The Changing Places consortium campaigns for fully accessible toilets to be installed in public places. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities or with physical disabilities often need extra equipment and space to use the toilet safely and comfortably. Changing Places toilets are larger than standard accessible toilets and include specialist equipment such as a hoist and adult-sized changing bench. There is also room for a carer to assist an individual to use the equipment.
Over a quarter of a million people in the UK need Changing Places toilets to enable them to access days out, public places, attend work or do other daily tasks. This includes many people living with muscle-wasting conditions, as well as people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
Going to the toilet is a basic human right, and the lack of larger accessible toilets available in the public is a systemic problem, which increases inequality and isolation.
In 2020, True Colours approved a grant to the Changing Places Consortium towards the costs of a new website and interactive map to help users locate Changing Places toilets quickly and easily. The map can now be used on mobiles or tablets, allowing thousands of people to check for facilities while on the move – something that was impossible before the new site and map were created.
Growing awareness of the importance of Changing Places has resulted in new toilets being opened in a variety of locations including private buildings, theme parks, historical monuments and hotels. The government has launched its Changing Places Fund through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which will fund the installation of Changing Places toilets in existing buildings across England. In addition, the Department for Transport is supporting a £2 million programme for Changing Places in Motorway Service Stations. Both these projects are being supported by the Changing Places Consortium and all the new toilets will be recorded on the virtual map.
In 2022, we were delighted to see the first bank, the first hotel and the first ferry company committing to providing Changing Places to their customers.