Visitors with special needs and disabilities set to gain sporting access with help from Council grant

August 08, 2022

Neat stacks of one pound coins

Up to 1,600 adults and children with special educational needs and disabilities receive thanks a financing forgive from West Northamptonshire Council.

The Council has announced that it will award a £40,000 relocation grant to Sport4Fitness at Fernie Fields in Northampton the will head towards a new bespoke fitting room.

Sport4Fitness is a non-profit organization that provides multisport activities to children and young people with disabilities and special needs and supports their parents, carers and siblings. Their ethos is that their activities can be “achieved by all and affordable for all”.

The tailor-made facility is for people with multiple and complex disabilities and specifically designed to meet the needs of people for whom “standard” accessible toilets are not sufficient. It is built to the recognized standards of a so-called changing room toilet (CPT). These include an overhead lift that can move a tall adult, a shower, disabled toilet, sink, changing table and enough space for up to three adult attendants to be able to help if needed.

Fernie Fields’ website is widely available and open seven days a week. If further funds can be raised, the plant will hopefully be ready by March 2023. The total cost of construction and toilet installation is estimated at up to be £90,000. Sport4Fitness has raised a total of £18,000 for the work so far and is looking to raise this remaining £32,000 through continued fundraising activities.

The cost of the larger project, including landscaping, storage, access routes, parking and facilities, is £120,000. Sport4Fitness currently has further pledges of support and is continuing its fundraising efforts.

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Cllr Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Wellbeing and Health Inclusionsaid:

“Sport4Fitness makes a valuable contribution to disabled sport in West Northamptonshire. They work with many organizations and charities who now use the facilities regularly including Action for Children, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust, MENCAP, Autism East Midlands, ACE, Young Carers and Northampton’s own Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists; Born to perform.

“The current lack of accessible toilets of this type on site is certainly preventing some of those in the community who need to use these facilities from attending. A clear example of this is some of the SEND schools and those that teach life skills to young adults. They sometimes choose not to bring classes, rather than further isolating those with a severe disability, this is solely due to the lack of that type of facility. They are working towards becoming a center of excellence in disability and in order to achieve that it is imperative that this work gets done.”

Mark Flaxman, Director and Athletic Coach at Sports4 Fitness said: “We are very excited about the whole project and aim to start this project in September. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors to the project so far. However, we are not quite there yet and are calling on businesses and individuals in the community to pledge their support with remaining funds.”

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