A KIDDERMINSTER mum who has terminal cancer says she's desperate to find a more suitable home whilst living on benefits.

Gemma Durbin, aged 38, privately rents a two-storey property on Sutton Road, but says she ideally needs to move to a bungalow because of the steep stairs.

The mum of two was initially diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 28 and received treatment for her illness. But doctors found the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, spine and hips in 2018.

She had to give up her job as branch manager at Boots Opticians in the town centre following the diagnosis, a role she had just been promoted to.

Gemma, who lives with her children Meghan, aged 15, and Joe, aged 13, says she's struggling to find a private land lord, citing the "stigma" attached to being on benefits as a possible reason. She has also applied for council housing.

She said: "I hate being on benefits, but I don't really have a lot of choice.

"I'm struggling to find a private land lord. I think there is a stigma regarding benefits. It's really difficult."

According to The Community Housing Group (TCHG), Gemma applied to go on the housing waiting list in June 2019 and was initially given a Bronze Plus banding.

The banding was then amended to Gold Plus in January 2020, which recognises a high level of housing need, when the council received a letter of support from an oncologist and a medical questionnaire.

Gemma previously placed two bids on Home Choice Plus for new build TCHG properties at Auction Place, Kidderminster.

A spokesperson from TCHG said: "Unfortunately, Miss Durbin did not figure prominently enough to be considered for either of these properties."

Gemma added: "I know it's not directly their fault, they have to follow protocol.

"I just think it's unfortunate that they can't help more. There's got to be something.

"It's not a choice that I'm in this situation. A bungalow is ideal or just anywhere that's got a downstairs toilet."

"I have been a big believer that there's always someone worse off than you. I feel for the children more - it's really hard.

"I once said to them, we will put our positive pants on and we will get through this together."

A support page, called Positive Pants, was set up on Facebook by Gemma's friends to raise funds after she was in need of a new washing machine and fridge freezer.

A total of £1000 was also raised by a Stourport Slimming World group to help Gemma with a house deposit and to fund other essentials.