The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre was founded in 1919 to provide holiday and respite accommodation to ex members of the armed and merchant services from all over the country, as a memorial to the late Lord Kitchener. In those days it was a male only environment and the accommodation was little better than that to be found in military barracks. Three tier bunk beds were provided and some of the men slept up to twelve to a room.
Many years and a world war later most of the facilities have improved beyond all recognition. Female ex-members of the forces are now accepted as are wives and widows (or husbands and widowers) and instead of twelve to a room there are now ten en suite twin bedded rooms.
In more recent times we have provided our local non-resident ex-service personnel with breakfast where they can get together on a social basis twice a month to reminisce. In these days when post traumatic stress disorder is an established problem that needs attention it is an opportunity for us to try and help any ex-service personnel who might need it. We are not experts in this field and invite those who are to join us for these occasions.
A leftover from the barrack style days is our toilets. All those who stay overnight have their own modern facilities in their en suite bathrooms but non-resident visitors have to make do with toilets that met an acceptable standard for men just after WW1. These comprise three urinals opening directly onto an approach corridor used by everyone and two WC stalls, one reserved for ladies and one for either sex.
These two stalls are only separated by a thin partition that does not reach the ceiling, allowing the free passage of noise and odours between the two. We have no separate toilet for those who might be disabled.
The Centre, which was built in 1870, does not lend itself to be wheelchair friendly but we could provide much better facilities for the ambulant disabled which is the subject of this project, to add a separate accessible WC for the use of our disabled guests.
We would hope to raise sufficient funds so that whilst this work is being undertaken we could upgrade the remaining toilet accommodation to a much more modern standard and provide two WC stalls off a new ladies’ powder room. The urinals would be renewed and re-orientated so that the door opens onto washbasins rather than the urinals.
Please help us to join the 21st century!