Changing Places Toilets Cumbria

We have been sharing this correspondence with local councillors, the Lakes District National Park and national activists.

“The Cumbria Neurological Alliance comprises all the major national neuro charities which work within the county.  One of our aims during 2017, and continuing this year has been to petition to extend the provision of Changing Places toilets in the county. It is greatly distressing to people with severe disability that they are unable to enjoy a holiday in the National Park. This is because:

1. There is not a single Changing Places toilet in the National Park
2. There is NO suitable holiday accommodation with ceiling hoists from bathroom to bed.

Despite over 250,000 people in the UK needing Changing Places, there aren’t enough. Many of our country’s most popular attractions – from museums to theme parks – do not have a Changing Place installed. To promote maximum flexibility benches should be free standing and not wall mounted. This enables two people to stand either side of the bench to help move the client.

If you search for Cumbria you can see just how poor the provision is. The following results show only the following provision, all outside the National Park:

The Shaddongate premises are the new home of Cumbria CVS. The bench is wall mounted.

The Lanes Carlisle is also wall mounted and has no evening provision

Kendal Leisure Centre
Other than Furness Hospital this probably has the best service and long hours. Also free standing

Copeland Pool Hensingham Also free standing

Furness Hospital new last year. Excellent provision 24 hours free standing

In the planning phase will be three at Center Parcs Penrith. (Update – we are delighted that a new provision at Penrith was available for the Easter Break 2018.)

I am delighted to see at last that we have a new motorway provision at the Moto Southwaite service station, North Bound.

Not registered is the Calvert Trust as it provides only for residents.

Of equal importance to potential visitors are Ceiling hoists
These enable the transfer from bed to bathroom.

In the whole of the north west there are only two hotels in Blackpool registered with hoists.

For self catering accommodation there is currently only 1 in Flookburgh.  There will be a further one at Crook later this summer.

There are no B and Bs in Cumbria which have a hoist.

I’m always struck by this comment from the CHUC website:

“Why in 2016 are there less than 17 hotels in the whole of the UK and Ireland who can offer their disabled guests a ceiling hoist? Of those 17 hotels, 4 are specialist ones offering holiday and respite care especially for customers with disabilities.”

If the National Park is to achieve its full potential it is crucial that it addresses the needs of people with severe disabilities.

In December, Changing Places toilets were mentioned in the House of Commons. During Prime Minister’s questions, Rishi Sunak MP who covers the Yorkshire Dales National Park, asked the Prime Minister to strongly consider updating building regulations to ensure broader provision of Changing Places toilets. In responding, the Prime Minister said that Changing Places toilets were a very important issue and one that makes a real difference to the lives of disabled children and carers. The Prime Minister joined Rishi in urging relevant buildings to consider installing Changing Places toilets and suggested a meeting with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. You can watch the full exchange here<>.

Subsequently, on 19th January 2018, the British Standards were updated.  A new clause has been added as to the types of buildings that should include these facilities as follows:

Faith centres have also been added, and the retail clause has been amended to include large commercial retail premises.
The standards say that ” Changing Places toilets should be provided in larger buildings and complexes, such as:

a) major transport termini or interchanges, e.g. large railway stations and airports
b) motorway services
c) sport and leisure facilities, including large hotels
d) cultural centres, such as museums, concert halls and art galleries and faith centres;
e) stadia and large auditoria
f) large commercial retail premises and shopping centres;
g) key buildings within town centres, e.g. town halls, civic centres and main public libraries
h) educational establishments
i) health facilities, such as hospitals, health centres and community practices.
j) other visitor attractions, such as theme parks, monitored beaches and parks.

We believe that it should be compulsory for Changing Places toilets (with changing benches, hoists and enough space for carers) to be installed in the public places mentioned in BS 8300/2018, and that they MUST be included in plans before planning permission can be granted.

Can I ask for your help in facilitating this debate in the hope of encouraging at least one of our hotels to become the first to install a ceiling hoist, and for the National Park to consider extending provision of Changing Places toilets?

Email me with your views