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Cramped housing forces Bodmin family to eat on floor.

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

TIGHT SQUEEZE:   Andrew and Susan Dowling and seven of their eight children at their home in Nanstallon.

TIGHT SQUEEZE: Andrew and Susan Dowling and seven of their eight children at their home in Nanstallon.

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A FAMILY of ten say their home is so cramped the children are forced to eat their meals sitting on the floor.

The Dowlings live in a three-bedroom council property in Nanstallon near Bodmin and have had no option but to convert the dining room into a bedroom for some of their children.

Andrew and Susan Dowling have eight children aged between seven months and 17 years, and have been trying to secure a larger property through Cornwall Council's Homechoice register, but have got nowhere.

Mrs Dowling said: "We're all living in quite a small property and even a four bedroom house would help, but we've been told by Homechoice that four bedroom properties are only available to a family with a maximum of seven people, and we're ten.

"A six-bedroom house was available which would have been ideal, but they wouldn't let us bid for it."

She said their present council house was far too small for the family's needs, particularly for one of her children who has autism.

"Our dining room is now a bedroom," she said.

"There just isn't the space to put a table in there, or anywhere else, so we can't sit together and have our meals like a normal family.

"Some of the kids have to eat sitting on the floor, which isn't good. Our five-year-old has autism and it's impossible to teach him table manners, and because we're all living on top of each other it's not easy for him, and he takes it out on the other children.

"It's become very hard for us all to live here."

Cornwall Housing told the Cornish Guardian it was unable to discuss individual cases, but there was a shortage of housing suitable for large families.

A spokeswoman said: "Homechoice works by assessing the housing need of the applicant and then gives opportunities to 'bid' on suitable social housing throughout Cornwall.

"Generally, Homechoice applicants in the most urgent need have the best chance of bidding successfully for social housing to rent.

"Unfortunately the demand for social housing is far greater than the supply in Cornwall and any vacancy will be allocated to the bidder in the most housing need. Added to this is a particular lack of accommodation for larger families; there's a shortage of properties even for cases assessed as Band A or B on the Homechoice register."

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10 comments

  • chuckjaeger  |  January 28 2013, 7:26PM

    I agree with all the comments above unfortunately. To have more children than you can accommodate or afford to have is surely a form of child abuse. The only people I feel bad for in this story is the children. They have a child with autism with all the challenges that goes along with it but continue to have more. Ironically, if I went out and got seven dogs and then went pleading to organisations because I could not house or feed them in an appropriate way those very same dogs would be taken off me. I apologise in advance for the harshness/insensitive nature of my comments, it's just my honest take on it.

    |   1
  • kingofkernow  |  January 27 2013, 4:53PM

    What a fine upstanding member of the community this man is ! http://tinyurl.com/bhgyrv4 And why is it that the benefit scroungers, criminals and "something for nothing" brigade all seem to have accents from the North ? No doubt I will be slatted for such a comment but there is no avoiding the "Elephant in the room" !

    |   4
  • Jonny2010  |  January 26 2013, 6:33PM

    A great example to those children: http://tinyurl.com/a43mjls

    |   1
  • Monalisa  |  January 25 2013, 9:01PM

    48 convictions and a spell inside! Media should not be given this mans attention seeking airtime. If you cannot afford to house the children you should not have had more. If you do not wish to abide by the Law or contribute to Society you should not expect to be kept by the Taxpayer.

    |   10
  • AndyTheRoo  |  January 25 2013, 3:52PM

    Love the comments on this article. If you can't afford to have children (especially 8) and provide for them, don't! To those that would say "well it's done now so give them a 6 bedroomed home" I say no, it's time for people to learn that actions have consequences.

    |   8
  • AndyTheRoo  |  January 25 2013, 3:52PM

    Love the comments on this article. If you can't afford to have children (especially 8) and provide for them, don't! To those that would say "well it's done now so give them a 6 bedroomed home" I say no, it's time for people to learn that actions have consequences.

    |   13
  • Doitdreckley  |  January 25 2013, 2:33PM

    If you live in a three bedrrom house that is one bedroom for mum and dad and one each for the kids - ie 2 kids. Unless you can sustain a regular and big income for 8 kids (which unless you are a doctor someting and even then their profession is threatened) then dont have them.

    |   15
  • jadedoldie  |  January 25 2013, 1:46PM

    I see from the local TV news that they have managed to squeeze in a large dog.

    |   15
  • Kernow_83  |  January 25 2013, 1:20PM

    Totally agree with Kimmyp's comments. Why do these people think they have the right to automatically move to a larger property, which would be funded by the state? Obviously I've no idea on their personal circumstances, but having eight children whilst living in a council house - why should others have to pay to support such a large family?? Do people in this country just expect to continue to recieve hand-outs their whole lives?? Try getting a job to be self-sufficent and provide for the large family you, and you alone, have decided to bring into this world!!

    |   16
  • kimmyp  |  January 25 2013, 9:40AM

    Just typical! this family created this situation and then expect everyone else to bail them out. Maybe they should have given a bit more thought to how they would provide for their children before having more. What planet are these people living on, where on earth do they think the money comes from to not only keep a roof over their heads but to educate them all, their health care, cloth and feed them. Sorry I have no sympathy for these people, ridiculous. The wellfare system was put in place to help people who through no fault of their own found themselves in difficulty not to fund people living beyond their means. I was alaways brought up to understand "if you can't afford it you can't have it"

    |   23

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