There are currently only 11 places of worship that are registered as having a Changing Places toilet in the UK.
However, there are over 40,000 buildings in the UK that are open to the public and being used as a place of worship.
Over 250,000 people in the UK have disabilities meaning they require help with changing and using the toilet – so why do so few places of worship cater for these needs?
Without a Changing Places toilet, disabled people may struggle to attend their local place of worship, leaving them isolated, as well as putting their health at risk.
In this article, we will cover three areas in how we can help increase the number of Changing Places in places of worship and how we can provide solutions to make this happen.
1) It is now a legal requirement
From 1 January 2021, most new public buildings, including places of worship, are now legally required to install Changing Place facilities.
Following a lengthy consultation, this is the government’s response to a proposal to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets.
This legislation is set out in Document M and BS 8300-2:2018 building regulations.
It states that assembly, recreation and entertainment buildings with a capacity for 350 people or more; or a collection of smaller buildings associated with a site for assembly, recreation or entertainment, with a capacity of 2,000 people or more, must have at least one Changing Places toilet included in any planning application.
Places of worship falls under the category for types of buildings that can be defined as places of ‘assembly, recreation and entertainment.’
With new building regulations now in full effect, it’s clear that the public increasingly expect venues to be inclusive and accessible.
As part of our Changing Places package, we provide advice and consultancy on what you need to know to ensure you have a registered and compliant Changing Places toilet.
Want to know more about how we can help you with the latest Changing Places regulations and funding? Click here to book a consultation or CPD with our team.
2) Changing Places funding for places of worship
Earlier this year, the Chancellor confirmed in the 2022 Spring Statement that over £23.5 million of a £30m Changing Places fund has been allocated to 191 councils across England.
The purpose of this funding was to help to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets in public places, helping bring the total number of registered facilities up to 1,813.
Having gone through the process of verifying where Changing Places were most needed in England, the government announced a list of local authorities that have been successful in their application for Changing Places toilet funding.
You can read the full list of the councils that were successful here.
Funding Update 2022
Under the latest Changing Places funding package, 191 councils will receive a share of £23.5 million to install 513 new Changing Place toilets for severely disabled people across England.
Following the results from the study by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, new facilities will now be built in the following venues:
- Public parks and open spaces
- Tourist attractions including historic properties, seaside resorts and zoos
- Places of worship including cathedrals
- Museums, theatres, and galleries
- Shopping malls
- Libraries and public buildings
The remaining £6.5m of the fund will be allocated to local councils in a further round later this year and will focus on areas where there is little or no Changing Places toilet provision.
Working with the Changing Places Consortium, Innova can help local authorities looking to use their Changing Place funding to install a facility in a place of worship.
Through consultations, site visits and training, we can ensure that your facility meets all the conditions set out in the funding agreement to install a compliant Changing Place, whether that is an existing building or a modular facility.
Read more about the £30m Changing Places fund by reading our blog.
3) Modular Changing Places
One of the potential problems that may prevent a place of worship from including a Changing Place is size.
Many of these venues are Listed or older buildings that may not have the space or have permission to make the necessary building works to fit a Changing Place toilet.
However, Innova have a modular solution that can solve this issue.
Built fully off-site, modular Changing Places are pre-fabricated units that can be situated wherever needed to provide accessible toilet facilities for disabled users.
They can be installed in half a day onto a prepared base with services already in place, providing a quick and effective way of including a compliant Changing Place.
Through this method of construction, it allows places of worship to become more accessible, as families and their carers have the confidence that a venue has suitable changing and toileting facilities available.
Click here to see how we helped the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo become more inclusive with a modular Changing Place.
It is clear to see that more is needed to be done to ensure more places of worship are accessible by having a Changing Places toilet.
Out of the 40,000 buildings currently open to the public and being used as a place of worship, only 11 have a registered facility.
With the help of Innova, we can provide advice that enables local authorities, charities and organisations to understand the latest regulations and funding available to them to change this statistic.
Through modular Changing Places, we have a solution that solves the problem of space, with a standalone unit that delivers a simple, cost-effective solution to have a compliant Changing Place.
How we can help you install a Changing Place
Innova Care Concepts have proudly worked with the Changing Places campaign for over 10 years, working alongside architects, local authorities and business owners to install over 100 Changing Places in public places across the UK.
As one of the leading Changing Place suppliers in the UK, they provide completely bespoke solutions to any building that needs a Changing Place.
Click here to read our Changing Places brochure or complete the contact form below to get in touch with our friendly Changing Places team.