We’ll be honest, here at the Consortium it feels like only a few weeks have passed since we were writing an article announcing the launch of our new website for CPAD21… In reality, it’s been a whole busy, exciting, successful and rewarding year! To celebrate the day, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the key happenings from the past year and some of the things coming up that we’re most looking forward to…
DLUHC £30m funding programme
This time last year we were all eagerly awaiting the launch of the application phase of the DLUHC’s (then MHCLG) £30m investment for Local Authorities in England to install Changing Places toilets. Today we’re celebrating the fact that £26.5m of that funding has been allocated across 191 Local Authorities and will see 513 new Changing Places toilets installed over the next few years. Consortium co-chair MDUK is working closely with DLUHC and Local Authorities to support them all through the process.Now (just as eagerly as then) we await the launch of round 2, which will see the remaining £6.5m allocated and will focus on areas where there is currently little to no Changing Places toilets provision.
Scottish Government announced £10m fund
We were thrilled in December 2021 when the Scottish Government announced a similar fund for Scotland. Consortium co-chair PAMIS is working with the government to establish how the programme will be managed and we look forward to being able to share an update soon!
Northern Ireland Building Regs change
In March 2022, Northern Ireland made changes to their building regulations, making Changing Places toilets essential in certain public buildings. These changes came into effect in June 2022 and we’re delighted!
Marsham Court Hotel
In November 2021 Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth became the first hotel in the UK to install a Changing Places toilet, making them perhaps - dare we say it? – the most inclusive hotel in the country! Since then, we’ve seen a lot of praise for the venue, and we hope that it will encourage more hotels to follow suit!
National Disability Strategy
This year, the National Disability included Changing Places toilets for the first time ever! It was fantastic to see the facilities, which we already know to be essential, recognised as part of the official conversation in this way.
Changing Places Communications
You’ll know already that our campaigners, supporters, and community are at the heart of the Changing Places toilets campaign. We often state that we wouldn’t be where we are, wouldn’t be able to do all that we do, without you… and it’s true! With that in mind it’s important to us that we can stay in touch with you and always make sure you know what’s going on in our world – and we can keep up to date with what’s going on in yours (after all, the two worlds aren’t that separate!).
In November, we launched two new social media accounts – on LinkedIn and Instagram – as well as our new Changing Places newsletter – Engaged – and we’re loving exploring these new modes of communication and being even more connected to the community we care about.
Speaking of our community…
Over the past year, many of our campaigners have been recognised for their fantastic work, winning multiple awards, being invited to speak at events and to the press – all of them continuing to champion the Changing Places toilets cause and fight for a more inclusive society.
Since last CPAD, we’ve registered 126 new Changing Places toilets across the UK, taking us to 1,738 overall. We love seeing that number going up and can’t wait to see what it will look like next year!
So what’s next?
The Changing Places toilets campaign has never been one to rest on its laurels, each success being a happy tick on our to-do list. So here’s a look at what we have coming up:
We’re getting ready for round 2 of the DLUHC funding to be launched for the allocation of the remaining £6.5m– we know it’s coming, and we know it will focus on Local Authorities that currently have low to no provision of Changing Places toilets. We’re looking forward to being able to share the details with you soon!
Similarly, we look forward to hearing more from the Scottish Government about their £10m programme and to being able to let you know how you canget involved.
We’re working on phase 2 of work on our website – hopefully bringing more helpful features and helpful updates…watch this space!
More registrations! With the Local Authorities starting to receive their funding, we look forward to being able to share news of the first installations in the coming months, along with registrations from Motorway Service Areas thanks to our work with the DfT and their investment of £2m. Work on the programme was unavoidably delayed thanks to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, but we’re now back on track and expect the registrations to come flowing in!
But for now, all that's left for us to say is:
Happy Changing Places Awareness Day - from all at the Changing Places toilets Consortium!