Longdown Activity Farm Opens Changing Places facility.

It’s open, and it’s changing lives already!  We had the honour of opening the facility at our beloved Longdown Activity Farm in Ashurst, on 12  March, which, rather fittingly, was Disabled Access Day.

Hadley cut the ribbon, alongside Sam Burnage, aged 9.

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For those who have not been following the progress of the facility, it’s been a labour of love for all concerned. Hadley’s family, friends and friends of the farm have all played a huge role, from helping us to shovel manure to raise funds for the facility, to physically painting and building it!

There are so many people to thank, including everyone who has bought a raffle ticket (or ten!), the member of the Dung Heap Challenge Teams and their families and friends who sponsored them, Storage Onside Solutions in Marchwood for providing the container free of charge, The Saxon Inn in Calmore for raising over £1800 towards the cost through various events, Crown Paint in Millbrook for providing all the paint, brushes and equipment we needed, the plumber, builders and electricians for all going above and beyond, providing work free of charge wherever possible…

IMG_3373…Hadley’s grandparents and other family members, for all picking up brushes and painting, helping with prizes and selling tickets for raffles like their lives depended on it, my brother for making the bespoke door for the unit and making sure it was ready in time and Pete, my step-dad and Hadley’s grandad, for working non-stop to convert the container and making it into an incredible room as well as fixing every problem we came up against in his usual ‘laid back, nothing is too much trouble’ style.  To the lovely Nina Lazarski, for pulling off a wonderful piece of art for the inside at such short notice (and for the future murals she is going to paint),  Kelvin at Clos-o-mat for supplying the kit inside and sharing in the sleepless nights and worry of getting this finished in time and of course Bryan and Dawn the owners of the farm,  for their commitment and support of this project, despite the huge financial investment. Everyone has been incredible and the result is something very special that will always be the very first Changing Places facility that I personally helped to create. There are so many more people I need to add too that have donated anonymously or supplied prizes, provided advice and asked favours, the list is endless and you will always be remembered.

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The responses on the Longdown Activity Farm Facebook page say it all. I’ve never seen so many people say thank you for a toilet! And to read about families who can now attend the farm who previously were unable to answers all of my prayers and just confirms why we do this.

Thank you Longdown Activity Farm for leading the way and showing others exactly how it is done!

 

 

Longdown Activity Farm Opens New Changing Room Facility for Visitors with Disabilities and additional needs. 

Having been approached by local campaigning mum Sarah Brisdion, Longdown Activity Farm will be opening a state-of-the-art changing room and toilet facility on 12th March for visitors and staff with disabilities and additional needs. The date ties in with Disabled Access Day, launched by New Forest Access For All in 2015.

Changing Places facility
Photograph: courtesy of Clos-o-mat

The changing room facility will include an adult-size, height-adjustable changing bed, lifting hoist, carer accessible toilet and height-adjustable sink, as well as plenty of additional space for carers and mobility equipment.

Sarah’s 5-year old son Hadley, who has Cerebral Palsy, is often faced with the undignified and unsanitary situation of being changed on urine-soaked toilet floors because standard accessible toilets simply don’t meet his needs. As a result, Sarah is campaigning for better accessible toilet and changing facilities in public places on behalf of Hadley and millions of others in the UK with disabilities.

Sarah has been working closely with Bryan and Dawn Pass, owners of Longdown Activity Farm, organising a fun ‘Dung Heap Challenge’ which raised an impressive £4,000 towards the facility, through the efforts of local sponsors and friends, and advising on equipment and housing.

Sarah states: “Standard disabled toilets usually only meet the needs of independent toilet users, therefore excluding anyone with more complex needs requiring extra support. It is a fact that very few people are aware of unless they directly face incontinence or mobility issues. I am very grateful to Bryan and Dawn Pass; this additional facility will add to the sterling visitor experience that they already offer to individuals with additional needs.”

Bryan Pass, owner of Longdown Activity Farm added: “We care deeply about being as inclusive as possible and so we are excited to be able to offer such an important facility to our customers with additional needs. We are one of the first attractions in the New Forest area to install such a comprehensive and inclusive facility for its visitors and that’s something that we will be very proud of.”

The changing room facility will be open from 1pm on 12th March 2016. 

Response from the Chairman’s Office at Southampton Football Club

hoDZYhEOkAOnJvh-800x450-noPadHere’s the letter I received from the Chairman’s office at Southampton FC last week. I hope we can move forward from this and get some real commitment. I will as ever, keep you all posted.

Thank you for your continued support in showing that this is about more than one little boy and one match and in helping me to achieve a Changing Places facility, for everyone with additional needs who would like to attend matches at St Mary’s.

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Dear Mrs Brisdion,

Thank you for your patience in being able to respond to you and I am delighted to hear your family are season ticket holders of the Club.

It is very much appreciated in the time that you have taken to inform me of the work and problems you are facing at our stadium for your family.

There are many areas that we would like to be able to implement immediately to assist in fans being able to come to games. The game is a great environment for families to come to and we look to encourage this wherever possible. As you have experienced unfortunately certain areas of improvement take a longer period of time to implement than we would wish.

I am kept informed regularly on updates from our customer service team and the meetings they have with SDSA, as a club we looked to ensure that all areas of the stadium meet regulations and where possible are excelled in.

We are looking to install a Changing Places facility however at present we are unable to action with immediate effect. We understand for some of our fans, such as your son Hadley that this is imperative and therefore this is important to us to action as soon as we are in a position to do so. We are currently undertaking a full review of accessibility at St Mary’s, I hope that you will start to see some of the changes we are making to provide for as many disabled fans as we can – such as the new automatic doors installed in the Megastore.

The work through your campaigning for the facilities is extremely positive to hear and I hope that the results will show through in many areas.

Please be assured that any areas of improvement and problems that our fans are facing are reviewed and actioned when we are able to as soon as we can. I appreciate this is not the speed that you or I would like in certain areas. Unfortunately I cannot promise a time scale to your request however I can assure you that we are looking to improve all disable facilities to help our fans.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to Katharina and I personally.

Our customer services team will continue to support you in the meantime where they can.

Regards,

Chairman’s Office

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Dear Mr Krueger,

Thank you for your reply. Whilst I appreciate that this issue may not be top of your business agenda, I’m very disappointed that the club is making no real commitment to providing these essential facilities, other than saying that you are looking at installing one.

You say that you are not in a position to ‘action with immediate effect’ and that you will ‘action as soon as we are in a position to do so’. But please can you help me understand what position it is that we are waiting to be in? And what timescales you anticipate? Surely an audit of accessibility is not that time-consuming. Perhaps there is something that I’m not understanding. One would presume it could not possibly be we are waiting to be in a better financial position?

So if it is space and location you are worried about, I can help you with that and would be delighted to visit and advise those working on the accessibility audit. I am working closely with a nationally recognised company to install facilities at Longdown Activity Farm and the New Forest District Council. I know they would be very happy to attend a meeting, with no obligation on your part, to help ensure you locate the facility in the right place and explain exactly how easy and how quickly something can be installed.

Incidentally Changing Places can be mobile, where building issues get in the way, and so are pretty immediate. Our facility at Longdown is actually a shipping container and takes up no more space than a large burger van. We will have turned it around in just over a month from start to finish! Another point of note: The Old Trafford facility only took 6 months from when Manchester United first started looking into it, until the opening day of the facility.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you further.
Best regards
Sarah