Health and Welfare

Changing Places: innovative toilet facility

By Jennifer Drury

The first Changing Places toilet in Brighton and Hove was officially opened today by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Ken Norman, at The Colonnade, Madeira Drive, Brighton. It is incorporated as part of the existing toilet structure and is the first public toilet of its kind in the city.

Photo:Councillor Ken Norman talks to wheelchair user Steve Goodwin

Councillor Ken Norman talks to wheelchair user Steve Goodwin

Photo by Tony Mould

Extra facilities
People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use toilets comfortably. This new Changing Places facility will help individuals like these to enjoy the day to day activities many of us take for granted.
Innovative design
Changing Places toilets are different to standard disabled toilets and have extra features and more space to meet the needs of individuals with special needs. For example there is a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and enough space in the changing area for the disabled person and two carers. The toilet is centrally placed and allows room either side for a carer and features a hoist to facilitate use.


Photo:Stuart Vincent from the Connaught Day Centre checks out the toilet hoist

Stuart Vincent from the Connaught Day Centre checks out the toilet hoist

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Eddy Thomas, wheelchair user, gives his opinion

Eddy Thomas, wheelchair user, gives his opinion

Photo by Tony Mould

What the users think
Of course, the acid test for any facility of this kind, is just how a disabled users themselves feel about the extra features on offer. Steve Goodwin, a service user of the Connaught Day Centre together with Stuart Vincent the centre manager, were on hand to test them out today.  Eddy Thomas, a wheelchair user who called into the facility by chance, was most impressed with the Changing Places facility. While he was most impressed with the toilet he was keen to suggest slight adjustments which could be made, and these have been noted.

A much needed facility
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Ken Norman, said:- “A public Changing Places toilet has been needed in Brighton and Hove for many years. When I became the cabinet member and realised the lack of such a facility I worked with the council on this project and I am delighted that it has finally been completed. It is a much needed facility that will enable a large number of people to achieve more independence in their lives”

Photo:Clive Robinson, Regional Manager of the company who installed the facility, Jenny Cooke: City Services, Councillor Ken Norman, Stuart Vincent and Steve Goodwin show how spacious the new facility is.

Clive Robinson, Regional Manager of the company who installed the facility, Jenny Cooke: City Services, Councillor Ken Norman, Stuart Vincent and Steve Goodwin show how spacious the new facility is.

Photo by Tony Mould

This page was added on 30/09/2009.
Comments about this page

Now that is money well spent. But how long will it be before they are available in all major public areas.

By Jeremy Homeward (30/09/2009)

My aim is to have a network of five or six Changing Places across the city that can be linked into major developments that offer various forms of public access. I am working on several possible options so watch this space!

By Councillor Ken Norman (01/10/2009)

Nice to see the council spending our money on something useful for a change, as opposed to the politically-correct nonsense that our money is usually squandered on.

By Denise Moore (04/10/2009)

In fact it was Wettons Cleaning Services who paid for this installation. Wettons are contracted to the council to service Brighton and Hove City Council's toilets and have won many awards for their excellent results. This is a good example of how the Council works with partner organisations to deliver top quality services for our residents.

By Councillor Ken Norman (11/10/2009)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.