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250th milestone for Changing Places

4th Mar 2013

250th milestone for Changing Places campaign

A new Changing Places toilet at Marwell Wildlife in Hampshire has marked the 250th location – and the first zoological park - to install a facility in the United Kingdom. The number of Changing Places toilets, which cater for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex health needs, has grown significantly since the Changing Places Consortium launched in 2006.

Changing Places toilets should be provided in addition to standard disabled toilets to meet the needs of the estimated 250,000 people in the UK whose toileting needs are not currently being met. A Changing Places toilet is larger than a standard disabled toilet with enough room for at least two carers and comes equipped with a centrally placed toilet, an adjustable changing bench and ceiling hoist.

Hampshire Parent Forum chair Ray Daniel campaigned for the toilet at Marwell. Ray, who has a 15-year-old son with cerebral palsy, said: “For us as a family, a Changing Places facility means that we can be out for longer than four hours, and spend a whole day at the zoological park. I found Marwell Wildlife very receptive to the need for a Changing Places toilet and I am very impressed with the speed and enthusiasm that has led to this great facility.”

James Cretney, Marwell Wildlife’s Chief Executive said: “At Marwell Wildlife we take inclusion seriously and pride ourselves as being an accessible regional tourist attraction. I very much hope that our new Changing Places facility will now allow a wider group of guests, who may have been unable to enjoy a visit to Marwell, to now come and enjoy the park. We are especially grateful to The Aiming High team at Hampshire County Council whose capital fund financed this project.”

Beverley Dawkins OBE, Mencap’s national officer for profound and multiple learning disabilities and co-chair of the Changing Places consortium said: “The impact of a Changing Places toilet on the quality of life for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities is significant. Without access to Changing Places toilets carers are often forced to change family members on a dirty toilet floor with little or no privacy. The alternative is to limit outings to a couple of hours or to not go out at all.

“We have achieved great strides in this campaign since it launched however there are many more facilities still needed. The Changing Places consortium will continue to lobby for more facilities across the UK to cater for the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Changing Places consortium comprises Mencap, PAMIS, Centre for Accessible Environment, Nottingham City Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Valuing People Support Team and the Scottish Government.

The Changing Places consortium has been successful in securing Changing Places toilets to be included in venues for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The consortium will continue to lobby for the facilities to be installed in all large public places and the government has announced that they will formally consider including Changing Places toilets in the new building regulations due for amendment in 2013.