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Government launches Round 2 funding for Changing Places in England

Local authorities in England are being asked to submit expressions of interest for round two of the Government’s Changing Places Fund allocation, which will make up to £6.5 million available for the development of accessible facilities across the country in 2023. In 2020, a major change to statutory guidance in England made it compulsory to include a Changing Places toilet in certain new, publicly accessible buildings. In summer 2021, the Changing Places Fund awarded £30 million in funding to help local authorities substantially increase the number of Changing Places toilets in every part of the country. But what is a Changing Places toilet – and who needs one?  Read on for our guide to these important facilities.

What is Changing Places?

The Changing Places Consortium was established in 2005 when a number of stakeholder organisations – including PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society), Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Centre for Accessible Environments – came together to highlight the shortcomings of conventional disabled toilets for people with severe disabilities.   Today the Consortium lobbies for increased awareness of and access to advanced inclusive facilities for people who are unable to use a conventional disabled toilet.

What is a Changing Places toilet?

Changing Places toilets go beyond the provision of standard accessible toilets, offering more space and necessary equipment.  This includes hoists, privacy screens, adult-sized changing benches, peninsula toilets, shower facilities and space for carers. To be classified as a Changing Places toilet, facilities must meet set specifications and be registered by the Changing Places Consortium, which maintains an interactive online map of Changing Places locations. 

Why do people need Changing Places toilets?

Currently, over 250,000 severely disabled people across the UK do not have access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs.  These include people with severe paralysis or spinal injury, muscle wasting conditions, or profound learning disabilities.  They may be unable to transfer independently from a wheelchair to the toilet, or support their own weight, requiring additional help from a carer or the use of equipment like a hoist so they can use the toilet comfortably. Most disabled washrooms are designed for independent use.  They rarely have enough space for the user, a wheelchair AND a carer, and depend on the person being able to use grab rails for mobility support.

What is the Government doing about Changing Places?

In 2021, the Government allocated £23.5 million to 191 local authorities across England for the development of Changing Places facilities.  This is in addition to funding allocated through the Departments of Health and Transport for Changing Places facilities in NHS hospitals and motorway service stations.  The funding will pay for around 500 additional Changing Places, taking the overall number to around 1,800 – but there is still a significant shortfall in provision. Round 2 of the Changing Places Fund allocation will award a further £6.5 million in funding to eligible local authorities. The programme will build on the outcome of round 1 by targeting support to those areas where there is currently zero provision and those areas of greatest need.

How can NYMAS Group help?

With over 20 years of expertise in accessible washroom design and specification, NYMAS offers a wealth of expertise for local authority facility managers embarking on a Changing Places project with support from the Fund.   We specialise in the supply of Doc M packs including toilets, basins and grab rails that are fully compliant with accessibility legislation and compatible with the development of a Changing Places toilet.  Through our partnership with Innova Care Concepts, we are also able to introduce our customers to trusted expertise and a comprehensive range of quality products including hoists, changing benches and screens for a complete, turnkey solution.

What do I do next?

Full details about the next round of funding, including which local authorities are eligible and what can be covered by the funding, can be found online To discuss your options for Changing Places or to access support from our expert design and specification teams, get in touch.