Nia has been an award-winning dancer and an athlete, but breathing issues have ‘knocked her right back’ (Picture: Simon Ashton)

A mum from Leeds has said she and her family suffer from breathing problems and skin conditions after living in a mouldy house that ‘hasn’t been fixed for 16 years’.

Sharon Edwards believes the appalling damp in her home is to blame for medical issues that have led her 15-year-old daughter Nia to drop out of her dance academy and quit athletics.

Nia had also been bullied due to her severe eczema, leading Sharon, 52, to take the difficult decision to begin home-schooling the ‘bright, intelligent’ teenager.

She said issues first appeared not long after she moved into the house, located in the eastern suburb of Gipton, in 2007.

Sharon, a support worker, said: ‘When I first moved in, it was actually newly decorated so I didn’t realise there was a problem straight away.

‘But over the first few months of moving in, I noticed spotty areas of damp, and I noticed it was getting a bit mouldy in a few areas.

‘I thought it was something I could just wipe over, but I mentioned it to one of the housing officers who came around about the problem and nothing was done.’

She said the problems persisted as she brought up her three kids in the property, which is run by housing association Places for People.

Sharon Edwards has lived in her Gipton home for almost 16 years (Picture: Simon Ashton)
Sharon first started to notice the mould soon after she moved in (Picture: Simon Ashton)

Her daughter Rianne, 26, has moved out due to her frustration with the situation, while 21-year-old son Demetrius is ‘constantly coughing, constantly getting headaches, constantly ill as well’.

Nia has been a championship dancer, winning awards and getting a place in the youth academy for Leeds’ Phoenix Dance Theatre.

But her poor health meant she had to pull out.

‘I’ve noticed she can barely even talk sometimes because her health is that bad,’ said Sharon.

‘It’s affecting my daughter’s concentration for school, it’s affected her work because she’s having so much time off.

‘She’s been bullied due to her really bad eczema, to the point where I’ve had to recently pull her out of school and see if she can be tutored at home.’

She says she has reached her ‘wit’s end’ over the issues (Picture: Simon Ashton)

Nia had been getting top grades in school, Sharon said, but now her education is ‘suffering’ as she tries to get the marks needed to take a place she’s been offered at the West Yorkshire city’s Notre Dame College.

‘She’s been let down on every level,’ said her mum.

‘Not only that, but she was a very good athlete as well.

‘Not just a good dancer, but a very good athlete, and she’s been knocked right back because of this situation.’

Despite complaining and reporting the mould issue to Places for People ‘for years’, Sharon says ‘nothing was actually done’.

Sharon is constantly wiping and painting the walls of her house to try and stay on top of the mould issue (Picture: Simon Ashton)

‘At first I was getting nothing at all, and then I would phone through and I was told it was probably just a problem with ventilation and I just needed to open the windows, which I was doing all the time,’ she said.

‘I was redecorating, I was opening the windows as much as I could bearing in mind sometimes it was winter and my daughter suffers from a really bad chest.’

She added: ‘I’ve had to throw away so much furniture, so much clothes, I’ve had to throw away just about everything and start again.

‘I’ve had about three skips, trucks, because the mould has got into all the furniture, it’s got into my carpets, it’s got into everything.’

She is having her own battles with poor health, which she also blames on the substantial damp (Picture: Simon Ashton)

Sharon is concerned about her own health now too, with migraines, chest infections and chronic fatigue wearing her out.

She said: ‘The damage to our health, I think is irreversible.

‘At this moment in time, I’m at my wit’s end.’

Sharon said she had ‘lost all faith and trust’ in her housing association to fix the mould’ (Credits: Simon Ashton)

A spokesperson for Places for People said: ‘Any reports of this type are concerning.

‘We last supported the customer in 2019 and were contacted again earlier this month about the issue.

‘A damp and mould survey was scheduled for 28th March but the customer called to advise that she needed to postpone and will contact us to rebook.’

They added: ‘We take reports of damp and mould seriously and never underestimate the impact it can have on the lives and wellbeing of our customers.

‘We are happy to provide temporary housing to the customer and her family should it be required and remain committed to working with the customer to resolve the issue permanently.’

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