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Vital changing places could open in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:22 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 18 March 2019

Emma Spagnola's son Mason, who has autism. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA

Emma Spagnola's son Mason, who has autism. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA

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Seven vital changing places designed for people with physical disabilities are proposed to be built in council buildings across Norfolk.

'Norfolk Loo Lady' Emma Spagnola with her children, Mason and Bastian. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA'Norfolk Loo Lady' Emma Spagnola with her children, Mason and Bastian. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA

The Norfolk County Council’s Policy and Resources Committee is being asked to agree to £231,000 of investment so the facilities can be developed in council buildings in each district.

Adult changing places are accessible toilets and changing facilities for people with complex needs and disabilities.

There are fewer than 10 in Norfolk, and fewer than 1,000 in the country.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “We want to make sure that our services are as accessible as possible to the communities we serve.

A Changing Places toilet at intu Chapelfield in Norwich. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLAA Changing Places toilet at intu Chapelfield in Norwich. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA

“It’s clear that there aren’t enough Changing Places facilities in the county and as a council, we need to lead the way in investing in and developing them.

“These facilities will be established as part of our local service strategy, aimed at joining up services, offering help early and in the right places.”

If the funding is approved, the spaces are required to have and a height adjustable, adult-sized changing bench, a ceiling track hoist system, adequate space for the user and up to two assistants; a privacy screen, a large waste disposal bin as well as a washbasin.

Emma Spagnola, from Cromer, has two children reliant on these changing points.

Because of the lack of changing places in the region, the mother has been forced to change her sons on public toilet floors and in the back of her car.

The campaigner for Changing Places said by installing these facilities ‘it will make someone’s life a little bit easier.”

She added: “It’s awesome, just the other day I had a woman come to me saying she had to change her child in Cromer car park, in the back of her car.

“Since I started campaigning there were only four in Norfolk, now I think he have ten so it is getting better.”

The committee will meet on March 25 and decide whether to approve the capital funding for the Changing Places facilities.

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