Changing Places, the campaign for fully accessible toilets to be installed in public places, has launched a new map showing the location of all Changing Places toilets in the UK for the 250,000 people nationwide who need these facilities, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
The map was launched to coincide with World Toilet Day on November 19, which is a World Health Organization initiative and draws global attention to the sanitation crisis, highlighting the importance of high standard toilet facilities.
The UK is a world leader in providing specialised toilets designed for people whose needs are not met by standard accessible toilets, with more than 770 available across the UK. The web-based map features all of these facilities, making the lives of people with a disability and their families and carers much simpler.
Caroline Mumford, Changing Places campaigner and mother of Thomas (both pictured above), who is 7 and has cerebral palsy, said: “As the parent of a child with a disability, I am thrilled by the announcement of a new Changing Places map. I successfully campaigned alongside the Council and local charity SNAAP for a Changing Place to be opened in Whitstable, which will be featured on the map. It will be a great source of information and encouragement to people thinking of visiting the town.
“My son Thomas loves being out and about, so this will also be incredibly helpful in planning trips and days out. Organising days out can be very stressful when you have to consider the needs of a loved one with a disability. Prior to the Changing Places opening at Whitstable Harbour, I had to change Thomas on a dirty toilet floor or be forced to go home, which was frustrating considering the needs of my younger daughter too. These facilities are absolutely essential for my family. “
Leroy Binns, Mencap employee and Changing Places champion, added: “As somebody with a learning disability, I understand how important it is to know that suitable facilities will be available when going out and about. The new map is a great idea and will help families and carers when planning a day out. Without Changing Places facilities, people with profound and multiple disabilities would have to choose between being changed on a dirty toilet floor, or not going out at all. This isn’t fair and is a barrier to them being included within their own community.”
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been working with the Changing Places Consortium to improve quality of life and opportunity for severely disabled people, their carers and families by supporting improved provision of Changing Places Toilets. To ensure people get the most from these important facilities, DCLG and the Devolved Administrations have grant funded the Changing Places consortium and the British Toilet Association to develop the map.
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 to two carers.
You can find the new Changing Places map here: www.changingplacesmap.org.uk