Changing Places toilets are specifically designed and equipped for people with significant disabilities. Lloyd Banking Group’s new accessible toilet, installed in the bank’s headquarters in London’s Old Broad Street, will be open 24/7 for members of staff and the public.
“I regularly visit our Old Broad Street office and the new Changing Places facility is a welcome step towards full inclusivity,” says Ross Hovey, a manager for Lloyds Banking Group and a disability campaigner. “I have spinal muscular atrophy and use an electric wheelchair, with my care team providing me with the support I need 24/7.”
For most people, where to go to the loo isn’t a factor when deciding whether to have that post-work pint. Having the new Changing Places toilet gives me the freedom to make last-minute decisions.
– Ross Hovey, manager for Lloyds Banking Group and disability campaigner
Lloyds Banking Group plans to install more Changing Places toilets at branches, with the next due to open later this year in Bristol.
At London City Hall, the newly installed Changing Places toilet will be open to both staff and the public during working hours.
Why we need more Changing Places toilets
Changing Places toilets are larger than standard accessible toilets and include specialist equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for carers. More than 250,000 people in the UK need these facilities so they can leave their homes and enjoy day-to-day activities.
“The benefits aren’t just related to my working day,” says Ross Hovey. “For most people, where to go to the loo isn’t a factor when deciding whether to have that post-work pint. Having the new Changing Places toilet gives me the freedom to make last-minute decisions to socialise with my work friends.”
There are now 1,738 Changing Places toilets registered nationwide. To become registered, they need to be approved by the Changing Places Consortium, which Muscular Dystrophy UK co-chairs.
A successful year
Since Changing Places Awareness Day 2021, there have been some big wins for the campaign. Changing Places toilets are now officially on the national agenda, with the National Disability Strategy published in 2021 including them for the first time. And in June 2022, a Bournemouth hotel became the first to install a Changing Places toilet.
In the same month, Changing Places toilets became mandatory in certain new public buildings in Northern Ireland, thanks to independent campaigners.
There are also new installations on the horizon in England and Scotland. In March 2022, following specialist support and advice from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced £23.5 million funding for 513 new Changing Places toilets across England. The Scottish Government announced a similar fund of £10 million.
Behind the scenes, countless campaigners have worked tirelessly to help achieve these victories. Muscular Dystrophy UK campaigner Lorna Fillingham regularly meets with government ministers and departments to lobby for better Changing Places toilet provision and has also encouraged local councils to bid for funding.
In 2022, Lorna was given the Community Achievement award in our President’s Awards ceremony, named after lifelong Muscular Dystrophy UK campaigners Peter and Nancy Andrews.