PROFOUNDLY disabled pensioner Aileen Wright has won a six-month battle for Craigavon Borough Council to send out helpers to wheel out her bins for the Monday morning collection.
Bleary woman Mrs Wright, who suffers from the debilitating condition scleroderma, put in her first request in February. But even after she satisfied all the conditions, she was still waiting for the council to send someone out to do the job - until Monday of this week (following press attention).
She has the typical symptoms of scleroderma, affecting her skin, heart, lungs, kidneys and oesophagus. There is no cure - “it’s a case of simply waiting for the end, and yet I cannot persuade the council to do this task for me, one which they have advertised widely”.
Mrs Wright (70) began suffering the worst effects of the condition last June when her heart failed and she was placed on oxygen. She struggles to breathe, and her kidneys and liver are badly affected. “I have three bins - the green, blue and brown - and I made the request back in February for the council to place them out for the Monday morning collections, as they promise in their literature. But the message doesn’t seem to have got through to the Civic Centre.”
She received a form in March to formalise the request, which she duly filled in, but received a reply that she would have to back it up with a doctor’s line - she organised that in April.
“The council then confirmed in May that I qualified,” said Mrs Wright. “I was given to understand that someone would call prior to the binmen’s visit - they call between 9am and 11am each Monday - and it’s just a matter of wheeling the bins from the back garden via the gate where they are collected.” She added she had been on the phone virtually every week to have the matter resolved, and that “occasionally they sent out a lorry to empty my bins when I threatened them with the media or local politicians.”
“It’s very frustrating when the binmen call in the drive and my bin isn’t emptied,” she said. “Of course, it isn’t the binmen’s job to pull it out. If they did that for everyone who needs the service, they’d never get their rounds completed.”
In the meantime, Mrs Wright has to rely on the goodwill of friends, neighbours and extended family to put out her bins when they fill up, “but I hate imposing on them”. She went on, “Scleroderma is an awful illness, especially as I had scarcely had a day off during my career as a civil servant and a librarian until I retired at 64. It’s so frustrating.”
On Monday Aileen was delighted to see her long battle was over with the promised help arriving to put out her bin.