Elmsleigh Centre opens fully accessible Changing Places facility
The Elmsleigh Centre in Staines-upon-Thames is delighted to announce that a new fully accessible Changing Places toilet facility has been installed and is now available to visitors with complex needs.
Changing Places toilets include a hoist, an adult size changing bench and generous space for a disabled person and up to two carers. Spelthorne Borough Council applied for a funding grant for £40,000 from central Government which covered the cost of installing the new facility which is located on the first floor of the Elmsleigh Centre and accessed via the lift by Costa Coffee.
Thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other disabilities that severely limit mobility, cannot use standard accessible toilets. People may be limited in their own mobility so need equipment to help them or may need support from one or two carers.
Accessible toilets do not usually provide changing benches or hoists and are often too small to accommodate more than one person. Without Changing Places toilets, the person with disabilities is put at risk, and families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor.#
It is now accepted and expected that everyone has a right to live in the community, to move aroudn within it and access all its facilities, but for some people with disabilities the lack of a fully accessible toilet is denying them this right.
The Mayor of Spelthorne, Cllr Susan Doran opened the Changing Places facility. She said: "We are pleased to have helped obtain the funding needed for this project. Changing Places toilets can make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people who feel isolated in their homes because of the lack of appropriate facilities. It's a very simple thing but will make a big difference to many."
Gary Little, Centre Manager for the Elmsleigh Centre, said: "We believe this new facility will make the Elmsleigh Centre an even more welcoming and inclusive place to visit. Changing Places toilets have more room and specialised equipment which means people with severe disabilities and their families can visit the town centre knowing their needs are catered for."
Ken Saunders, Chair of Spelthorne Committee for Access Now which supports people with disabilities said: "A lack of fully accessible toilets can severely restrict people's ability to take part in everyday activities and robs them of their dignity. Just knowing these facilities are available can take away much of the worry and stress around going out."
For more information about Changing Places, including a map of facilities, visit www.changing-places.org