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.
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.
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.
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”