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Leeds mother’s battle to find a house fit for her daughter

Hayley Watkinson  with daughter Ruebecca McClarnon-Trainor, aged four.
Hayley Watkinson with daughter Ruebecca McClarnon-Trainor, aged four.
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“I feel like I’m in a fight with Muhammad Ali, I’m on my knees, I’m spitting blood and I’m getting digs.”

This is how Leeds mother Hayley Watkinson describes the daily emotional struggle of trying to improve life for her daughter Ruebecca.

The youngster, now four-years-old, was born premature with cerebral palsy.

Full-time carer Miss Watkinson has been waiting for a council house for a year-and-a-half despite being at the highest level of priority, she said.

Miss Watkinson, 29, of Harehills, says she is in desperate need of a bigger and more accessible home so that her only child, who uses a wheelchair, has room for independence.

Her current house has a set of steps leading up to the front door, meaning Miss Watkinson – who has her own health problems – has to carry Ruebecca up and down them every day.

She also has to carry her up and down the narrow stairs in their Brownhill Crescent home.

“There is no place for Ruebecca to explore and play.

“It’s very difficult. She’s growing up and getting bigger. She’s just getting heavier and heavier.

“At the moment she can only get in the living room and the kitchen and both of those are tiny.

“I just want her to be able to explore, to be able to go into the garden or bedroom by herself.”

Miss Watkinson, who has diabetes and kidney problems, said that a bungalow would be ideal for the pair.

She added: “I really do not want to carry on moaning about how the property is unsuitable for us but there are lots of reasons why I need to move soon.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “In order to help families we adapt properties so people can remain in their own home or adapt a more suitable council property for them to move into. We are happy to meet with Ms Watkinson to discuss her housing situation in more detail and look at options available to her family.”