A new facility, opened by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, will transform the lives of many families with older children with disabilities, who are unable to use standard disabled toilets.
Parents Robert and Alison Grover, whose 20-year-old daughter Mollie has complex health needs and physical disabilities were among a number of parents who approached Eastbourne Arndale Centre Manager Bill Plumridge, about installing a specially adapted “Changing Places” facility.
Robert, who lives in Eastbourne, said: “Standard disabled toilets don’t contain a hoist or adult changing bench which is needed for many with disabilities. They are absolutely vital for parents and carers with children with disabilities. In the past we’ve had to change Mollie on toilet floors because there hasn’t been any appropriate facility. Other parents and carers have the same experience and just don’t go out if they know there’s nowhere they can change their child.
“We are really delighted that Eastbourne now has its first Changing Places facility. It will be an enormous help, not just for families, but for anyone with disabilities. It will bring more people into the town because the first thing many people do when they are visiting a town is look on the Changing Places website to see if there is a local appropriate and fully accessible facility.”
Arndale Centre Manager Bill Plumridge said: “Many people with severely limited mobility cannot use a standard disabled toilet and need specialised equipment and this new facility provides what is needed. We’re really pleased that such a vital facility is now available in the Centre.”
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said: “This is a fantastic step forward, not just for the Arndale Centre, but for Eastbourne. The lack of a fully accessible disabled toilet can be a huge problem for many with severe disabilities so this new Changing Places toilet will give more people, and families, the choice of coming to our town and enjoying activities that many of us take for granted.”
Changing Places was launched in 2006 on behalf of the 250,000 people in Britain who cannot use standard accessible disabled toilets. This includes those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy as well as older people.