More toilets for severely disabled people needed in Sheffield, says Minister

Sheffield needs more public toilets for severely disabled people, especially out in communities.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 12:45 pm

More than 250,000 severely disabled people across the UK do not have access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs.

Special facilities – known as Changing Places toilets – are larger and more accessible with equipment such as hoists, privacy screens, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.

One parent said Changing Places toilets were invaluable. “I can maintain my daughter’s dignity and comfort – the alternative is to change her on the floor of our van or the floor of the disabled toilet.”

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Public toilets.

The Government wants to see more of the facilities across the country and has a pot of £30m which local councils can apply for.

Sheffield has 10 of the special toilets at Rivelin Park, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the Hallamshire Hospital, Northern General, Hallam University, the Town Hall, Crucible Theatre, Moor Markets and Ponds Forge.

But the Government wants to see more toilets installed, particularly out in communities, and in popular places such as malls, visitor attractions and district shopping centres.

Luke Hall MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, said people with learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy were among those who needed the facilities.

“Long before the pandemic, many struggled to meet friends, family and neighbours in public.

It was difficult to visit shops, restaurants, cafes or pubs due to there being wholly inadequate facilities nearby.

“We have introduced a major change, making it compulsory to include a Changing Places toilet in new, publicly accessible buildings but we want to go much further.

“This prospectus marks an important milestone in our journey to make our shops, high streets and public places much more accessible.

“And it is accompanied by £30 million to help local authorities substantially increase the number of Changing Places toilets in every part of the country – the largest investment by any government to date in these crucial facilities.

“Local authorities can opt in to receive a proportion of this funding, based on need, to install facilities in their communities.”