Ferrers Close tower blocks (CC)
Father Ed Backhouse, parish priest at St Oswald’s, Tile Hill, has had a prominent role in helping residents living in inadequate housing be rehomed.
Last year, Fr Ed got to know one of the families living in the Ferrers Close tower blocks. One of the children started coming to the youth club and attending mass. The child mentioned that the living conditions in her flat were not good. Fr Ed invited the child, her mum and a friend who lives in the tower blocks around for dinner just before Christmas. The family really appreciated being in a warm house that was not flooded. They told Fr Ed that their boiler recently blew up and flooded the house. The housing association came out and turned off the heating and electricity and then left the family in freezing conditions. Fr Ed was appalled by the conditions the family were living in and offered to help.
That evening Fr Ed got advice from the parish safeguarding officer and then contacted the housing association and asked them to fix the problem. When the housing association did not respond, Fr Ed contacted the local MP and the local press.
Fr Ed met Coventry MP, Taiwo Owatemi at the tower blocks. She was horrified at the conditions and immediately contacted the housing association. She thanked Fr Ed and St Oswald’s for bringing the flats to her attention and supporting the residents. Fr Ed also took a BBC reporter round the flats which gave the story wider attention.
Following interventions from Taiwo Owatemi and coverage by the BBC and the Coventry Telegraph, the housing association got in contact with the residents to let them know they are investigating the concerns and to give compensation to each family. Currently the recommendation is for the flats to be demolished and the resident’s rehomed, however the final decision on the future of the flats is yet to be decided.
Over the Christmas period, the church housed the family of the child in a hotel and is continuing to support the residents of the flats.
You can hear more about this story on the BBC website.