Calon FM

Back soon

Changing Places for Wales campaign launched by Wrexham-based community organising group

August 3rd 2022, 4:49 pm by Arran Hodges

The vital need for more Changing Places facilities has been highlighted by Wrexham-based organisation TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru/Together Creating Communities) in their current campaign, Changing Places for Wales.

Changing Places are specially adapted accessible toilets that have hoists, an adult-sized changing bed, and grabrails.

Since meeting with TCC in December 2021, Broughton Retail Park in Chester, are pressing on with plans to reconfigure the current customer toilet facilities on site to accommodate a Changing Places Toilet Facility. Centre Manager Alan Pruden-Barker says it is a priority to “welcome more visitors to the centre, providing reassurances that we can cater for all needs”.

Over 250,000 people in the UK need Changing Places Toilets, yet there are only around 50 Changing Places in the whole of Wales – across the U.K. fewer than 2% of train stations, 17 cinemas, and only 19 pubs and restaurants have such facilities. In North-East Wales, there are just 9 on the Changing Places Toilets map, most of which are in Wrexham. You can look online to find your nearest Changing Places here.

Jan Thomas, Chief Executive of the FDF Centre for Independent Living and TCC community leader, states that:

“Access to clean, accessible toilets is a fundamental right for everybody. Changing Places toilets enable all disabled people to have the same experiences as their non-disabled peers. We know from the people we work with and support that the biggest concern about going out into the community is the lack of accessible toilet facilities.”

CAPTION: Disabled activist, Nathan Davies, and TCC community organiser, Kelly Huxley-Roberts speaking on Calon FM as part of the Changing Places for Wales campaign launch.

These life-changing facilities are in short supply, and this excludes many people from living life to the fullest – unable to be a part of the community, putting time limits on how long people can stay out, or how far people can travel from home. The lack of Changing Places in Wales has an impact on local economies too. The spending power of disabled households known as the “Purple Pound” is currently estimated to be around 274 billion per year. With suitable toilet facilities, the quarter of a million people in the UK who need Changing Places, could travel, work, shop, and socialize in their community.

Mark Isherwood states

“There is a great need for Changing Places Toilets and I am glad that TCC is highlighting this. As Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Disability in the Senedd/Welsh Parliament, I am committed to removing the barriers which stop people in Wales who are limited in their own mobility from getting out and about and enjoying the day-to-day activities which most of us take for granted.”

Flintshire businesses and the Leader of Flintshire Council have responded positively to TCC’s #ChangingPlacesForWales campaign launch, with the Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Roberts confirming in writing with TCC that the council will consult with community members about Changing Places Toilets when they update their county-wide Toilets Strategy within the next 10 months.

Theatr Clwyd’s Finance, Operations & People Director, Andrew Roberts, speaks of their future plans, that the current process of redevelopment

“allows us to provide facilities that we have wanted for a very long time. Having a changing places facility will benefit so many people coming to the venue and enable others to attend who might not have been able to attend in the past. We want to break down as many barriers as possible and provide a welcoming environment for everyone.”

The Changing Places for Wales campaign highlights that a there should be no barriers to disabled people being able to live life fully.

Ongoing action and what we want: The lack of Changing Places facilities leads to exclusion and potential isolation – it is time for #ChangingPlacesForWales. We are asking local councils to update their toilets strategies to include Changing Places Toilets. We are also raising the issue nationally with Members of the Senedd (MSs).

Call to action:

  • We are asking that people like and share our campaign video, available in English and Welsh to highlight this issue and raise support for more Changing Places for Wales. Supporting #tags on Social Media spaces are: #ChangingPlacesForWales #ChangingPlacesAwarenessDay #CPAD22 #incLOOsion.
  • Contact your local councillor or your Member of the Senedd and tell them why Changing Places are important. Also, observe planning applications in your area – you can object to any major developments that do not include Changing Places Toilets. To do this, go to your council website and search planning applications.