'Changing Places' - Introduces Larger Disabled Toilet
Jul, 22 2020
We’ve all at some point in our lives experienced an unfortunate moment where we desperately need the toilet. Thankfully, we’ve been able to release ourselves quickly as we have the physical means to dash to the nearest loo.
Sadly, however not all of us are that privileged. For a large percentage of people living in the UK they are disabled. This means they don’t have the rapid function of easily using a nearby toilet facility.
‘Changing Places’ is providing compulsory large accessible toilets for severely disabled people in England from 2021.
This will include the following places:-
- Shopping centres
- Sports and arts venues
The facilities include hoists, changing benches and space for carers.
The figures show that there were more than 1,400 Changing Places toilets in the UK, compared with 140 in 2007, but more were needed to support about 250,000 severely disabled people.
The frustration for disabled people is rife with many commenting about restricting their drinking to avoid needing the toilet when they were out, risking dehydration and urinary tract infections.
Helen Whately, Minister for Care, described what the service will offer and how it will help disabled people,
"Compulsory Changing Places in new public buildings is a major step in reducing the health inequalities. All public spaces should cater for people with disabilities so they don't have to suffer discomfort, embarrassment, or even injury without access to a Changing Place."
This governmental decision will mean buildings will need to adapt to the larger space required for Changing Places which will need 12 square metres to be designed for new public buildings.
Two important funds have already been implemented:-
- A £30m fund to install Changing Places in existing premises was announced in March's Budget.
- On Sunday (19th July ),the Department for Transport and Muscular Dystrophy UK announced a £1.27m fund to install 37 more Changing Places at service stations across England.
This means that 87 of England's 118 service stations will have the facilities in the next few years.
Zack Kerr, who has cerebral palsy, launched a campaign for more Changing Places after a "distressing" journey from his Lancashire home to south Wales three years ago.
He described the lack of toilets in the following quote,
"We stopped at three service stations on route along the M62, M6 and M5 but none of them had an accessible changing facility."
At the beginning of his campaign there were a total of 10 Changing Places in the whole country and none of them reached areas north of Birmingham. Zack was especially pleased when he discovered there would be more facilities in northern England.
Large accessible toilets for severely disabled people - known as Changing Places - will be made compulsory for new buildings in England from 2021.
^Alex Ashworth CCG UK Blogger