Covid: Family of seven’s one-bedroom flat lockdown ‘hell’

For more than six months, Sarah Wheddon, her partner Chris Hill and five children have been living in a privately rented one-bedroom flat, with a garden like a “prison cell”.

Lockdown was “murder” she said, with everyone “on top of each other”.

They have had some support from Shelter Cymru, which says Covid-19 has exposed “huge inequalities”.

The Welsh Government said social housing was a top priority and it had invested £2bn in affordable homes.

Sarah had not long become a first-time mother when mechanic Chris’s eldest child Ashanti, 15, came to live with them.

His three other children came later, just before lockdown.

“I love them all to bits like they were my own. But I didn’t expect to have them all under the one-bedroom flat roof,” said former hairdresser Sarah.

Their ground floor flat in Grangetown, Cardiff, has two main rooms – the bedroom and the sitting room – and then a small bathroom and kitchen.

“We’re counted as severely overcrowded or homeless,” the 29-year-old said.

The older children sleep in the sitting room – Ashanti and her 12-year-old sister on the sofas, the six-year-old on a “foot rest”, and the nine-year-old on the floor.

Sarah and Chris’s two-year-old girl is currently in a cot in her parents’ small double bedroom.

Ashanti finds the situation claustrophobic – and has exam stress on the horizon.

“I’m not really getting that much sleep when I’m heading into my GCSEs now. It’s kind of hard for me.”

They do not have enough seats for everyone, and someone has to sit on the floor to eat.

Outside they share a dark “grubby and slippy” concrete back yard with other flats.

It is home to piles of scaffolding poles and planks that do not belong to them, and they could hardly go out this summer because of a wasp nest.

Source: BBC