Share of £30m Changing Places toilets fund now open for applications

Councils are being urged to apply for a share of a £30 million fund to install life-enhancing Changing Places toilets in public places and tourist attractions

• Councils can now apply for share of £30 million funding to install life-enhancing Changing Places toilets (CPTs) in their communities

• Research shows country parks, open spaces, tourist attractions, and transport networks are where users would like to see new CPTs

• Users will be able to take part in more recreational activities with dignity, confidence, and freedom

Councils are today (29 July 2021) being urged to apply for a share of a £30 million fund to install life-enhancing Changing Places toilets (CPTs) in public places and tourist attractions, providing a significant increase in areas where users want them most.

There are currently around 1,200 registered Changing Places toilets in England – these are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers.

Over 250,000 people in the country need these facilities to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted.

Research conducted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, also published today, demonstrates that the top 3 places where people currently use and value CPTs are shops, hospitals, and tourist attractions.

Users, their families, and carers would like to see future provision in areas enabling them to ‘have a day out’ and undertake more recreational activities with dignity, confidence, and freedom.

The top 3 locations where these facilities should be made available were country parks, open spaces, tourist attractions, transport networks – the journey to the destination being a key factor in planning a day out. The top 3 venues were: beaches and the seaside, motorway services, and parks or gardens.

Regional Growth Minister Luke Hall MP said:

"In our national effort to build back better from COVID-19, the government wants to create a stronger, safer and fairer society in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

"With central government, local government and the third sector working more closely together than ever before, we will put the right facilities in the right places for those who need them the most – extending freedom, accessibility and dignity to all."

Ministerial Disability Champion Eddie Hughes MP said:

"Where people shop, go out, or travel should not be determined by their disability. That’s why the provision of Changing Places toilets is so important for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

"I hope local councils across England will apply for funding to install CPTs so everyone can enjoy the benefits of lockdown easing."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP said:

"I have supported the Changing Places scheme ever since hearing first hand from parents of disabled children the difficulties they faced in finding accessible public facilities – something which the rest of us just take for granted.

"Applications for this £30 million funding are now open, and I would encourage all local authorities to get involved, to make a real difference for families with disabled children."

Lorna Fillingham from Ashby, a Changing Places campaigner said:

"I have a disabled daughter who is a wheelchair user, and she’s nonverbal, which means that she can’t actually tell us when she needs to go to the toilet. Changing Places toilets with an adult changing table, hoist and toilet are therefore a lifeline to us to have a family day out.

"Without these types of special facilities disabled children are having to be changed on public toilet floors or in the back of cars. In the 21st century nobody should be isolated in their homes because of a lack of an accessible toilet in their community, and nobody should have to be laid on a public toilet floor."

Muscular Dystrophy UK, co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, will be providing specialist expertise to support local councils if they are awarded funding which will include:

• Dedicated advice and information and Changing Places officers to support councils
• Changing Places manual and training
• Connecting authorities and collaborative network support
• Signposting to suppliers and installation companies

Robert Burley, Muscular Dystrophy UK Director of Campaigns, Care and Support said:

"We are delighted to be supporting this MHCLG initiative, which will make a huge difference to the lives of people who rely on Changing Places toilets, many of whom live with muscle-wasting conditions. We urge local councils to apply for this funding.

"As co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, Muscular Dystrophy UK is proud to be able to offer advice and information to local authorities in receipt of funding and to connect them with the fantastic Changing Places toilets community."

Bairbre McKendrick, Access Officer at Leeds City Council said:

"In Leeds we have been working at providing Changing Places toilets throughout the city since 2011. We currently have 42 CPTs half of which are in Leeds City Council buildings or Parks and which we maintain.

"After 10 years we still have more sites where a CPT would really be beneficial to families and individuals who use them. We are keen to install a CPT at Kirkstall Abbey – our 800-year-old Cistercian Abbey which is a big tourist attraction and hosts music events in the summer.

"Our advice to other local authorities is not to be hesitant and apply for this funding, as users will be delighted to have new CPTs and will definitely use them. Your city and towns will benefit from CPTs and the freedom they can offer to people who need them."

Councils will be invited to complete a short expression of interest to receive a proportion of this funding. They 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.

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 26 September 2021

The National Disability Strategy launched yesterday (28 July 2021) marks the first collective cross-government endeavour to transform disabled people’s everyday lives.

The strategy contains dozens of policy commitments across government departments and sets out immediate practical steps - from making playgrounds more inclusive to building more accessible homes - to improve disabled people’s everyday lives, as well as signalling more work to be done with a launch of a new data project by the Disability Unit.

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
Eddie Hughes MP
Luke Hall MP
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP