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Norfolk mum prompts nature reserve to host new 'accessible' family weekend

PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 21 June 2019

Children watching the flamingos at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve Adams

Children watching the flamingos at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve Adams

Pensthorpe Natural Park

A Norfolk mum who has two sons with autism persuaded bosses at a nature reserve to host a new 'accessible' family weekend.

Emma Spagnola with her children, Mason and Bastian. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLAEmma Spagnola with her children, Mason and Bastian. Picture: EMMA SPAGNOLA

Cromer-based equal rights and accessibility campaigner Emma Spagnola contacted the team at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, to request an event featuring more accessible toilets.

Her letter resulted in Pensthorpe's first Pop-up Changing Places Family Weekend with an attended Mobiloo, featuring a hoist and an adult-sized changing bench, on August 10 and 11.

Mrs Spagnola, whose sons Mason and Bastian are autistic, said: "Being able to simply spend time together and enjoy family days out can be a rarity with families with a disabled family member because we have to plan in so many factors.

"I got in touch with Pensthorpe because I have heard so many awesome things about it, but haven't been able to take my family.

"I am really pleased that Pensthorpe has taken my feedback on board and will be providing a Mobiloo, which features a ceiling hoist and, in most cases, a sink that a wheelchair-user can position to fit underneath.

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"This means that children and adults with a range of disabilities can spend the day away from home. My family are counting down the days until we visit."

She said she would be attending the event.

Deb Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, said: "While we know how important it is for families and individuals to spend time together and reap the rewards of being outside, we know that standard accessible toilet facilities are not widely available in the area.

"Thanks to Emma getting in touch with us, we are trialling a Mobiloo at our new Changing Places weekend. Having this facility means that we can be inclusive and let families concentrate on just enjoying themselves, without worrying about things like toilet facilities that we can often take for granted. It is part of our vision for the long term to have more permanent facilities like this here."

The event runs between 10am and 5pm. Adults £11.95, Seniors £10.95, Children £10.95, Under 3s free. Receive £1 off per person when you book online.

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