An interim chief executive appointed to the housing association which owned the flat where two-year-old Awaab Ishak suffered exposure to mould has vowed to prioritise safety and security for residents.
Awaab died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould in his family’s one-bedroom flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
Following an inquest into his death, chief executive Gareth Swarbrick was removed from his post at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).
On Thursday, Yvonne Arrowsmith was announced as the new interim chief executive for RBH.
She said: “This is a difficult time to be joining RBH, following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.
“His death and the coroner’s verdict into it have rightly shocked the social housing sector. I strongly believe that everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure.”
“So, although a difficult time, I am looking forward to working with the board, representative body and employees to prioritise the safety and security of people living in our homes, to make sure that action is taken where it is needed, and to begin the process of earning the trust and confidence of our residents.”
In a statement announcing the appointment, a spokesman for RBH said: “We want to start by saying again how sorry we are for the loss of Awaab.
“We know our words will not take away the pain felt by his family, nor will they heal the hurt being felt here in Rochdale as well as across the country.”
Ms Arrowsmith has worked in the social housing sector for the past 30 years and before that worked as a nurse, the RBH spokesman said.
Awaab’s parents Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin have called for an “Awaab’s law” to improve the experiences of those living with mould and damp in their properties.