Share of £30m Changing Places toilets fund now open for applications

29 Jul 2021 03:48 PM

Councils are being urged to apply for a share of a £30 million fund to install life-enhancing Changing Places toilets in public places and tourist attractions.

Councils are being urged to apply for a share of a £30 million fund to install life-enhancing Changing Places toilets (CPTs) in public places and tourist attractions, providing a significant increase in areas where users want them most.

There are currently around 1,200 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.

Over 250,000 people in the country need these facilities to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted.

Research conducted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, also published, demonstrates that the top 3 places where people currently use and value CPTs are shops, hospitals, and tourist attractions.

Users, their families, and carers would like to see future provision in areas enabling them to ‘have a day out’ and undertake more recreational activities with dignity, confidence, and freedom.

The top 3 locations where these facilities should be made available were country parks, open spaces, tourist attractions, transport networks – the journey to the destination being a key factor in planning a day out. The top 3 venues were: beaches and the seaside, motorway services, and parks or gardens.

Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall MP yesterday said:

In our national effort to build back better from COVID-19, the government wants to create a stronger, safer and fairer society in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

With central government, local government and the third sector working more closely together than ever before, we will put the right facilities in the right places for those who need them the most – extending freedom, accessibility and dignity to all.

Ministerial Disability Champion Eddie Hughes MP yesterday said:

Where people shop, go out, or travel should not be determined by their disability. That’s why the provision of Changing Places toilets is so important for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

I hope local councils across England will apply for funding to install CPTs so everyone can enjoy the benefits of lockdown easing.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP yesterday said:

I have supported the Changing Places scheme ever since hearing first hand from parents of disabled children the difficulties they faced in finding accessible public facilities – something which the rest of us just take for granted.

Applications for this £30 million funding are now open, and I would encourage all local authorities to get involved, to make a real difference for families with disabled children.

Lorna Fillingham from Ashby, a Changing Places campaigner yesterday said:

I have a disabled daughter who is a wheelchair user, and she’s nonverbal, which means that she can’t actually tell us when she needs to go to the toilet. Changing Places toilets with an adult changing table, hoist and toilet are therefore a lifeline to us to have a family day out.

Without these types of special facilities disabled children are having to be changed on public toilet floors or in the back of cars. In the 21st century nobody should be isolated in their homes because of a lack of an accessible toilet in their community, and nobody should have to be laid on a public toilet floor.

Click here for the full press release