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Nottingham City Council

16th Jun 2021

Nottingham City Centre

Nottingham is a vibrant city, home to 278,000 residents and is a popular tourist destination.

It is also one of the UK cities leading the way in the provision of Changing Places toilets.

In July 2006 Nottingham City Council opened a Changing Places toilet in a block of newly refurbished public toilets in Market Square, at the heart of the city centre.

The council now has plans to install Changing Places toilets at a number of key venues throughout the city, including the Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre at the Queen's Medical Centre.

The key features of the Changing Places toilet in Market Square are:

  • Adult-sized height adjustable changing bench
  • Ceiling track hoist
  • A peninsular toilet
  • Plenty of space for the disabled person and two carers.
  • It also provides a moveable sink and emergency alarm.

Making it happen

The Changing Places toilet was installed as part of the modernising day services programme, led by Martin Jackaman, day services modernisation manager at Nottingham City Council.

“The Changing places campaign has highlighted major needs,” Martin explains. “It’s about recognising that there are many people with profound and multiple learning disabilities – and a range of other needs – who are being denied the opportunity to play a full part in the community.”

To get the Changing Place toilet installed, Martin brought together a cross-department working group made up of neighbourhood services, who have responsibility for the city’s toilets, housing, because of their knowledge of hoists and technology, design services, architects and an access manager, and physiotherapy (from Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust). He also had key support from the councillor holding portfolio responsibility for disability.

“It’s very much about being ambitious for Nottingham,” he explains. “My day services modernisation plan is called 'Taking our place in Nottingham', so this is just a part of that, and what better way to do it than to deal with the basics that support individuals and carers. We are already getting a great deal of interest from parents and carers, as well as day centres, residential establishments and colleges.”

How it has made a difference

The provision of a Changing Places toilet in the city centre means that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families can now spend a day in the city, either shopping, dining or making use of leisure facilities.

This is exactly what mum Bethan and her two daughters were able to do for the first time in years, thanks to Nottingham City Council's decision to install a Changing Places toilet.

Lowri has profound and multiple learning disabilities due to Rett syndrome. She is a wheelchair user with no independent mobility and needs complete 24-hour support with all aspects of her care. Lowri wears continence pads which need to be changed in a Changing Places toilet, like the one in Nottingham. The facility provides a height adjustable changing bench where Lowri can be comfortably laid down, a hoist to allow her to be lifted from her wheelchair on to the bed, and plenty of space.

"We used the Changing places toilet on Saturday and it was brilliant!" Bethan enthuses. "Lowri was very comfortable when we used the changing bench and the whole place was spotless. I was able to take Elin and Lowri shopping for school clothes in the morning, have lunch and then go straight on to the theatre, just like anyone else would have done."

The challenge now is to see Nottingham’s success reproduced across the country.