A new Changing Places toilet facility has been opened in Preston.Advertisement
Campaigner Rosemary McLean cut the ribbon on the mobile changing unit, along with her daughter Hollie and Joe Hannett, general manager of Preston Mobility Centre.
The portable unit has a full size changing table, a hoist, an access ramp and space for a wheelchair and carer to comfortably manoeuvre.
It can also be taken to large events in the city, making them more inclusive for all.
The Changing Places facility was opened on Purple Tuesday – a national day of action to ensure shopping facilities are inclusive for all.
Rosemary said: “Without access to a simple thing like a toilet, it stops people from going out. It is about dignity and equality.
“It’s been a long journey to bring the facility to fruition.
Rosemary started a petition in 2006 and lobbied Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council for accessible toilets.
Joe Hannett said: “I met Rosemary five years ago and she mentioned the site here as being the perfect location. It had never occurred to me that standard disabled toilets may not be suitable for everyone. I started reading about Changing Places toilets and there is a whole standard around them.”
Five years ago, Lancashire County Council set aside funding for the facility but a series of set backs with the infrastructure have delayed the project.
Preston City Council took over the maintenance and management of the toilet and it was declared open.
Coun Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Preston mobility centre and Lancashire County Council to open the new Changing Places toilet facility today, in line with Purple Tuesday.
“Continually improving access and facilities in the city centre enables a genuinely inclusive environment for visitors to remove any disadvantage they may face.”
Joe said: This toilet will open up Preston City Centre for disabled shoppers and because it is portable, events in Preston will now be more inclusive for all.”
Read more: Changing Places toilet opens in Preston Bus Station
Coun Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Hundreds of people with disabilities and complex health conditions use Preston city centre each week.
“If there aren’t suitable facilities nearby, it can make it difficult or impossible for them to come into the city centre, so facilities such as this and the changing places toilet at Preston Bus Station are crucial.
“We’re pleased to have funded this much-needed facility and we hope to see many more introduced across the county.”
To register to use the toilet in Lune Street, please go to Preston Mobility Centre with two forms of ID and you will be given a key.