The £30m pot of funds for businesses to install more Changing Places toilets has been rumbling in the background since last March, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said more funding would be made available in the budget.
It is believed the government have been holding further consultations to discover how best to distribute funding to ensure the cash ends up where it’s needed the most.
Today, we can confirm further details from the Government, including how the local authorities and businesses can register their interest in funding.
Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall, made the announcement, saying:
“For too long, the lack of suitable toilet facilities has meant disabled people have faced major difficulties when they shop, go out, or travel and this should not be the case.
That’s why the provision of Changing Places toilets is so important for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.
This programme is a significant investment from government that will help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to those people who have specific needs.”
News that the funding is progressing, combined with the January update to Building Regulations Part M making Changing Places compulsory in certain types of news building is fantastic news for everyone involved in the Changing Places campaign.
Most important though is the difference this funding will make to the lives of those who can’t currently access safe and hygienic toilets. Changing Places campaigner, Kerry Thompson was delighted to hear the news, saying:
“The biggest challenge I face when going anywhere outside my home is locating a Changing Places facility. They really do make a world of difference when planning days out so today’s announcement will open up a whole new world for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them.”
The new Changing Places funding is going to be distributed via local authorities – it will be for councils to decide where toilets are most needed in their communities. Businesses will also be able to apply for a portion of the funding through their local council.
Although it isn’t clear exactly how it will work yet, local authorities should soon be receiving invitations to “opt-in” to register interest and receive funding. Local businesses interested in funding should also start to register their interest with councils.
The scheme to distribute the £30m will be carried out in partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) who are co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium. MDUK will be providing support to councils where it is needed.
MDUK has long campaigned for better facilities for people with multiple or complex disabilities alongside hundreds of campaigners across the country who need better access and facilities.
MDUK Director of Campaigns, Robert Burley was delighted to hear the funding has been confirmed, saying:
“This is a big step towards tackling the exclusion that many disabled people, including those with muscle-wasting conditions, experience when they are out and about.
Today’s announcement would not have been achieved without everyone working together, and Muscular Dystrophy UK is particularly grateful to the hard work of our extraordinary campaigners and the members of the Changing Places Consortium.”
If you work for a local authority and aren’t yet aware of the need for Changing Places in your local area, now would be a good time to start consultation to assess where there is a need. Here is a list of places that may be able to assist with information:
Once you have opted in to receive funding, consider seeking professional advice on Changing Places. From access consultants to architects, there is a range of professionals who can help with installing a Changing Places toilet.
Call 07729 224 738 or email email@example.comWe’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: firstname.lastname@example.org:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
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