Hastings and Bexhill Mencap has been given provisional planning approval by the local council to expand their existing building. This will accommodate rehearsal space for their "Active Arts" courses but will also include a disabled changing places facility which will meet the needs of anyone with a disability.
Mencap run 'Active Arts', performing and visual arts courses, for adults with learning disabilities. Students showcase their talents in their end of year performance at the De La Warr Pavilion. Ann Bloomfield, Active Arts co-ordinator said, "The idea was that we would have a space available here which would be the size of the stage and the side wings of the theatre we do the show in and this will give our students the best possible opportunity when rehearsing".
The plan for expansion will see new disabled changing places facilities that will be made accessible not only to the members of the charity but to anyone locally who may require that specific service. Administrator for Mencap, Lianne Buttrey, said "in this town, there are very few [changing places]. I think there's only 2 or 3 and when you have a facility like that, you have to open up your facility for anyone to use it". She added that this would increase the services the charity can provide the public.
The charity hopes to gain planning permission by the new year, but will need to raise £750,000 to build the new facility.