The first of three new Changing Places toilets in Calderdale has recently opened at Todmorden Learning Centre, significantly enhancing facilities in the town, especially for individuals with severe disabilities or complex needs.
As part of the Changing Places initiative, a collaboration between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Muscular Dystrophy UK, Calderdale has received funding for three Changing Places toilets.
These fully accessible facilities cater to individuals who cannot use standard accessible toilets. They are equipped with specialist amenities like hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and sufficient space for caregivers.
The initial installation, now operational at Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub, encompasses a changing bench, hoist, peninsular toilet, and ample room. This facility will facilitate broader access to the educational and recreational opportunities offered at the centre. Moreover, the centre adheres to an ‘open toilet’ policy, making the toilets accessible to anyone in the town, thereby enhancing accessibility to other town-centre services and attractions.
Efforts to install a Changing Places toilet at Ogden Water are currently underway, with completion slated for later this autumn. This addition will complement the wheelchair-friendly paths around the reservoir, transforming Ogden Water into a more inclusive destination. Furthermore, it will provide individuals with various disabilities the chance to relish the countryside and its associated mental and physical health benefits.
The third facility will be incorporated into the renovations of the Fire & Water building, which encompasses the former fire station, swimming pool, and Council offices. The management of this facility will be overseen by the Sowerby Bridge Fire & Water community group, aligning with their goal to furnish facilities for all community-related groups and individuals in the town. The anticipated commencement of work on this facility is in late 2023 or 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/