Muscular Dystrophy UK has today (April 8) launched a landmark survey for Changing Places toilet users, in what is the biggest consultation to date for those who need these specialist facilities.
MDUK co-chairs the Changing Places Consortium and campaigns for the 250,000 people across the UK who cannot use standard accessible toilets.
Today’s survey is a wide-reaching consultation with current and potential users of Changing Places toilets about where facilities are most needed in England.
It comes following the exciting news that MDUK will support the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in delivering a £30m fund, announced in last year’s budget, to install more Changing Places facilities in existing buildings across England.
The 10-minute survey can be completed here: https://researchinstitutefdc.fra1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0dokeSWk1Jn3BLo
It will remain open until 23 April.
Changing Places toilets differ from standard accessible toilets, in that they’re more spacious and include a hoist and a changing bench, making it easier for people with severe disabilities to use public toilets.
Local authorities will soon be invited to ‘opt in’ to receive a proportion of the £30m funding.
The survey results will help to inform local authorities about where there is most need for additional Changing Places toilets.
In the absence of Changing Places toilets, disabled people and/or carers face:
- limiting what they drink to avoid needing the toilet when they are out – risking dehydration and urinary tract infections
- sitting in soiled clothing or dirty nappies until a suitable toilet is found or they return home
- having to change a loved one on a dirty toilet floor
- manually lifting someone out of their wheelchair – risking safety
- reducing their time out of the house – restricting their social lives
Karen Hoe, MDUK Changing Places Manager, said:
“Muscular Dystrophy UK is encouraging all Changing Places users to complete our short survey here to help inform where, and in which kinds of buildings, these vital facilities are needed.
“With Changing Places toilets available in the right places, thousands of disabled people will have the confidence to work, travel, explore and have fun – things that so many of us take for granted. It’s crucial that the network of Changing Places toilets is developed, and we can only do that with the experience and insight of the people who depend on them.”
There are currently only around 1,500 Changing Places toilets in the UK. Councils will soon be invited to “opt in” to bid for a proportion of the £30m funding so they can install facilities in their communities. This will boost the number of Changing Place toilets in existing buildings, for example in leisure and sports centres, cinemas, and arts and tourism venues.
This will ensure more disabled people can take part in everyday activities that have the greatest impact on their quality of life as well as improving the geographical spread across England of Changing Places toilets.
Luke Hall MP, Regional Growth Minister, said:
“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. The significant investment of £30m from government and our charity partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK will help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to those people who have specific needs. I encourage Changing Places toilet users, their carers and families to complete the survey from Muscular Dystrophy UK to ensure we can identify how to make best use of the funding available to benefit those who need it most.”