The first of three new Changing Places toilets in Calderdale is now open at Todmorden Learning Centre, improving facilities in the town, particularly for those with severe disabilities or complex needs.
As part of the Changing Places programme, a partnership between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Muscular Dystrophy UK, Calderdale has been awarded funding for three Changing Places toilets.
These fully accessible toilets are for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. They include specialist equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers.
The first installation is now complete at Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub and includes a changing bench, hoist, peninsular toilet and plenty of space. The facility will allow increased access to the learning and leisure opportunities offered at the centre. The centre also has an ‘open toilet’ policy meaning the toilets can be used by anyone visiting the town, making other town centre services and attractions more accessible.
Work to install a Changing Places toilet is also underway at Ogden Water, with completion scheduled for later this autumn. The facility will complement the wheelchair-friendly routes around the reservoir, making Ogden Water a more inclusive place to visit. It will also provide the opportunity for people with a range of disabilities to enjoy the countryside and the associated mental and physical health benefits.
The third of the facilities will be included as part of works on the Fire & Water building – the former fire station, swimming pool and Council offices. The facility will be managed by Sowerby Bridge Fire & Water community group and will support their ambition to provide facilities for all community-related groups and individuals in the town. It’s anticipated that work on the facility will commence in late 2023/early 2024.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Tim Swift, said:
“The installation of the first of three additional Changing Places toilets in Calderdale will make a real difference for Todmorden residents or visitors with disabilities and support our priority to reduce inequalities.
“The space and specialist equipment in the new toilet will improve access to Todmorden for those living with a disability and for their carers, providing reassurance that they can visit the town without worrying about having appropriate facilities in place.
“The facility will also be open to all, providing public toilet facilities in the town which can give peace of mind, especially for people with conditions which mean they may need urgent access.
“The new Todmorden toilet will add to the list of Changing Places already available in Calderdale in Brighouse and Halifax. I’m pleased to see that work is also progressing on further facilities at Ogden Water and in Sowerby Bridge, creating a network of Changing Places toilets across the borough.”
Julie Thorpe, CEO and Centre Manager at Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub, said:“We are delighted to be hosting the Changing Place at Todmorden College. Our building is in the centre of town and has good opening hours. The new facility will benefit people with disabilities coming to activities here at the learning centre, and also those who are out and about shopping or taking part in other community events around the town.”
Katie Clarke from Visits Unlimited and Accessible Calderdale, said:“We are really pleased to have been part of this process from the ideas stage to the actual launch of these new and much needed Changing Places facilities. “This installation is going to allow disabled people and their family members to have a day out in Todmorden, visit the attractions, market, cafes and beautiful park knowing that there is an accessible toilet facility available. This is life changing for many people.”
For more information about Changing Places toilets and to search for existing facilities across the country, visit https://www.changing-places.org/