Thursday 18 April 2024
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£183,000 grant to council for Changing Places toilet facilities

A Nottinghamshire council is expected to get £183,000 in Government cash to create three accessible ‘Changing Places’ toilets in some of the district’s popular tourist destinations.

Changing Places facilities are aimed at people who need extra equipment and space to safely and comfortably use the toilet.

This includes people with learning or physical disabilities, people who have suffered a stroke and older people who need assistance.

Their facilities must meet a required standard, which is more comprehensive than standard accesible toilets, to be registered with the Changing Places campaign.

The authority had bid for funding from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the council confirmed in March it will get £183,200 for the project.

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It also confirmed the toilets will be installed at the Four Seasons shopping centre, inside Mansfield Museum and at the upcoming new visitor facilities in Berry Hill Park.

Now the council is expected to formally accept the Government cash and adjust its budgets in order to deliver the facilities over the coming months.

A delegated decision will be taken on Friday (April 29) when Councillor Craig Whitby (Lab), portfolio holder for corporate and finance, is recommended to accept the £183,200 grant.

And the council adds it will work with the Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) Changing Places officers to design facilities best suited to people who need assistance in public toilets.

A report published ahead of the decision states: “[The council] is to seek advice from an Access Consultant or accredited representative … to support the development of Changing Places toilet design proposals.”

A Changing Places toilet must include facilities like height-adjustable changing benches, a ceiling track hoist, space for two assistants and a privacy screen.

It should also feature wide paper rolls, a large waste bin, a backrest on the toilet seat and a height-adjustable washbasin.

News of funding for the facilities has previously been welcomed by leading politicians in the district.

Speaking last month, Andy Abrahams (Lab), Mansfield’s elected mayor, said: “We want to ensure that all visitors to Mansfield have the facilities they need for a safe and welcoming experience.

“Changing Places toilets provide a dignified and hygienic option for people who need and deserve it. I am delighted that the three locations will be in Mansfield’s most popular visitor locations.

“More than 11 million people in the UK have life-limiting illnesses, impairment or disability. This is a huge step for the council to provide appropriate solutions for local disabled people and their families.”

Cllr Ben Bradley MP (Con), Mansfield’s MP and the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, also welcomed the announcement.

He added: “It’s positive that Government is working with charities and grass-roots organisations to ensure Changing Places toilets are in areas of the community where they are most needed.

“I’m relieved that Government is doing more to ensure our shops, high streets and public places are much more accessible.”

The council report does not confirm a timeline for when the facilities will be created, but it states match funding has been secured to deliver the Changing Places toilets at Mansfield Museum, on Leeming Street.

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