The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), a registered charity is primarily devoted to animal care and conservation of species and habitat of the world’s wildlife. Through our two Zoological Parks at Africa Alive! and Banham Zoo as well as our educational outreach team, we reach over 350,000 people every year.
The main strands of our work focus on Education, Conservation, Environmental Protection and Animal Welfare. Our education teams, one of which is based at each park, visit schools the length and breadth of our two counties. The two Zoological Parks give local people direct access to see and understand some of the world’s most endangered species. We also offer volunteering opportunities to all sections of our society.
As ZSEA moves in to its fifth year of operation, we are seeking to develop our Zoological Parks to meet our charitable objectives and thus better serve the people of Norfolk and Suffolk. We intend to invest over £500,000 in capital expenditure in 2017 and have ambitious plans for the following two years.
The full scope of our planned capital investment cannot be met in entirety from our statutory reserves or from the income generated from our trading operations, so we are seeking support towards some of these costs.
Having recently established a fundraising department, we are exploring all avenues for funding. We have established a corporate and major giving programme, challenge events (including an expedition which has just returned from Kilimanjaro and a planned expedition to the Great Wall of China), donations on entrance gates as well as a legacy scheme. Some of our capital expenditure this year is funded from our trading profit but the vast majority will come from a well thought out fundraising plan.
Our priority, however, is to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy our parks when they visit. One particular area we are focussing on is ensuring that all our disabled guests have access to appropriate toilet facilities, including those need access to changing facilities and space for a carer to assist them. To meet this need we aim to provide a Changing Place at Banham Zoo in addition to the current standard accessible toilets.
Banham Zoo currently provides standard accessible toilets for disabled guests however these toilets do not provide changing facilities for guests who need carers to assist with their toileting. The nearest changing place which provides this facility is over 20 miles from the park. This means that not only are a significant number of our 350,000 guests (approximately 200,000 of whom are local) unable to fully enjoy their day but there are possibly many others who would not even attempt such an excursion due to the difficulties involved. This does not just impact on our disabled guests but also their families and friends who visit with them.
By providing a Changing Place in addition to our current toilet provision we would be able to make the park accessible to all. It will also allow us to educate more of the general public and inspire an interest in conservation and zoology. In addition to the animals we hold regular feeding talks and other opportunities to interact with the animals allowing access to new experiences. This facility would also expand leisure opportunities in the area for people with this level of need and their families.