We have launched a PETITION to the MINISTER for HOUSING, LOCAL GOVERNMENT and HERITAGE to MAKE CHANGING PLACES MANDATORY IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS 29.10.2020
Please take a moment to sign our petition
Imagine being in permanent lockdown. This is the reality for thousands of children and adults with disabilities who are restricted in where they can go and what they can do because they will not find a toilet with the equipment they need. They often have to go through the indignity of being changed on the floor of a public toilet or stay isolated from their communities at home. Imagine not being able to find a toilet when you need to.
Changing Places Toilet Facilities are different from standard accessible toilets. They provide extra equipment like a hoist and an adult sized changing bench. In Ireland there are only 15 Changing Places Toilet Facilities.
There are over 1500 in England and new legislation will make Changing Places Toilets mandatory in new public buildings from 2021. In Northern Ireland there are approximately 40 and the NI Assembly is now following England and has committed to amending their building regulations.
The Irish Government should now follow the example of England and change Irish building regulations to make such toilets mandatory in public buildings.
Without Changing Places Toilet Facilities available throughout the country people with disabilities are denied a basic human right and continue to be excluded from everyday life.
The Changing Places Ireland campaign was first established in 2014. Changing Places facilities are different from standard accessible toilets. They have many features and additional equipment that make them even more accessible than the standard accessible toilets we are all familiar with. Changing Places facilities provide 12m² of floor space, and include both a full room coverage ceiling track hoist, a centrally located toilet bowl with space either side for transfers or assistants, and a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench.
Changing Places facilities are designed to enhance the health, safety, comfort and dignity of someone who may need extra support and additional equipment during personal care tasks. Changing Places facilities also offer added safety and support features for assistants.
Standard disabled accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with complex disabilities. For example, individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and older people with physical disabilities may need extra equipment facilities to enable them to use the toilet, maximising independence and comfort.
Sadly, many people with disabilities have to go through the indignity and unhygienic option of being changed on the floor of a public toilet as the correct facilities are not available in public places.
Changing Places Ireland is a welcome addition to many Irish people with disabilities and their families. The aim of our campaign is to promote the inclusion of changing places facilities in public places nationwide. Thousands of people need Changing Places facilities to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted.