Changing Places facility at the National Galleries of Scotland image

More than 250,000 disabled people in the country will benefit from greater access to life-enhancing Changing Places toilets, as the UK Government announces a new £30 million fund to increase the number of facilities across England.

Announced by Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall, the move follows changes to statutory guidance that came into effect from January 2021 that made the provision of Changing Places toilets compulsory in certain new buildings.

Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard disabled toilets, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.

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The combination of the updated statutory guidance and today’s investment for existing buildings means thousands of people with complex needs will have greater access to public places.

Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall MP said: “For too long, the lack of suitable toilet facilities has meant disabled people have faced major difficulties when they shop, go out, or travel and this should not be the case.

“That’s why the provision of Changing Places toilets is so important for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

“This programme is a significant investment from government that will help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to those people who have specific needs.”

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium and will provide advice to support councils in its delivery.

Councils will be invited to opt in to bid for a proportion of the £30 million funding so they can install facilities in their communities and boost the number of Changing Places toilets in existing buildings, for example leisure and sports, cinemas, and arts and tourism venues.

This will improve the geographical spread across England and ensure more disabled people can take part in everyday activities that have the greatest impact on their quality of life.

In December, Tesco installed its 100th Changing Places facility at its Watford Extra store to enable disabled customers to use toilets safely and comfortably.

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