Accessible café society is a gem…
A new community venture is proving that a venue does not have to be big to be fully accessible….
small shop in Cromer has been turned into The Honey Pot, a “café for everybody”, to the extent it has even managed to provide an assisted, accessible toilet facility, aka Space to Change/ Changing Places.
It is the result of efforts by AllCare Community Support (ACS), following a chance meeting with local disability campaigner Emma Spagnola, and will be staffed by ACS members. The Space to Change- by Closomat- is a ‘first’ for the town, as is another element of The Honey Pot-a purpose-built Lego workstation.
“So many big commercial enterprises say they don’t have the space, or can’t justify the expenditure, of providing toilets with more space, a hoist and changing bench (a Space to Change/Changing Places facility),” says Emma. “ACS has proved where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
ACS members met Emma by chance last year at Cromer Carnival, during which conversation she explained about the concept of Space to Change/Changing Places, and the lack of such toilets in North Norfolk- there are fewer than 1200 in the whole of the UK!
“We really thought it was something that could benefit not just our members- adults and children in mental and/or physical disabilities in the area- but Cromer too, as it’s is a big tourist town. ,” explained ACS’ Shannon Smith. “We found a location for the toilet facility, and have included in our one toilet everything anyone could need, regardless of ability; we needed some means of generating the finances for the running costs and building overheads- hence the idea of opening a café.”
To thank Emma for the initial idea, ACS invited her to officially cut the ribbon and open The Honey Pot.
“It’s so exciting when people listen to what you are saying and take it on board,” adds Emma, who has four children, all with additional needs. “Without Space to Change and Changing Places facilities, families like mine simply can’t go out for even a few hours, let alone a day, because conventional accessible toilets don’t give us the space, nor the equipment, we need.”