The new £30m fund means more than 250,000 disabled people will benefit from greater access to Changing Places toilets
The move follows laws that came into effect from January 2021 that made the provision of Changing Places toilets compulsory in certain new buildings.
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.
The combination of the change in the law and today’s investment for existing buildings means thousands of people with complex needs will have greater access to public places.
Councils will be invited to “opt in” to bid for a proportion of the £30m funding so they can install facilities in their communities and boost the number of Changing Place toilets in existing 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.” – Luke Hall
Regional growth minister Luke Hall MP, said: “This programme is a significant investment from government that will help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to those people who have specific needs. ”
Kerry Thompson, Changing Places campaigner, said: “The biggest challenge I face when going anywhere outside my home is locating a Changing Places facility.
“They really do make a world of difference when planning days out so today’s announcement will open up a whole new world for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without support from Muscular Dystrophy UK, co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium.
“Knowing I have access to a Changing Places toilet lets me enjoy myself without having to worry about finding an accessible facility that can accommodate my needs.
“The additional funding from the government to improve facilities in existing buildings across England will give me and my husband the freedom that so many disabled people are desperate for.”
“Today’s announcement of £30m worth of funding to improve facilities in existing buildings is fantastic news for disabled people across England who need Changing Places toilets.” – Robert Burley
Robert Burley, director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Everyone has the right to use a public toilet when they need to, and these accessible toilets vastly improve a person’s independence and make planning days out much easier.
“This is a big step towards tackling the exclusion that many disabled people, including those with muscle-wasting conditions, experience when they are out and about.
“Today’s announcement would not have been achieved without everyone working together, and Muscular Dystrophy UK is particularly grateful to the hard work of our extraordinary campaigners and the members of the Changing Places Consortium.”