Government has announced new funding will be provided to councils in England to improve access for people who cannot use standard toilets.
Government has announced (4 March) a new £30 million fund to increase the number of Changing Places toilet facilities across existing buildings in England.
Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard disabled toilets, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers. These facilities are a lifeline for more than a quarter of a million disabled people across the UK.
This investment in existing buildings will allow thousands of people with complex needs greater access to public places.
Announced by Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall, the new funding follows laws that came into effect from January 2021 that made the provision of Changing Places toilets compulsory in certain new buildings, for example leisure and sports, cinemas, and arts and tourism venues.
“For too long, the lack of suitable toilet facilities has meant disabled people have faced major difficulties when they shop, go out, or travel and this should not be the case.
“This programme is a significant investment from government that will help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to those people who have specific needs.”
The programme will be delivered in partnership with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK, co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, who will provide advice to support councils in their delivery.
District and unitary authorities will soon receive full details of how they can access this funding soon. Authorities will be invited to complete a short “opt in” expression of interest to receive a proportion of this funding. Local authorities are encouraged to consider where Changing Places toilets are most needed in their communities, and are encouraged to work in partnership with other organisations to deliver these facilities, including securing match funding wherever possible.
Organisations interested in installing Changing Places toilets are advised to get in touch with their relevant local authority to register your interest in working in partnership with them to deliver a Changing Places toilet in their venue/ building.