A significant number of individuals, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, face limitations in accessing standard accessible toilets due to their specific mobility challenges.

These individuals often require specialised equipment or assistance from one or two carers to utilise the facilities or undergo necessary continence pad changes.

Standard accessible toilets, commonly known as disabled toilets, lack essential features such as changing benches and hoists, and most are too small to accommodate more than one person. This lack of suitable facilities puts individuals with disabilities at risk, while families are left with the difficult choice of compromising their own health and safety by resorting to changing their loved ones on unsanitary toilet floors. Such circumstances are both unhygienic and undignified.

To address this pressing issue, Fylde Council embarked on a capital scheme aimed at implementing Changing Places facilities across three locations within the Fylde area. In 2021/22, Fylde Council successfully secured the Changing Places Grant, which played a crucial role in funding these new facilities. The original budget approval amounted to £120,000, with £108,000 designated from the Changing Places Grant Funding, and an additional £12,000 sourced from the Council’s Capital Investment Reserve.

The initial facility, completed in March 2023, is already operational at the North Beach Windsports Centre following its renovation. This development has greatly improved accessibility for visitors. To support the construction of two additional Changing Places facilities, the Executive Committee has granted an additional £40,000 from the Capital Investment Reserve.

The first of the facilities will be situated at Kirkham Community Centre, utilising the existing space and slightly extending the building to accommodate the toilet. The proposed design at Kirkham Community Centre has been approved by Kirkham Town Council. Due to space and budget limitations, the proposed installation of the second facility at Lowther Pavilion is no longer possible. Instead, the facility will be located at the operational boathouse on Fairhaven Lake, with refurbishment plans set for later this year. Both facilities are expected to be completed by March 2024.

Councillor Michelle Morris, Lead Member for Customer and Operational Services said, “We are proud to continue our efforts in improving accessibility across Fylde. The construction of these two new Changing Place facilities demonstrates our dedication to ensuring that everyone has equal access to appropriate facilities. These installations will greatly benefit individuals who require additional support, enabling them to navigate our community with greater ease.”

The introduction of these Changing Place facilities reflects Fylde Council’s commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity throughout the region. By providing dedicated facilities equipped with essential amenities such as height-adjustable changing benches and ceiling hoists, individuals with specific accessibility requirements will have the necessary support to participate fully in day-to-day activities.

To read more about the Changing Places campaign, including opportunities to get involved and an official CPT map showing facilities in your area, visit the Changing Places website. For a list of Council-owned public conveniences, their locations and opening times, visit the Fylde Council website

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