Can you help make life easier for James?

An Acton couple are looking for help in raising £10,000 to adapt their house for three-year-old son James who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Octavia and Anthony Goodge, from Howe Way, have secured funding worth up to £30,000 to build a downstairs wet room and bedroom for James, who has severe mobility and learning problems, making it difficult to take him up and down stairs.

Now the family needs to raise a further £10,000 to match the total cost of £40,000 for the work and materials.

Mrs Goodge said: “James can only just about walk now – most of the time he is in his wheelchair or he uses a walking frame.

“He can’t really speak at the moment. It is the mobility and learning side he has difficulties with.”

James was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a congenital defect affecting motor functions and movement, at 14-months-old.

Mrs Goodge had to give up work in order to care for James full-time, although she hopes to go back to work part-time as a care assistant.

“At a year old, he was like a newborn baby,” she said.

Mrs Goodge said James’ condition impacts on his siblings – Patrick, seven, Abigail, six, and 11-month-old Rebecca, as well as husband Anthony.

“We can’t take holidays as there is so much equipment we have to take with us – it is nearly impossible,” she said.

“It is hard on the other children, especially the older two, as they take on the role of a junior carer. If I am doing something with James, then they are helping Anthony with Rebecca,” she said.

The downstairs wet room and bedroom would mean they no longer have to carry James up and down the stairs, making their lives easier as their son gets older and grows bigger.

James attends nursery at Hillside Special School in Sudbury and is in the same class as Megan Roper, who was born with a mystery condition leaving her severely disabled. Following a Free Press appeal, the Roper family raised a total of £76,000 to adapt their home for Megan’s needs.

The Goodge family has begun raising money to help make up the shortfall in the funding, which they estimate will be between £6,000 and £10,000.

“I have been doing some baby-sitting for friends and relatives and I have managed to raise about £120,” said Mrs Goodge.

“Now the cost of the building work has come in, we are really starting to push on with the fundraising.”

The family will be holding a stall at Acton Village Fair on Saturday, when they will have games and competitions. The event takes place at Acton Village Hall between 2pm and 5pm.

“I am trying to figure out things we can do for sponsorship and am thinking of doing a sponsored weight loss,” said Mrs Goodge.

“The planning application for the work has been submitted and, if all goes well, the building work is due to start in September.”

The project would take eight weeks to complete, by which time the money would need to be ready.

If you would like to raise funds to help James, call the family on 01787 580126 or call the Free Press on 01787 375271 with your ideas or donations.