Changing Places Pod officially opened in Hungerford, 8 May 2024

A bespoke Changing Places Pod that will offer fully accessible toilet and changing facilities was officially opened in the Church Street Car Park in Hungerford on 8 Amy 2024.

The Pod is specially designed to specifically support disabled people who need assistance in their day-today personal and is large enough to accommodate a person and their carer. It will provide a fully accessible toilet, plus a height adjustable changing bench and basin, as well as a hoist. The costs  have been covered by a £40,000 grant from Changing Places and £60,000 from West Berkshire’s Community Infrastructure Levy.

Standard accessible toilets meet the needs of some disabled people – but not all. Over 250,000 people in the UK need personal assistance to use the toilet or change incontinence pads, including people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, spinal injuries and those recovering from a stroke.

“Despite the increasing number of Changing Places toilets, there are still not enough to meet the demand and many areas of the UK do not have one at all.,” a statement on the Changing Places website says. “Without them, people with a disability have to stay at home or their family carers have to resort to changing them on dirty toilet floors.

“We need your help to make sure Changing Places toilets are installed in public places. Changing Places toilets will help many of these people to take part in the day to day activities most of us take for granted.”

“We’re delighted that this excellent facility has been installed in Hungerford,” the town’s Mayor Helen Simpson said. “We’re very grateful to Changing Places and West Berkshire Council for having funded it. This, literally, puts Hungerford on the map of all the locations with a Changing Places facility, so showing how keen we are to welcome everyone to our wonderful town. This is the second major commitment to inclusivity that Hungerford has demonstrated following the recent refurbishment of our wheelchair-accessible Croft Field Centre which is available for hire.”

Once the Hungerford Pod is operational, it will be assessed by Changing Places so that it can be added to the official Changing Places map so that people can find it easily. There are currently 2,241 registered Changing Places toilets in the UK.

Once registered, the Pod will be managed and maintained by Hungerford Town Council.

Photograph shows (L to R) Rachel Reddington of West Berkshire Council, Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson and Town Clerk Claire Barnes.

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