New Elizabeth FitzRoy Support hub opens in North Walsham

Wheelchair rock-climbing, night-clubbing, arts and crafts – you name it and a new centre for adults with disabilities will try and deliver.

The Elizabeth FitzRoy Support charity welcomed clients, families and other VIPS to the official opening of its new Community Resource hub in North Walsham yesterday.

The centre, in St Nicholas Court, offers a drop-in point for people with learning and physical disabilities and aims to get away from the old day care idea of people gathering in a large room.

Instead, they can visit to explore and discuss the sort of activities and events that interest them, and trained staff will then do their best to make wishes come true, in a multitude of different venues.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who performed the opening ceremony, said the hub was a 'very impressive and smart facility in a very central point' which would offer an important service and exciting opportunities to its customers.

Mr Lamb added: 'Elizabeth FitzRoy say it's amazing to watch how people grow as individuals as a result.'

Jan Taylor said they wanted to help integrate those the charity supported into the community, enabling them to join activities including swimming, going to the pub, cinema and football matches. One early request they were trying to meet had been from a woman who wanted to go line-dancing.

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The centre, formerly a butcher's shop, includes a large personal-care changing room for use by those with disabilities attending venues in the area, a sensory area and touch-screen computers where people can get ideas and check details.

The new centre replaces one attached to the charity's former residential home, Meadow Cottage, at Overstrand, near Cromer, which did not meet current standards and was closed last year. Its 14 residents are now living in smaller, 'supported living' homes in North Walsham and Hales.

Meadow Cottage had been used as a holiday home in the 1960s by charity founder Elizabeth FitzRoy and her son Michael, who had Down's Syndrome.

Today the charity supports over 500 people in England with about 40pc of its services based in Norfolk and Suffolk.

? Contact 01692 405192.

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