South Kesteven housing staff pull out the stops to bring baby Spencer home

Nine-month-old Spencer Luczak is finally living with his family thanks to dedicated council staff who pulled out all the stops to find him somewhere to call home.

He was born with under-developed lungs and needs to be on a ventilator 24 hours a day.

Spencer spent his first eight months in the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, unable to leave until his family could find somewhere to live that met his needs.

He became medically stable in February and from then on it was all about finding a suitable home for the family, whose privately rented flat could no longer properly accommodate them.

South Kesteven District Council housing staff stepped in and within days identified, assessed and approved a suitable council property in Grantham and then gave the green light for renovation so it could made ready for the family.

Spencer, his mum Emma Coombes, dad Jason Luczak (both 22), and four-year-old big sister Sienna moved in at the end of May.

Emma said: "We are very lucky. Having a home together has made a real difference.

"SKDC's staff worked with the occupational therapist at the hospital. They had specialists to liaise with us and Gemma Harte and Pippa Bryden to accommodate all these things.

"We put down our favourite areas and this house is ideal all-round. We could never have imagined it would be as close to family and school ... it's literally 100%, we can't fault the area. We are very lucky.

"Spencer has come on a lot even in the past couple of weeks we've been here. They said he'd never hold his head up or sit up. He's doing all those things they said he'd never be able to do.

"If anyone had seen him in the first two months of his life, it was touch and go. Every day we did not know what we were walking into. He could have left us on that very first day. Now we count our lucky stars every day."

SKDC Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Nick Neilson said: "This project has been a real challenge given the timescale but every single person who has been involved has really gone the extra mile so Spencer could be at home with his family.

"Heartfelt thanks must go to the SKDC staff who made this happen, and we all wish the family the best of luck as they start their new life together. We will be keeping in touch to make sure this home continues to meet their needs."

SKDC Senior Project Officer Gemma Harte said: "At times it felt like our very own version of DIY SOS! But all the headaches were worth it knowing the family can finally be together."

Dad Jason added: "The house was still like a building site when we first came to see it. Then when we came back to be given the keys, it was fantastic, I was so happy with it. We were just running around inside shouting 'he's coming home!'"

The property needed to be made liveable and then adapted to meet Spencer's needs. He requires a downstairs bedroom, downstairs wet room, and the floor space between downstairs and upstairs was strengthened in case a lift system needs to be fitted in the future. The doors were widened, kitchen refitted and then outside, ponds were filled in and the garden gravelled.

Spencer's story was told in the BBC two documentary 'Hospital', shown in April.

Picture captions:

1 Emma and Spencer with SKDC Senior Project Officer Gemma Harte

2 Emma and Jason at their Grantham home with baby Spencer and his sister Sienna 

3 Sienna and Spencer enjoy their new home

4 Emma and Jason at their Grantham home with baby Spencer and his sister Sienna

For media enquiries: Email the SKDC communications team at pr@southkesteven.gov.uk or call 01476 406498 or 406440.

Baby Spencer (3) Baby Spencer (2) Baby Spencer (1)