New state-of-the-art loo helps Norfolk mum’s campaign for disabled dignity

A campaigning mum has taken a major step in improving the lives of severely disabled residents after helping to get a new state-of-the-art toilet facility installed in north Norfolk.

Lucy Clapham Friday, March 23, 2012
1:02 PM

 Debbie Green has finally got the disabled toilet and changing area she has been campaigning for. Pictured in the new room at Glanford with builder and landlord Roger Combe. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Debbie Green has been pushing for years to get more of the pioneering “changing place” toilets built in her home county after having her son Alistair, who was left brain damaged following his premature birth.

The “enchanting” young man died in 2008 aged 17 but Mrs Green has continued her fight to see more of the much-needed facilities installed.

And her cause has received a major boost after a £170,000 changing place was opened at Manor Farm in Glandford, near Holt.

Equipped with a hoist, changing bed, accessible toilet and height adjustable sink, the toilet will cater for people with disabilities, their families and carers by providing them with the specialist equipment they need for a bathroom break in a hygienic and dignified surrounding.

Mrs Green, 49, from Carbrooke near Watton, said: “If you have a member of your family who needs a changing place and there isn’t one, you have to go home or put them on the floor of a toilet.

“Alistair was nearly 18 when he died and it was becoming increasingly difficult to manoeuvre him and I didn’t like the fact that everything in our lives had to be limited around his toilet needs, as there was nowhere I went where I could change him.

“So having something like this that would have allowed my child to have dignity in being cared for and be able to take him out and be part of the family is great.

“If we can get more of these it will open up so many people’s lives and not just the people with the disability. It’s their families and carers, it’s helping everybody.”

The changing place – one of only two in the county – was installed by Roger Combe who owns Manor Farm, a tucked away business park near the Seashell museum and Natural Surroundings nature reserve.

After deciding to install the upgraded toilet he was put in touch with Mrs Green who helped source some of the equipment needed for it. She praised Mr Combe’s decision to go “the extra mile” and build the accessible facility, which can also be used by visitors and staff on site.

But the mum-of-two said she her campaign would not stop with the Glandford changing place, which she described as a “shining example” that she hoped other businesses would now take note of.

“Norwich has nothing but we’re working on that,” she added. “There’s lots of us out there trying to put the message out and explain to people how much better it would be in places like (Norwich’s) Chapelfield Mall for this to happen.

“It would bring people into the community that have been excluded for long enough.”

“I feel very lucky in a way for what happened with my life with Alistair, I met the most amazing people in our community and I just want to try and put something back and add to other people’s lives,” she said.

● Mrs Green wished to thank delivery service TNT for transporting the changing bed and sink for the new toilet free of charge from Southampton to Norfolk.

● If you would like to get involved or help with the campaign email debbiegreen1962@gmail.co.uk. You can also visit www.changing-places.org for more information.

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health

 

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