Last week the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced plans for a joint consultation on improving Changing Places toilets in specific new, large buildings. Changing Places toilets are designed to meet the needs of people with complex physical disabilities or learning difficulties. They provide a height-adjustable, adult-sized changing bench; a hoist system; adequate space in the changing area for both user and carer; privacy and a safe environment.
It is estimated that at least 250,000 people in the UK need Changing Places toilets in order to have their toileting needs met in a safe, dignified and humane way. Since 2007 the number of Changing Places toilets has increased from 140 to over 1,200, including facilities in the majority of Premier League stadia, many major shopping centres, arenas, railway stations and theme parks. The Government has provided financial support to develop a web-based map to show the location of existing Changing Places facilities and the Department for Transport (DfT) is already providing £2 million in funding for provision in motorway service areas. This is in addition to £2 million from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to improve facilities in hospitals.
Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire, has advocated the expansion of disabled facilities and welcomed the announcement. He visited Migloo in January 2018 to learn about how a business in his constituency was making portable changing facilities available to those with complex needs. Migloo’s owners have since moved to Wales but the company still uses AlphaFab, a business based in Pinvin in Mr Huddleston’s constituency as their manufacturer.
Mr Huddleston said, “this is a clear and welcome statement of intent from this Government. This consultation will build on already extensive work on disabled facilities and open up a raft of new experiences to disabled people who currently cannot visit many public places because of inadequate facilities. This is morally the right thing to do and economically the right thing to do, as it will allow many more people to enjoy leisure activities and our thriving visitor economy.
“I am proud that constituents and former constituents of mine have been so heavily involved in the provision of disabled toilet and changing facilities. I hope to visit AlphaFab soon and learn more about how Worcestershire business is supporting disabled people. As soon as the consultation is live on the Government website, I would encourage any constituent of mine who has a view to express to contribute and ensure that their voice is heard.”
Nigel Huddleston MP
Member of Parliament for Mid Worcestershire
0207 219 5814