Changing Places Awareness Day Q&A: Why we need Falkirk’s Changing Places toilets
Marking Changing Places Awareness Day (19 July), Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership has spoken to a local family who regularly use Changing Places, helping to explain the importance of these facilities.
Karen and Kris Procek, Bonnybridge parents of two, are active supporters of the Changing Places Consortium, which campaigns on behalf of over 250,000 people across the UK who cannot use standard toilets. They also contribute to the Partnership’s Changing Places Working Group, which is working to install more facilities throughout the Falkirk area.
Changing Places are important to the whole family, as they enable youngest son Rory (9) to take part in daily activities without having to worry about finding a safe place to use the toilet. Rory has a rare chromosome disorder, which causes hyper-mobility issues, and requires the use of a wheelchair.
Karen and Kris have kindly answered a few questions on Changing Places to explain why we need as many of these facilities as possible throughout the community.
Changing Places Q&A
What are Changing Places?
Lots of people think Changing Places are just accessible toilets, but they also come fitted with additional equipment to help people with severe disabilities to use toilets safely and with dignity. Changing Places toilets are different to standard wheelchair accessible toilets, commonly referred to as “disabled toilets”, and should be provided in addition to these toilets.
All Changing Places must adhere to a common British Standard (BS8300:2009), so they will include a height-adjustable changing bench; an overhead track or mobile hoist; a peninsular toilet; privacy screen and enough space for up to two carers.
Who needs to use Changing Places?
The Changing Places Consortium estimates that around 230,000 people in the UK with a range of disabilities benefit from these facilities. This includes people with severe and multiple learning disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis, people recovering from a stroke, and some older people.
We use Changing Place facilities regularly with our son, Rory. If there aren’t any Changing Places toilets available, we might have to cut our day-out short, or even risk changing him on a dirty floor.
The more Changing Places available within the community, the more independence Rory has to get out and about to enjoy days out with family and friends.
What is Changing Places Awareness Day?
Many people don’t give visiting public buildings a second thought. Changing Places Awareness Day takes place every year on 19 July to highlight that some disabled people are unable to take part in activities because standard accessible toilets do not meet their needs.
The awareness day is run by the Changing Places Consortium which comprises of Muscular Dystrophy UK, PAMIS, Centre for Accessible Environments, and the Scottish Government.
How do I find Changing Places in Falkirk?
There are more than 1,300 Changing Places facilities registered across the UK, which can be found on the online Changing Places toilet map at: www.changingplaces.uktoiletmap.org/find
Falkirk’s Changing Place Facilities
Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership is currently working to install a minimum of 12 new Changing Places across the Falkirk area. The Partnership’s Changing Places working group includes members of Falkirk Council, Falkirk Town Centre, Falkirk HSCP, and local service users representatives and Changing Places advocates. Current Changing Places in the Falkirk area include:
- The Mariner Centre, Camelon
- Grangemouth Sports Centre
- Forth Valley Royal Hospital
- Forth Valley College
- Helix Park Falkirk
- Oswald Avenue Day Centre, Grangemouth
- Dundas Resource Centre, Grangemouth