Installing more Changing Places in parks across the UK is vital to the physical and emotional health of many people with disabilities and their families. Enjoying a day out to the park may seem a simple thing to many of us but without suitable toilet access, public parks are simply inaccessible to people with severe or profound disabilities.
In recent years there has been a big push to encourage the public to make use of parks for exercise and looking after their emotional wellbeing. You may have noticed outdoor gym equipment popping up at parks across the UK, for example.
This push has extended to improvements in accessibility too – many parks have agreed to upgrade paths or resurface them to make them more suitable for wheelchair users or prams. Another fantastic innovation has been the rise in playground equipment that can also be enjoyed by children that use wheelchairs, as seen here at Alexandra Park in Bath. Some parks have even installed sensory equipment, truly considering the abilities and needs of all visitors.
Parks needn’t install equipment to be inclusive either – many open country parks have boosted accessibility simply by resurfacing paths and ensuring there is adequate parking and access for wheelchair users. To go further some parks have systems set up now where guests can hire all-terrain wheelchairs.
Whilst these initiatives are all fantastic, they do still leave behind some people, mainly those with complex or multiple disabilities and it comes down to one factor – a lack of suitable toilets.
Campaigners and RISE are calling on councils to take note and consider installing Changing Places toilets in parks. Installing a Changing Places toilet would mean many more people can come and take advantage of accessibility upgrades, without the worry of where they can use the loo.
A day out at the park isn’t so simple when you have a disability. Some disabled people need help from a family member or assistant to use the bathroom and some people require access to facilities that include an adult-sized changing bench and hoist. Installing more Changing Places in parks is the only way these people can enjoy a full day out.
Kingsbury Water Park in Warwickshire knows the difference Changing Places toilets can make. They were so pleased with the reception and uptake their first toilet received that they decided to install a second toilet. Both the toilets are very well used and the local community are extremely proud that they’ve made the park more welcoming to disabled visitors.
We’ve also worked with Kent County Council to install a Changing Places toilet at Shorne Woods Country Park. We’re hoping to be working on more projects soon as the council want to improve accessibility at other parks in the county. The council got in touch after seeing more demand from park users for these types of facilities.
Demand is very much the driving factor for many parks wanting to increase accessibility. In April 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) and the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers launched a survey to find out where people most wanted to see new Changing Places being installed. Parks came out of the survey results as the number one area people would most like to see more Changing Places.
For many councils and parks, there may be concerns over the logistics of installing a Changing Places. That’s where RISE comes in. Our modular Changing Places toilets can be installed just about anywhere! They’re built onsite at our facility then delivered and installed within a matter of days.
Another concern also comes from how access to the toilet would be handled. Happily, we have several solutions available. Changing Places can be fitted with National Radar Key Scheme locks or access code keypads. Access will be discussed in your consultation where we will be able to listen to your concerns and how we can help navigate them. You may also find our Changing Places Hub a useful resource.
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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