A severely disabled toddler is forced to sit and stare out of his own doorstep – because his garden is now too dangerous for him to play in.
Marshall Hayes, who is 20 months old, suffers from a rare genetic condition which means he needs specialised equipment to help him sit up or stand.
The toddler loves to be outside, and is happiest when he can feel the sun and the breeze on his face.
But his mum Debbie, 33, says she, Marshall, and his older brother Tailor, 12, have become “trapped” in their own home – as their garden is unsafe for the tot to go out in.
The whole garden needs to be levelled out and paved over if Marshall is to use it safely – and it it estimated the total cost to the family will be around £2,000.
The family, of Bibury Road in Gloucester, Glos., have contacted Gloucester City Homes for support – but were told the association cannot help towards the cost.
Debbie said: “He just loves to be outside experiencing the atmospheric conditions and it all helps towards his development – not just in the summer, but all year round.
“At the moment I have to put him at the doorstep in his chair, and that makes him so happy. But he would love to go outside into the garden properly.
“It would be something we could all do together instead of being trapped in my living room all the time.”
Marshall was diagnosed at the age of three months old with a rare genetic condition called KCNQ2 mutation, which caused him to start having seizures not long after he was born.
Debbie says Marshall is on the severe end of the mutation which means neurons in the brain fire off against each other, causing life threatening seizures.
The condition affects his development in all aspects of his life, including low muscle tone in his upper body which makes it hard for him to hold his head, sit, or even control his arms and hands.
He uses specialised equipment to help support him sit and stand but this is for home use only.
Marshall also has problems with breathing, swallowing and finds it very difficult to be around lots of people.
Debbie set up a Crowdfunding page in order to try and raise the money to sort out the garden for Marshall, but it stalled at around £700, which is not enough to get the work done.
Gloucester City Homes have installed a ramp to the front door, but said workmen could not put one in the back unless the large garden was sorted out.
And Marshall’s grandmother Karen says Debbie does not have the time or the money to keep on top of the large back garden, which needs to be levelled out and paved over if Marshall is to use it safely.
Karen, who lives near her daughter, said: “She’s absolutely exhausted. She’s up all night with Marshall and in the daytime she’s taking him to all sorts of appointments.
“He loves the fresh air – the sun, the wind and the birds – but at the moment they are trapped between those four walls. They are like prisoners in their own home.
“It’s not fair on Tailor either, it would be nice for him to have somewhere outside he could play safely with his brother.”
Relatives say Gloucester City Homes referred Debbie to three charities but Marshall was ineligible for help from two and the third offered just £350 towards the cost of the work.
They are currently awaiting estimates but believe it will cost around £2,000 for materials and labour.
Gloucester City Homes’ Chief Executive, Ashley Green, has guaranteed to take a second look at the family’s plight.
He said: “This is something we will look into again and I will ensure that next week we will visit the property, assess the need and see what we can do to support this project.
“Clearly there is a cost and we need to evaluate that, but we do not want to be unsupportive in a situation like this.
“I guarantee we will look into this as soon as possible.”