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Grand opening of first fully-accessible toilet

FROME Town Council has funded a new fully-accessible toilet facility, the first of its kind in Mendip, which was opened on Saturday 24th March by Mayor Sheila Gore and a group of campaigners.

The new Frome facility is part of a district-wide campaign to install Changing Places facilities in each of Mendip’s five towns.

It is housed within the existing Market Yard toilet block, with a store room converted into a fully accessible toilet including a hoist and changing bed for those with acute physical and learning difficulties.

Frome is the first facility to open in Mendip, following the support of Frome Town Council and the local community and campaigners. The Frome facility has been partly funded through the use of Section 106 money earmarked for the town with top-up funding by Mendip District Council and a contribution from Frome Town Council. Mendip District Council will also fund the ongoing annual cost of maintaining the facilities in the town.

Cllr Philip Ham, Mendip District Council’s portfolio holder for transformation and chair of the equalities group said, “We believe that a vital part of the council is its community leadership role and ability to bring many different groups together to solve local concerns. When our residents identified the lack of facilities, we began work across the district to pull in resources and commitment, from a variety of sources, to get this matter tackled.

“This project is about providing a level of dignity for a group of people who are already tackling major challenges in their lives. Providing these specialist toilets in public places will make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as others with disabilities that severely limit mobility.

“We are delighted that we are now in a position to officially open the first changing places facility in Mendip. By providing such facilities in Mendip, we will be enabling local people and visitors to our district to get out and enjoy the day-to-day activities so many of us take for granted. The whole project has been a great example of councils and communities working together with cross-party support.”

Frome Town councillor Kate Bielby said, “Ultimately, this development is thanks to the patience, tenacity and graciousness of the small group of local people who have campaigned for Frome’s very own Changing Place over the last five years.

“It’s such a basic right to be able to use a toilet comfortably and safely and this will undoubtedly make a huge difference to the accessibility of Frome.  We also welcome the news that Mendip are looking to roll more out across the district in the not too distant future.”

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