‘Vulnerable’ single mums and children have ‘no support’ and ‘no room’ in charity home

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 February 2017

Matilda Barnes and Natasha Payne with their children outside of the mother and baby unit.

Matilda Barnes and Natasha Payne with their children outside of the mother and baby unit.

Archant

Two young mums have spoken out about the horrors they have faced after one of their children found a used needle in the garden of their mother and baby unit.

Natasha Payne with her son Lennox and Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah.Natasha Payne with her son Lennox and Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah.

Natasha Payne, aged 24, and Matilda Barnes, aged 19, moved to Chapter One’s Margaret House, in Weston-super-Mare’s Selworthy Road, in the hope of raising their children in a safe and supportive environment.

However, Matilda says she was shocked when her daughter came running into the room with a needle she had found in the garden and Natasha found cider all over her son’s brand new pram.

Chapter One’s Darren Hartley says the charity has a zero tolerance policy on drug use and restricts smoking and drinking in communal areas.

He said: “I have requested a thorough investigation into the allegations raised with regards to syringes located in the garden.”

Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah.Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah.

Natasha says problems extend to the condition of the building too, plus a lack of facilities and support.

She currently shares a single bed with her six-month-old son, six months after she expected to have moved out, and has made a number of complaints to Graham House, the charity’s Weston HQ.

She said: “They are placing young, vulnerable, pregnant women into something which is meant to be supportive accommodation you get dumped in here and you are left. You cannot look to the future because you are stuck in a rut; you live day-by-day. There is no support and there is no room.”

Matilda’s two-year-old daughter Perrie sleeps on a mattress on the floor due to lack of space. They moved into the unit a year ago and have thrown away clothing and furniture due to mould.

Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah in their bedroom.Matilda Barnes with her children Perrie and Elijah in their bedroom.

Mr Hartley said Chapter One has been unable to move mothers out due to limited affordable housing being available, but is helping them find private accommodation.

He added: “Work orders have been raised for all matters identified, and contractors have attended to identify the cause and arrange treatment for any damp.”

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