This Changing Places Awareness day(external link) (Tuesday 19 July), Calderdale Council is announcing plans for three new Changing Places toilets to be installed in the borough, improving facilities for those with severe disabilities or complex needs.
As part of the Changing Places programme, a partnership between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Muscular Dystrophy UK, Calderdale has been awarded funding for three Changing Places toilets.
These fully accessible toilets are for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. They include specialist equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers.
There are already Changing Places facilities in Halifax town centre and in Brighouse. The funding will allow for three additional toilets to be located at Ogden Water, Sowerby Bridge Fire & Water and Todmorden College.
A 2020 survey asking for people’s thoughts on how Ogden Water could be improved, showed that 93.8% of 809 respondents said they would support the development of a Changing Places toilet and 36.2% of people said that if a Changing Places toilet was available then they would visit Ogden more often.
The Ogden Water facility will also include a new disabled toilet and will form part of the existing toilet block. The facility will complement the wheelchair-friendly routes around the reservoir, making Ogden Water a more inclusive place to visit. It will also provide the opportunity for people with a range of disabilities to enjoy the countryside and the associated mental and physical health benefits.
In Sowerby Bridge, the Changing Places toilet will be the first in the town and is included as part of works on the Fire & Water building – the former fire station, swimming pool and Council offices. The facility will be managed by Sowerby Bridge Fire & Water community group and will support their ambition to provide facilities for all community-related groups and individuals in the town.
Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub is installing a Changing Places facility at Todmorden College by extending the existing disabled toilet. The facility will allow increased access to the learning and leisure opportunities offered at the centre. The centre also has an ‘open toilet’ policy meaning the toilets can be used by anyone visiting the town, making other town centre services and attractions more accessible.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, Cllr Sarah Courtney, said:
“For many people living with disabilities, planning a day out can be difficult and a lack of adequate toilet facilities can restrict everyday activities such as shopping, meeting friends or enjoying the countryside.
“I’m delighted that the Council and local community groups have been successful in the bids for Government funding as part of the Changing Places programme. This will allow three additional new facilities to be installed in locations across the borough.
“Having these larger spaces, with specialist equipment, will make a real difference for those living with a disability and for their carers, and improve access to a wide variety of different experiences in the borough.”
For more information about Changing Places toilets and to search for existing facilities across the country, visit www.changing-places.org(external link)