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New Changing Places toilet planned for Swallows leisure centre

Published Thursday 8 September, 2022
Last updated on Tuesday 20 September, 2022

Severely disabled people will be able to use a new large accessible toilet at Swallows leisure centre thanks to funding from the Government’s Changing Places Fund.

Swale Borough Council has received almost £134,000 to install the new Changing Place Toilet (CPT) in Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne early next year, along with two more at other locations around the borough in the next couple of years.

The new CTP will be a minimum of 12 square metres, which is around three times bigger than a standard accessible toilet. They include a height adjustable, adult-sized changing bench, a ceiling hoist to lift adults and children out of their wheelchair onto a changing bench or toilet, and a peninsular toilet with room for support on either side.

Cllr Monique Bonney, chair of the regeneration and property committee at the council, said:

“This funding will help make sure people with severe disabilities, their families and their carers can plan a day out or travel without needing to worry about whether they will have access to suitable toilet facilities.

“This is something many people take for granted but can be a real barrier to enjoying activities like shopping or meeting up with friends.

“As Swallows is open long hours, it seemed the right location for the first toilet. We’re working with our partners Swale Community Leisure and Serco and hope to have the toilet open by April.”

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of the environment committee at the council, said:

“We’re delighted with the amount of funding we’ve received for three Changing Places toilets in Swale.

“The toilets are designed for adults and children with complex disabilities, who need hoisting from their wheelchair to use the toilet or changing table or support on both sides while using the toilet.

“They are three times the size of a standard disabled toilet, providing space for carers and family members to enter and safely manoeuvre people around including disabled children and adults who are in a wheelchair, have balance issues or severe autism and challenging behaviours to get the support they need."