Great news for Changing Places users!

Published Wednesday 20 March 2024 at 10:46

Changing Places toilet facilities are on the increase in Blackburn with Darwen.

Changing Places are toilets equipped with facilities that support people with mobility-limiting disabilities to use toilet facilities with dignity. Changing Places facilities are adequately sized for more than one person with equipment that helps carers to meet the needs of the person they are caring for. This includes a ceiling hoist and changing bench.

These facilities are available to people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.

One new Changing Places facility opened this week at Blackburn Cathedral, and another is due to be opened at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park next week.

The Blackburn Cathedral Changing Places in located on the ground floor in the Crypt. This facility can be accessed from the café entrance or via lift from the Temple Gallery.

At Rovers, the Changing Places toilet is located outside of the stadium, in a self-contained unit at the Blackburn end.

These facilities complement the existing Changing Places toilet in Blackburn Market.

And this summer work will be completed on a fourth Changing Places toilet at the main car park at Witton Park in Blackburn, close to Witton Arena.

All three of the new Changing Places facilities have been funded through the government’s Levelling Up fund. The Council was awarded £222,000 to make them happen.

Coun Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

It’s so important to us that everyone in Blackburn with Darwen can take advantage of the opportunities that exist. These Changing Places toilets are a vital support network for people with disabilities that limit their mobility, and help to give them confidence when they venture out. These fully accessible toilet facilities help people with a wide range of disabilities to live full lives. I’m really pleased that the Council was able to secure funding for all three of the new Changing Places facilities.

Changing Places campaigner Zack Kerr from Oswaldtwistle, who has cerebral palsy, was invited to the opening of the new facility at Blackburn Cathedral this week.

Zack commented:

I am delighted that there is now a Changing Places toilet at Blackburn Cathedral. I have been an active campaigner for Changing Places locally and nationally for almost eight years and it’s great to have another one here in Blackburn which can be used by people who live locally and who visit the town. These facilities are nothing short of life-changing for so many people like me. They make it possible for us to live life to the full without worrying about whether or not there will be a safe, clean place where we can use the toilet or get changed. Well done and thank you to everyone who has helped to make this project a reality.

Ian White, Chief Operating Officer at Blackburn Cathedral, said:

The introduction of the Changing Places toilet forms a key part of a planned series of developments to make the Cathedral more accessible for all our visitors. We are committed to extending our welcome to all and Changing Places toilets meet the needs of at least 250,000 people in the UK who are unable to use standard accessible toilets. The additional space and equipment in place further cements our position as a venue for all. We are grateful to both Blackburn with Darwen Council and Muscular Dystrophy UK for their support and guidance that help ensure the introduction of this vital provision was made possible.

Lynsey Talbot, Head of Operations for Blackburn Rovers, commented:

It is great to see the club continuing their pioneering work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. When the fund was made public, it was a clear from the offset that Blackburn Rovers wanted to be part of it to continue to make Ewood Park even more accessible to our community. The facility will help supporters with complex needs enjoy the matchday experience and also attend the many functions and events held throughout the year. We are grateful to Blackburn with Darwen Council, Rise Adaptations and Motor Neurone UK for their assistance in getting this project off the ground.

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