The government has announced a new £30 million fund to install more Changing Places toilets in existing buildings, which will benefit more than 250,000 disabled people throughout England. The new investment was announced on 4th March 2021 by the 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.
Councils will be invited to “opt in” to bid for a proportion of the £30m 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.
District and unitary authorities will receive full details of how they can access this funding soon. Authorities will be invited to complete a short expression of interest to receive a proportion of this funding.
Local Authorities are encouraged to consider where Changing Places toilets are most needed in their communities and are encouraged to work in partnership with other organisations to deliver these facilities, including securing match funding wherever possible.
Organisations that are interested in having a Changing Places toilet installed are recommended to get in touch with their relevant local authority to register their interest in working in partnership with them to deliver a Changing Places toilet in their venue or building.
There are currently around 1,200 registered Changing Places toilets in England, but provision needs to increase quickly to improve access for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets and their carers.