Muscular Dystrophy UK becomes new Consortium co-chair in fight for fully accessible Changing Places toilets

Muscular Dystrophy UK is taking over as co-chair of the Changing Places Consortium, who have been leading the campaign for fully accessible toilets for over a decade.

The charity is taking over from Mencap to lead campaigning activity across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will co-chair the Consortium alongside PAMIS, which leads activity in Scotland.

The campaign has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2006 and recently celebrated the 1,000th Changing Places toilet opening in Retford, Nottinghamshire. Over a quarter of a million people who have severe disabilities need carer support and require more space and additional equipment than a standard disabled toilet provides. Instead, they need a Changing Places toilet with a height adjustable adult changing bench and hoist. Without access to Changing Places toilets many people with a severe disability (and their families) are faced with a choice of not going out or being changed on a toilet floor.

The main contacts for the project will also switchover from today. The main contact email address is now changingplaces@musculardystrophyuk.org.

Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
“The Changing Places Consortium has already delivered fantastic results, securing over 1,000 facilities which ensure dignity and safety for disabled people around the UK. Seeing a Changing Places toilet sign shows an airport or shopping centre is fully accessible for a disabled person, and we need to see a lot more go up in the coming years.

“Our charity has a proud heritage of fighting for better facilities and access for disabled people, a heritage we can draw on to drive the Changing Places toilets campaign forwards. An estimated 70,000 people live with a muscle-wasting condition in the UK, and many can benefit from the use of a Changing Places toilet. There is lots more work to do in raising awareness and improving building regulations to ensure better facilities for all disabled people, and we are excited to work with PAMIS and the rest of the Consortium to make it happen.”

 

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of learning disability charity, Mencap said:
“Over the last decade Mencap has seen Changing Places grow from a small campaign to a nationwide movement with over 1000 Changing Places toilets nationwide, including in shopping centres, Premier League football clubs and theme parks. Thousands of people with multiple and profound disabilities are now able to get out and do the things they love, without facing the indignity of being changed on dirty, unhygienic toilet floors.

“We’re incredibly proud of everything the Changing Places Consortium has achieved, and we are pleased to have been part of the movement, along with our amazing campaigners. As we celebrate 10 years of our involvement with Changing Places we’re pleased to see the campaign in its strongest position ever, ready for its leadership to be taken on by a new Consortium.

“Muscular Dystrophy UK are dedicated to fighting for the rights of people with a disability; we can’t think of anyone better to build on Changing Places’ success. We’ll be working closely with Muscular Dystrophy UK and PAMIS to ensure the campaign can continue to build on its achievements. Mencap looks forward to watching Changing Places continue to open up more of the world to disabled people.”

Jenny Miller, Chief Executive of Consortium Co-Chair PAMIS, said:
“PAMIS is this year celebrating 25 years of Promoting A More Inclusive Society for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their family carers. The Changing Places toilet campaign has been a core piece of work throughout these years and the families we support across Scotland still highlight that lack of Changing Places toilets is the biggest barrier to them being able to lead valued and included lives. There is an increasing political interest in this issue, not least because of all the amazing work that the campaigners up and down the country are doing. The timing is right for Muscular Dystrophy UK to take up the baton and become the lead campaign organisation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are really looking forward to embarking on this new partnership and taking forward the next chapter of the campaign and Consortium across the UK.”

 

 

James Stuart-Smith and Nick Kent of campaign sponsor Aveso said:
“We’re extremely proud to have sponsored and supported the Changing Places toilets campaign over the last 4 years and have built some wonderful relationships with the Mencap team which has resulted in achieving a landmark 1,000 Changing Places in the UK.

“Having worked closely with a number of campaigners and stakeholders to install Changing Places toilets in some significant and high profile venues, we understand the importance of these life changing facilities. As such we are incredibly proud to continue for many years to come our sponsorship of the Changing Places toilets campaign and support Muscular Dystrophy UK as we move into a bright new future together to strengthen the campaign.”