Launched in 2006, the campaign to increase the number of Changing Places toilets installed has steadily grown year on year and these fully inclusive bathrooms are now a well-recognised feature in many UK tourist attractions, service stations, and shopping centres.
Life-changing for the people who use them, Changing Places toilets are still needed in many more locations, but visitors now have access to over 1500 registered bathrooms – up from just 140 in 2007.
Over a hundred new Changing Places were registered in 2020 with major retailer Tesco celebrating their 100th installation, and the Tower of London set a record becoming the oldest public building to register a Changing Places.
A year to be proud of but there is still much to do and we’re confident that with two big commitments from the Government, the Changing Places campaign will have an even bigger year in 2021.
After a period of research and consultation with the Changing Places Consortium, the Government made a new budgetary pledge last year. £30 million was allocated in the 2020/21 budget to increase the number of Changing Places in existing buildings.
This follows on from over £500,000 given to NHS trusts last year, and a separate £2 million budget that went towards improving accessibility in the transport network by installing Changing Places in service stations.
The pledge of £30 million was a cause for celebration and a testament to the hard work put in by campaigners all over the country. Direct government funding will encourage more businesses to become inclusive and speed up projects where a need has been recognised but funding has been difficult to access.
The government will work with the Changing Places Consortium to decide where the greatest immediate need for Changing Places toilets is and then allocate accordingly.
The £30 million pledged for buildings to install Changing Places will go a long way towards opening existing spaces for people with severe disabilities, but coming at the issue with a two-pronged approach, the Government also made a major change to Building Regulations, effective January 2021.
The amendments made to Approved Document Part M, Volume 2, non-domestic buildings now mandates the provision of Changing Places toilets in certain new buildings or buildings where major refurbishments take place.
The new Building Regulations mean most new public buildings or businesses will need to install a Changing Places toilet. This is a huge win for the campaign as the previous regulations only recommended where Changing Places should be installed and that they were ‘desirable’.
The new regulations may mean we see a huge change in the way public buildings and spaces are designed from the ground up to be inclusive of all abilities.
For existing businesses and spaces, adaptions are often the only solution. Whilst adaptions within existing buildings work in most cases, some properties present issues in the form of less-than-ideal locations for Changing Places toilets, according to anecdotal evidence gathered by the Government during their consultation period.
With the new Building Regulations, architects and designers will be forced to design new public buildings that are inclusive and fit for purpose from the get-go.
In addition to last year being a great one for the overall campaign, RISE also made great leaps forward. As a specialist Changing Places contractor, we’re on a mission to make the UK accessible for all and are making a further commitment to that this year by partnering up with Access for All UK to deliver free training and advice. You can find more details on our first Changing Places seminar here.
Call 07729 224 738 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgWe’re open Monday to Friday, 08:00-18:00.
To learn more about Changing Places, why not download our brochure or attend one of our monthly online seminars.
Call: 07729 224 738email: email@example.com:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
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