New map which shows toilets that cater for those with mental and physical disabilities has been launched today - on World Toilet Day.
Alison Beevers, from Retford, has a nine-year-old son, Mylor, who has cerebral palsy and is delighted by the announcement of a Changing Places map.
She said: “We love to get out and about as a family, and the map will take away the worry of whether there will be suitable facilities when we arrive.
“At the moment there are only 2 Changing Places facilities within a 10 mile radius of Retford, where we live. As Mylor is now nine and has complex health needs, it is impossible to change him in a standard accessible toilet. The map is a great idea and I can’t wait for the day when we can finally add Changing Places Retford to it.”
A Changing Places toilet is a fully accessible toilet with the following additional equipment: a height-adjustable changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist; a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and enough space for up to two carers.
World Toilet Day is a World Health Organization initiative and draws global attention to the sanitation crisis, highlighting the importance of high standard toilet facilities.
Leroy Binns, Mencap employee and Changing Places champion said: “As somebody with a learning disability, I understand how important it is to know that suitable facilities will be available when going out and about. The new map is a great idea and will help families and carers when planning a day out.
“Without Changing Places facilities, people with profound and multiple disabilities would have to choose between being changed on a dirty toilet floor, or not going out at all.
“This isn’t fair and is a barrier to them being included within their own community.”
Research commissioned by Mencap highlights that 230,000 people in the UK need assistance to toilet and/or change continence pads. Users include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and people with a range of other disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, some older people and other specific disabilities.
Since 2007 the number of Changing Places facilities has gone up more than fivefold to 750. Now the government is going further, working with the Changing Places Campaign, PAMIS, Mencap and the British Toilet Association to make Changing Places toilets easy to find through the website launched today.
More information on the Changing Places toilet map is available here