A Vale youngster has finally got his dream bedroom after a generous firm carried out an incredible makeover – ending the family’s two year fight to make it safe.
Little Barry McLaughlin walked into his aquarium-themed new bedroom last week after Impact Group UK offered to transform it at their own cost.
The five-year-old has Pica, a rare eating disorder which causes him to chew wall and floor coverings, and has been waiting on West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership to carry out vital adaptations.
We reported last month how mum Caitlyn is in constant fear of him hurting himself and had been fighting for work to be carried out to make his room safe.
Bosses James Cooke and Michael Blake reached out to Caitlyn after reading our story and last week spent four days getting the room perfectly decked out for Barry after traveling up from England.
It has an amazing aquarium-themed feature wall as well as a TV meaning Barry, who also has as autism and a speech delay, can now enjoy his favorite cartoons in the comfort of his own bedroom.
Previously the room was empty, apart from a bed, with bare walls and flooring, much of which Barry had chewed.
A delighted Caitlin told the Lennox Herald: “His room is amazing. It’s even better than I imagined.
“It’s like walking into a big fish tank. It’s so calming and is perfect for Barry. I absolutely loves it.
“He’s been jumping around and pressing his face up to the aquarium wall like he would do with a fish tank and he’s obsessed with his TV.
“He gave all the guys a high five at the end!”
She previously told how a good night’s sleep was impossible as she was in constant fear of Barry choking after chewing on things he shouldn’t be.
Speaking the day after the bedroom was completed, Caitlin added: “I had an amazing night’s sleep last night.
“I didn’t have to worry because there’s nothing in that room that can injure him now.
“He also had a great sleep. It is a really calming room all in blue and will really improve his quality of life from him.”
Caitlin was full of praise for the Impact Group UK team who traveled up from England and stayed in a nearby hotel while they carried out the work.
She said: “I can’t express my gratitude enough.
“They deserve all the recognition in the world.
“They were here at 7.30am every day with big smiles on their faces.
“They kept showing Barry bits of his room as they worked on it so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for him to see completely transformed afterwards.
“They finished it on Wednesday morning but they came back on the Thursday as there was a wee bit around the TV and window they wanted to paint so it was all blended in. They were perfectionists.
“The guys were amazing and kept showing Barry bits of his room so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for him to see completely transformed afterwards.
“They had young children themselves and were away from their kids to make sure my son has somewhere safe to sleep, and I am so grateful.”
Director Michael Blake previously told the Lennox Herald the company, which specializes in installing hygienic surfaces in healthcare facilities, hospitality, leisure and in homes, didn’t think twice about contacting Caitlyn after seeing our story.
They had previously supplied a quote for the work over a year ago, which Caitlyn says she passed onto the council but nothing came of it.
He said: “When we found out she was in the same situation we knew we had to get the job done.
“We’re going to make a really fun, safe environment for Barry and it will give Caitlyn peace of mind knowing her son is safe.”
A WDHSCP spokeswoman said: “We strive to provide a responsive and efficient service to all of our residents and would again like to apologize to Ms McLaughlin that timescales for these works were impacted by staff absence as a result of the pandemic.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.