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06 July 2020

Rugby World Cup venues

Next year will see the Rugby World cup come to the UK. As such, the Changing Places Consortium are currently campaigning for Changing Places toilets to be installed at all Rugby World Cup venues. We are delighted that three of the venues, Wembley, the Olympic stadium and the Brighton Community Stadium already have Changing Places installed, but the remaining 10 do not.
Nearly a quarter of a million people in the UK alone require Changing Places toilets (which have a bench and hoist) as standard accessible toilets do not meet their needs. Therefore, if venues are to be completely accessible during the Rugby World Cup then Changing Places are vital. Alongside local campaigners and our sponsors, Aveso, we have contacted all of the Rugby World Cup venues in England and Wales to explain the value of Changing Places and to make sure that facilities are in place to welcome all rugby fans regardless of their disability and personal needs. We are still waiting to hear from some of the venues, but were left disappointed by the recent response to our campaigners from the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff which stated:
“Unfortunately we do not have an area large enough to meet the formal requirements to become a changing space or to be certified as a changing place and those spaces that we do have available have already been utilised as toilets and accessible toilets. Sadly we suffer from a serious lack of space to do anything with.  At this point in time we have no plans to make any alterations but I would advise you that this is constantly kept under review.”
Welsh rugby fan Bethan Foden, who's daughter Lowri needs Changing Places toilet facilities, said:
"Having been to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on several occasions I find it completely laughable that there is not enough space for a Changing Places toilet. This is more about attitudes than practicalities. There are many venues across the UK that are considerably smaller and do have Changing Places. Lowri is going to see Wales vs South Africa (29th November) and as there are no Changing Places toilets at the stadium we will have to visit the facility in the St. David's Centre before the game. How many people have to travel that far to use the loo?"

We are pleased that three of the Rugby World Cup venues have already recognised the need for and value of Changing Places toilets. Changing Places campaign sponsors, Aveso, have installed Changing Places at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and at the Brighton Community Stadium. They know, first hand, that stadia are more than capable of installing Changing Places so are supporting our rugby campaign. Lucy Hemingway from Aveso said:

"Our hope is that one day Changing Places will become a standard facility at all sporting venues large and small as supporters should be able to enjoy a full game regardless of their ability. We look forward to working with all rugby venues to increase their accessibility by installing Changing Places in the run up to the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Aveso aim to provide the highest level of support and technical advice for anyone interested in a Changing Places toilet."

We hope that the 10 remaining World Cup venues will listen to the comments and concerns of their fans to make sure that the venues are fully accessible to everyone. After all, fans with a disability should be able to support their teams like anyone else. 

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