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New funding will help provide over 500 new Changing Places Toilets in England

Thousands of severely disabled people who need specialised public facilities will benefit from over 500 new Changing Places toilets in England. The Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Statement over £23.5 million has been allocated to 191 councils across England to install Changing Places toilets in public places and tourist attractions, dramatically increasing accessibility in areas where users want them most.

There are currently just over 1,300 registered Changing Places toilets in England – these are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers. Today’s package will bring the total number of Changing Places toilets to 1,813.

An additional £6.5 million will be allocated in a further round later in 2022 and will focus on areas where there is little or no access to Changing Places toilets.

Ministerial Disability Champion Eddie Hughes MP said:

“It goes without saying that people with severe disabilities, their families and carers should be able to go shopping, plan a day out or travel without needing to worry about whether they will have access to suitable toilet facilities.”

New facilities will now be built in the following venues:

  • Public parks and open spaces
  • Tourist attractions including historic properties, seaside resorts and zoos
  • Cathedrals
  • Museums, theatres, and galleries
  • Shopping malls
  • Libraries and public buildings

Claire Haymes is Changing Places Project Manager at Closomat, experts in Changing Places installation. She added: “Whether incorporating a Changing Places into a new build project, or adding one to an existing building, it is so important to choose a contractor with the right knowledge and experience. Following the best practice technical standard of BS8300:2018, not only ensures your facility meet the needs of as many disabled people as possible, but also that a facility can be registered and listed on the Changing Places map. With so few Changing Places still in the UK, knowing where they are available is critical.”

Changing Places Campaigner, Sarah Brisdion, has an 11-year-old disabled son with cerebral palsy who requires physical support when using the toilet. She said:

You’d be amazed at how many installers make simple mistakes, that result in big problems for end users. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing that brilliant bench and hoist sign on the door, only to find that what is behind it, doesn’t cater for you.

“Some of the most common mistakes include: incorrect positioning of the toilet, changing benches that do not take the required safe working load, hoist systems that do not cover the entire room, small, fixed height, wall-mounted sinks, missing privacy screens, not enough space and unsuitable hand dryers for wheelchair users.

“In addition to the correct equipment, there are many other factors that need to be considered when installing a Changing Places toilet, such as the location of the room in the building, how it is accessed, and the maintenance required to keep it safe. So choosing the right partner for these projects is vital.”

The new facilities are latest to be announced as part of National Disability Strategy which is transforming the quality of life for thousands of people nationwide

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