay part of it as it included the cost of a TV which I did not expect them to pay.
Director Michael Blake told the Lennox Herald that the company, which specializes in installing hygienic surfaces in healthcare, hospitality, leisure and homes, did not hesitate to contact Caitlyn after seeing our story.
He said: ‘We didn’t hear anything else after we did the quote so we assumed it was done.
“When we found out she was in the same situation, we knew we had to get the job done.
“We’re going to create a really fun and safe environment for Barry and it will give Caitlyn peace of mind knowing her son is safe.”
The mother-of-two has previously said there was ‘no dignity’ in her room, which only has a bed for Barry to sleep on.
He’s eaten the floor underlayment, baseboards and wall coverings and needs materials around him that he can’t try to eat or rip.
Impact Group UK specialize in the work to be done and James and his team traveled from England last week, spending five hours assessing the work to be done.
They plan to return in a few weeks to complete the work over four days, replacing the wall and floor coverings and installing a fun wall for the aquarium.
Caitlyn said: “They sent me different options for the feature wall and I picked one that I knew Barry would like.
“There are fish, corals, whales and turtles. I was expecting a plain wall but he said they wanted to make it fun for him. He will love it.
“They are going to install a television with a plexiglass screen on it. There will be a false wall with wires and sockets behind it, so there will be no chance of him chewing on anything. I don’t have to worry about him sticking his fingers in the sockets.
“It’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to see his face when it’s done.
“He has a few little friends he can invite over to play in his room and it’s going to be really good for him to be able to have his own space.
“For me, that means I can fall asleep at night without worrying about him choking on something he ate.
“I’m so grateful to them.”
Jackie Baillie MSP had already denounced the delay after revealing that the WDHSCP had £6million in reserves.
She said: “I warmly welcome the intervention of Impact Group UK, but it is shameful that they had to step in to complete work that WDHSCP should have done in 2020.
“Families in urgent need should never have to wait years for help and this cannot happen again, especially as the HSCP sits on £6million in reserves.
“The HSCP needs to do the right thing and pay for the work to be done and apologize to the McLaughlin family for not helping when they should have.”
A WDHSCP spokeswoman said: ‘We strive to provide a responsive and efficient service to all of our residents and would again like to apologize to Ms McLaughlin that the timelines for this work have been affected by the absence of staff. due to the pandemic.
“We will continue to liaise with Ms McLaughlin to provide support and ensure that all work at her home is completed as required.”