Durham County Council is calling on individuals and carers to share their experiences of using Changing Place toilets, as part of plans to improve facilities for those with disabilities.
Local authorities in England have been invited to submit an Expression of Interest to “opt in” for a proportion of £30m in funding (based on need), to install Changing Places toilets in their communities.
The funding is being made available through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which supports the recently issued National Disability Strategy in ‘accelerating the delivery of Changing Places toilets in England’.
Durham’s local authority is now asking people to get in touch about where they would most like to see additional facilities in County Durham.
The funding is not solely aimed at local authorities and can be also allocated through partnership working to target locations where Changing Places toilets are most needed in the community.
Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets, with equipment such as hoist, adult-sized changing bench, peninsular toilet and space for carers. The toilets are essential for more than 250,000 disabled people in the UK.
County Durham has a higher-than-average number of residents with a disability and the council is considering a bid to increase local Changing Places provision.
As part of the scheme MHCLG has already indicated that the county is an area of higher need based on existing provision and the number of potential users according to Census disability statistics.
This provides an opportunity to consider where Changing Places toilets are most needed in County Durham while also improving the geographical spread to ensure more disabled people can take part in everyday activities that have the greatest impact on improving their quality of life.
Councillor Alan Shield, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: “Changing Places toilets are vital for providing dignity and comfort for young people and adults with disabilities.
“We would really like to hear the views of individuals and carers on where they would like to see more provision of the toilets across our county, so please get in touch.”
The deadline for submitting the Expression of Interest to MHCLG is Sunday, September 26. Organisations or individuals with an interest in providing views on Changing Places toilets should email [email protected] by Friday, September 10.