Swanage gets share of grant for changing places toilet

A toilet for those who need extra equipment and space to use the facilities safely and comfortably is to be installed at North Beach car park in Swanage by the end of March 2023.

As well as the changing places toilet in Swanage, there are a further six new facilities planned across the Dorset Council area including one in Studland and another at Corfe Castle.

Changing places toilet at Dorset County Museum

The changing places toilet in Dorset County Museum in Dorchester – one of the first in the county

First in Purbeck

The new toilets are funded by a government grant to Dorset Council, of nearly half a million pounds. The council successfully bid for the money from a £30 million fund to increase the number of changing places toilets nationally.

While there are already six changing places toilets in the Dorset Council area, the new ones in Swanage, Studland and Corfe Castle will be the first public facilities in Purbeck.

The Swanage changing places toilet will be in a currently unused part of the coastguard building next to the curent toilets in North Beach car park. Work is expected to start in March 2023 and take about two weeks to complete.

The location was chosen as it can always be accessed by a vehicle even in the height of the summer season, when other places closer to town can be too busy to get to easily.

North Beach car park toilets

An area next to the existing toilets in North Beach car park will be converted into a changing places toilet in time for Easter 2023

“Allow more people than ever to enjoy Swanage”

Chair of Swanage Town Council’s community services committee, councillor Mike Bonfield said:

“Swanage Town Council is really pleased that Dorset Council is constructing a new changing places toilet at North Beach car park. This will be a fantastic facility and will allow more people than ever to enjoy Swanage.”

Beach mat on Swanage Beach
Beach mat on Swanage Beach

Swanage has already trialled a number of other accessibility improvements including a beach mat to allow wheelchairs and prams to be pushed over the sand

Six new changing place toilets in Dorset Council area

  • North Beach car park in Swanage
  • Knoll Beach National Trust car park in Studland
  • Castle View National Trust car park at Corfe Castle
  • West Bay all inclusive play area
  • West Bay Holiday Park owned by Parkdean Resorts
  • Bridport bus station and visiting coach park
  • Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park at Organford
hoist in changing places toilet
Changing Places

Hoists allow easier access from a wheelchair to a changing bench

Less stressful

A changing place toilet is much larger than a regular accessible toilet and is better equipped including items like a height adjustable adult changing bench, a ceiling track hoist, a peninsular toilet with space for two assistants and a backrest on the toilet seat.

The aim is to provide everyone, regardless of their access needs, disability or reliance on the assistance of carers or specialist equipment, to be able to use a toilet facility with dignity and in a hygienic way.

Parents and carers say that having access to changing places toilets makes going out for the day less stressful and more enjoyable for all.

The campaign to provide changing places toilets was started in 2005 by parents of children and adults with profound and multiple disabilities, who were fed up with having to change incontinence pads on toilet floors or in the back of mobility vehicles.

The first fully accessible toilet was opened in Nottingham in 2006 as part of a new block of city centre toilets. There are now 1,790 registered changing place toilets across the country. Many are in car parks to allow for easy vehicle access.

Changing Places toilet
Changing Places

Some changing places toilets are more creatively decorated than others!

“Making Dorset a more welcoming and safer place”

Councillor Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for assets and property, said:

“I am so pleased we have been successful, making Dorset a more welcoming and safer place for our visitors and residents.

“Easy and pleasant access to appropriate toilet facilities can make a big difference to the enjoyment of a day out. We are really pleased that the government is investing in these important changing places.”

Further information

  • More about changing places toilets and where they are located in the UK is on the Changing Places website

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