Councils are being urged to apply for a share of a £30m fund to install Changing Places toilets in public places and tourist attractions to make these areas more accessible for disabled people.
There are currently around 1,200 registered Changing Places toilets in England – these are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers.
Research conducted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, also published today, demonstrates that the top 3 places where people currently use and value CPTs are shops, hospitals, and tourist attractions.
Rishi Sunak said: “I have supported the Changing Places scheme ever since hearing first hand from parents of disabled children the difficulties they faced in finding accessible public facilities – something which the rest of us just take for granted.
“Applications for this £30 million funding are now open, and I would encourage all local authorities to get involved, to make a real difference for families with disabled children.”
Muscular Dystrophy UK, co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, will be providing specialist expertise to support local councils if they are awarded funding which will include:
• Dedicated advice and information and Changing Places officers to support councils
• Changing Places manual and training
• Connecting authorities and collaborative network support
• Signposting to suppliers and installation companies
Bairbre McKendrick, Access Officer at Leeds City Council said: “In Leeds we have been working at providing Changing Places toilets throughout the city since 2011. We currently have 42 CPTs half of which are in Leeds City Council buildings or Parks and which we maintain.
“After 10 years we still have more sites where a CPT would really be beneficial to families and individuals who use them.
“Our advice to other local authorities is not to be hesitant and apply for this funding, as users will be delighted to have new CPTs and will definitely use them. Your city and towns will benefit from CPTs and the freedom they can offer to people who need them.”
Councils will be invited to complete a short expression of interest to receive a proportion of this funding.
They are encouraged to consider where Changing Places toilets are most needed in their communities and are encouraged to work in partnership with other organisations to deliver these facilities, including securing match funding wherever possible.