New tailored toilet facilities at tourist hotspots for people with special educational needs and disabilities

05 December 2023

Photo of the outside of the changing places toilet facility at Stanwick Park

Adults and children of all ages with profound and multiple learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities, now have more choice when deciding which local nature reserves and country parks to visit.  

This week North Northamptonshire Council has opened brand-new, fully accessible 'Changing Places Toilet’ facilities at Stanwick Lakes and Barnwell Country Park.  Everyone, regardless of their access needs or disability or reliance on the assistance of carers or specialist equipment, can use these toilet facilities with dignity and hygienically.  

The ‘Changing Places Toilets’ are part of the government led initiative, designed to provide widespread accessibility and inclusivity.  Unlike standard accessible toilets, 'Changing Places Toilets’ also meet the requirements of people with a range of needs such as spinal injuries, muscle-wasting conditions, and multiple sclerosis.    

Each Changing Places Toilet provides:    

The right equipment   

  • A powered height adjustable adult-sized changing bench   
  • A movable tracking ceiling hoist system 

Enough space   

  • Adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers   
  • A centrally placed toilet with space either side for wheelchairs.  
  • A screen to allow for privacy.   

A safe and clean environment   

  • A paper couch roll to cover the bench   
  • A large waste bin for disposable pads   
  • A non-slip floor  

They also have features including a height adjustable sink, grab rails and alarms.   

Our vision is one where North Northamptonshire is a place where everyone, and we mean everyone,  has the best opportunities and quality of life, so I am a delighted to hear the announcement today.  

Not being able to access a suitable toilet can dictate the daily lives of people with disabilities, often preventing them from accessing our local community. With more Changing Places Toilet facilities popping up, families can explore places that were once off limits.
Councillor Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council
Everyone deserves to have the freedom to enjoy their local communities without the fear of whether they’re going to be able to access the facilities they need.   

The new Changing Places Toilets in North Northamptonshire are in places where they are most needed, helping ensure disabled people and their carers can go about their lives with dignity.
Councillor Matthew Binley, Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets

Once installed, the Changing Places Toilets are registered and approved by Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) and added onto the national website to help people locate them and plan their visits.

A total of eight facilities across North Northants will be funded from £497,000, from the Council’s Capital Programme, which includes a £330,000 contribution from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Other locations in North Northamptonshire with Changing Places facilities already in use are The Corby Cube, East Carlton Park, Rushden Lakes, Wicksteed Park, Waendel Leisure Centre and Corby Swimming Pool.

Further construction works to add more to the network at Irchester Country Park & Wellingborough Library is now underway.