THE family of a severely disabled 14-year-old forced to twice leave specially adapted homes because of the bedroom tax said they are having to fundraise to convert a third home.
Nicole Derbyshire, from Blackburn, has suffered from epilepsy from the age of one, is frequently in hospital and sometimes has more than 100 fits in a single day.
The teenager, who uses a wheelchair and is unable speak, currently lives with her mum Andrea Buxton, stepfather, Mark Buxton and younger brother Mitchell, 12 in Rothesay Road, Shadsworth.
Despite her difficulties Nicole, who attends Newfield special school, is described by her family as ‘full of joy and happiness’.
Nicole’s family have been forced through bedroom tax issues to downsize their home twice as her older siblings have left home Their current house is not adapted for her needs, but her family said they were having difficulties securing a disability assessment grant from Blackburn with Darwen Council.
Older sister Alex Kilshaw, 20, has now started an online appeal to raise £2,000 for a stairlift.
Alex said: “Nicole has severe mobility issues and has the mental age of a two or three-year-old. Despite these problems she is simply the best sister in the world. She is always happy and smiling and never cries. Nicole generates so much love and joy and to see her and my mum struggling breaks my heart.
“We had a six-bedroomed house at one time in Intack as there are seven brothers and sisters but since then we’ve had to move twice as our family got smaller. My mum got fined £1,500 for the bedroom tax and they now live in a three-bedroomed house in Shadsworth. The other homes were adapted to help Nicole, with a safe area, padded floors as she falls down a lot and other assistance.
“We’ve struggled to get a Disability Assistance Grant for this house so my mum has to carry Nicole up and down stairs. Mum’s got arthritis in her legs and is taking steroids for that so it’s heartbreaking to see them struggle but we cannot afford the amount for a stair lift for Nicole.”