The Emirates Stadium, home of Premier League football club Arsenal FC, launched the 600th fully accessible Changing Places toilet last week.
Arsenal fan and Mencap campaigns assistant Leroy Binns (pictured), who has a learning disability, officially opened the facility alongside journalist, presenter and fellow Arsenal fan Alex Brooker, who is best known for his work with Channel 4 and its coverage of the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.
Changing Places toilets are larger than a standard disabled toilet and include a height-adjustable bench, a hoist and room for a wheelchair and up two carers. The 600th toilet is a huge milestone for the Changing Places campaign, which for the past 8 years has called for an increase in the number of fully accessible toilets in public places so that people who need them can enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else. Changing Places toilets have been installed in shopping centres, museums, hospitals, airports and many other public places such as the O2 Arena and Olympic Park in London and are now being installed across Europe.
The Changing Places facility is just one of a number of investments Arsenal is making for its disabled supporters. It forms part of Arsenal’s equality and diversity campaign, ‘Arsenal for Everyone’, which strives to ensure supporters, staff and everyone connected to Arsenal feels an equal sense of belonging.
“I have campaigned for a Premier League football club to install a Changing Places toilet for years,” said Binns. “Many people with a disability who are huge football fans can’t watch their favourite teams at their ground as the toilets are not suitable for them.
“I am delighted my club Arsenal are first in the Premier League in installing the toilet, which will make the ground far more accessible to fans with a disability. I hope other Premiership teams follow and realise the importance of stadiums having equal access to fans with a disability.”
Alun Francis, Arsenal’s disability liaison officer, added: “We are all incredibly proud to be the first Premier League stadium to install a Changing Places toilet. Arsenal values everyone connected to the Club and we want all visitors to the Emirates Stadium to feel like they belong here and enjoy an equal matchday experience without the stress that standard disabled toilets can cause.”