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Over 500 Changing Places Toilets to be built across England

By Larissa Cittadin

Funding of £30 million will help provide about 500 new Changing Places Toilets (CPTs) in England, enabling people with disabilities that severely limit mobility to enjoy everything their local area has to offer with dignity and comfort. £23.5m worth of the funding has been allocated across 191 councils and will see 513 new CPTs installed in public places and tourist attractions across England. The £6.5 million remaining will be allocated later this year and will focus on areas with little or no access to Changing Places toilets.

Facilities were announced as part of the National Disability Strategy, the investment is from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities of UK and this programme is in partnership with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK.

At the beginning of this year there were about 1,300 facilities across the country, but this amount does not come close to enough for demand, and the number of CPTs needs to increase in order to improve access for those with severe mobility impairments and their carers. In England, over 250,000 people do not have access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs. Although standard accessible toilets meet the needs of a wide range of people, they do not meet the needs of those with more complex requirements.

Changing Places are designed to improve the health, safety, and comfort of someone who may need extra support during personal care tasks as well as support features for assistants. These features include extra equipment like a hoist, an adult sized changing bench and space for carers. Unfortunately, in Ireland Building Regulations, Changing Places are not mandatory. There is a huge campaign for more CPTs and a public consultation on the Review of Building Regulations Part M was completed previously, but currently less than 20 CPTs units are available across the whole country.

While there is no regulation for Changing Places Toilets in Ireland, standards that are already successfully applied in other countries are used to try supply this essential service where possible. Earlier this month Kildare County Council opened its first Changing Place Toilet, located on floor 0 in the Council Offices in Devoy Park. This is the first in a series of 3 planned facilities with two more planned for Newbridge Sports Centre and the new library in Naas.

For more information on Changing Places toilets to be built across England you can read this BBC News article.

If you are interested in knowing more about Changing places in Ireland you can visit the Changing Places Ireland website.

Alternatively, if you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].