Adam Boyden

Liberal Democrat councillor on Mendip District Council for Frome College ward Learn more

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Changing Places for Frome and Wells (updated)

by adamboyden on 6 October, 2017

Original article (updated below)
In February, after a short campaign (see here), Mendip District Councillors approved a plan to bring Changing Places facilities to the district. Changing Places is a national standard and campaign for toilets and changing facilities for severely and profoundly disabled children and adults who have complex and profound disabilities and cannot bear their own weight and need assistance from carers (see http://www.changing-places.org/). There are now 1000 Changing Places nationally that have a ceiling hoist, adult changing table and extra room for carers to assist, including several in Wiltshire and B&NES, but only 2 elsewhere in Somerset. Work has been going on since February to look into ways of having a facility in each of Mendip’s five towns, and explore possible locations with town/city/parish councils, the user group and others.
On Monday 9th October, Mendip District Council’s Cabinet will meet (6.30pm, Shepton Mallet) to consider a report which recommends the Council installs a Changing Places facility in Frome (next to existing Market Yard public toilets in the same building) and supports Wells City Council’s installation of a facility in Wells Town Hall. It proposes that MDC part fund the Wells facility, and take on the procurement and maintenance of the Frome facility (after finding a new home for the market gazebos). This leaves a budget shortfall of £9,200 for Frome and £11,000 for Wells, and Cabinet will be asked to consider what further financial support the council can give.  The report is found here at item 9: http://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/4995/Monday-9-October-2017?sendtoid=3474&formid=2509.
After I asked Frome Town Council what they could do (as they had been morally supportive), the agenda for next Wednesday 11th October’s full Frome Town Council meeting (Frome Town Hall, 7pm) now includes a report which recommends FTC give a contribution of £5000 to Mendip to provide the Changing Places facility in Frome. That report is item 4 here http://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/meeting/council-7/.
This is great news. However we may still need to fundraise the outstanding money if Mendip cannot cover this, e.g. through crowdfunding, local charity work or sponsored activities, and we will know on Monday evening. …
Update 16th October:
On Monday 9th, Mendip’s Cabinet agreed to move forward with the project (see MDC press release here), including to contribute £6000 to the Wells facility, and facilitate the Frome facility by making the room in the existing Market Yard toilet block available, contributing £1500 (and funds from a Section 106 agreement), agreeing to pay for future maintenance (£3000 a year), and project managing and procuring the facility. This left funding gaps of £10000 for Frome and £11000 for Wells. The council has also gained agreement from Clarks Village to provide a Changing Places facility at their shopping village in Street.
On Wednesday 11th, Frome Town Council agreed to contribute the whole remaining funding gap of £10,000 to make the Frome facility happen (see FTC press release here). Mendip DC are likely to progress this as soon as possible, and we will hopefully have a Changing Places in Frome before Christmas!
I understand that Wells City Council have also agreed to fully fund the proposed facility in Wells Town Hall also.
This is very good news – soon Frome, Wells and Street will be accessible places.
Thanks and well done go to all those who helped get things this far – Alison Douthwaite and other campaigners, Jane Sharp at MDC, councillors Damon Hooton, Des Harris, Phil Ham, Helen Sprawson-White and others at MDC, Paul Wynne and others at FTC, and cllrs Kate Bielby and Cath Puddick and others at FTC, as well as Wells City Council, and Clarks Village.
cllr Adam Boyden, Frome College ward, 07809 284817
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