A new Changing Places toilet has been unveiled at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire - making it the 250th to be installed since the scheme was launched in 2006 by the Changing Places Consortium. Changing Places toilets cater for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex health needs.
The toilets are larger than standard toilets, have enough room for at least 2 carers, and come equipped with a centrally-placed toilet, an adjustable changing bench and a ceiling hoist.
Hampshire Parent Forum chair Ray Daniel campaigned for the toilet at Marwell. Ray, who has a 15-year-old son with cerebral palsy, said: "For us as a family, a Changing Places facility means that we can be out for longer than four hours, and spend a whole day at the zoological park. I found Marwell Wildlife very receptive to the need for a Changing Places toilet and I am very impressed with the speed and enthusiasm that has led to this great facility." Beverley Dawkins OBE, Mencap's national officer for profound and multiple learning disabilities and co-chair of the Changing Places consortium said: "The impact of a Changing Places toilet on the quality of life for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities is significant. Without access to Changing Places toilets carers are often forced to change family members on a dirty toilet floor with little or no privacy. The alternative is to limit outings to a couple of hours or to not go out at all. "We have achieved great strides in this campaign since it launched however there are many more facilities still needed. The Changing Places consortium will continue to lobby for more facilities across the UK to cater for the needs of our most vulnerable citizens."
James Cretney, Marwell Wildlife's chief executive said: "At Marwell Wildlife we take inclusion seriously and pride ourselves as being an accessible regional tourist attraction. I very much hope that our new Changing Places facility will now allow a wider group of guests, who may have been unable to enjoy a visit to Marwell, to now come and enjoy the park. We are especially grateful to The Aiming High team at Hampshire County Council whose capital fund financed this project."