Why are Changing Places important?

As the months go by, we’re seeing more and more about the Changing Places campaign in the news. Even when we’re out and about, we’ve noticed there are many more Changing Places now than there was this time last year. It’s wonderful to see such an important cause gaining publicity and getting the right results. But for those of you who still aren’t sure on the significance of Changing Places, here’s why they’re so important.

Traditional disabled toilets simply don’t cut it

Ideally, there will be a standard disabled toilet in any large public facility or area. These have been installed there to give easy access to any disabled person who needs to use the loo when in a public place. Pretty straightforward, wouldn’t you agree?

But what happens if those disabled toilets actually don’t suit the needs of the entire disabled community? Well, that’s the sad truth. A large portion of disabled people in the UK have more complex physical and mental needs, meaning that they require more sophisticated facilities in public places.

Who needs a Changing Place?

The Changing Places campaign states that there are approximately 230,000 people across the UK who would benefit from a Changing Place. These include individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities, those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, motor neurone disease, older people or those who have acquired a brain injury. These are the people who need better-equipped public toilets, and if there are no Changing Places, then their needs aren’t being met.

How is a Changing Place toilet different?

To put it bluntly, Changing Places are cleaner, safer, better-equipped, with enough space for disabled individuals and their carer(s) to use them with dignity and safety. For example, standard accessible toilets don’t have the facilities for disabled adults to be washed and changed. This usually means that they have to lay on the floor to be changed. We’re sure that if you’ve ever used a public toilet, you’ll know how unhygienic it must be to be laid on the floor in there.

But Changing Places are kitted out with changing tables and wash facilities to allow disabled individuals to go about their day with as much dignity as everyone else. A Changing Places toilet should include:

  • A peninsular toilet
  • A changing bench
  • A sink/basin
  • A ceiling hoist
  • And it should be at least 3 x 4 metres big

You can find out more about the specific requirements of a Changing Place here, but you can imagine how these pieces of kit make all the difference for someone who has more complex needs when going to the toilet.

How you can help

The Changing Places campaign relies on campaigners who are dedicated to making a positive change for disabled people. Changing Places are needed in things like shopping centres, football stadiums, libraries, leisure centres, the list goes on and on.

We can only imagine how frustrating, upsetting, and often demoralising it can be for disabled people to need to use the loo, but find that their facilities are poorly-equipped, unclean, and unsafe. This is precisely why Changing Places are so important. They offer a basic level of safety and comfort that everyone deserves.

To find out more, visit the Changing Places website and discover how you can get more places to install Changing Places toilets.