A FAMILY of eight squeezed into a three-bedroom semi-detached house have spoken out about the challenges they face on a daily basis in lockdown, and the struggle they have endured over the last couple of years.

Matthew McMurray, 33, lives with his wife, Linz McMurray, 34, and their six children in the house in Horwich provided by Bolton at Home.

The family previously lived in Selkirk Road, Astley Bridge, again lived a three-bedroom property.

They had a support network of family and friends close by to help with their children, one of whom, Louie, two, has severe learning and mobility difficulties.

Mr McMurray claims they were offered the new property in Horwich just under two years ago on the basis that it would get an extension, where the family could fit Louie’s bulky mobility equipment.

He said: “I had to leave Ciceley Commercials after four-and-a-half years after having a premature child with medical and mobility issues, which was the main reason for moving.”

However, this was later denied and has left the family “living like sardines”, according to Mr McMurray.

He said: “There are three boys in one room, our daughter, Leah, 12, in another, and four of us in the main room.

“We’ve had to turn down medical equipment, get rid of the mobility chair because we had nowhere to put it and throw out perfectly good toys because there simply wasn’t enough room.”

Mr McMurray described how they were threatened with eviction after he stopped paying rent in a bid to get some of the issues, including lack of space and damage to the walls, fixed.

Lockdown has compounded these problems for the family with Mr McMurray saying they are stuck in the house “24/7”.

Gemma Parlby, director of housing services at Bolton at Home, said: “I can completely sympathise with the family’s situation, which must be harder than ever right now.

“We have tried to help the family as much as possible.

"Their home is an upgrade on their previous property, with more space and accessibility, but in the long term the family needs a larger house.

“An extension wouldn’t solve the overcrowding and that is also the recommendation of occupational therapists.”