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Mendip agrees plans for district's first Changing Places facility

10 October 2017

Mendip District Council has taken a major step towards establishing the first of a number of Changing Places facilities in the district.

Changing Places logo

Changing Places is a national campaign which aims to see new public toilet facilities introduced across the country for people with acute physical and learning disabilities.

Following discussions at Full Council about the need for facilities to support disabled members of our community the council has been talking with the towns, businesses and local communities to try to deliver a network of facilities across Mendip. From this work, Clark's Shopping Village have agreed to deliver a facility in Street and Wells City Council has offered to establish one in their offices in the centre of Wells.

At a meeting of the council's Cabinet yesterday (Monday 9 October), councillors agreed to take forward plans for a facility at the council's toilet block in the Cattle Market Car park in Frome. The facility would be created by transforming a store room on the site.

Cabinet also agreed that it would make a contribution to Wells City Council for their proposed facility at Wells Town Hall.

Mendip is working with other town councils to try identify suitable sites for other Changing Places facilities in Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet.

The Frome facility will be partly funded through the use of Section 106 money earmarked for the town with top-up funding by the district council, a contribution from Frome Town Council and some community fundraising. Mendip District Council will also fund the ongoing annual cost of maintaining the facilities.

Cllr Philip Ham, Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Chair of the Equalities Group, said: "We believe that a vital part of the council is its community leadership role and ability to bring many different groups together to solve local concerns. When our residents identified the lack of facilities we began work across the district to pull in resources and commitment, from a variety of sources, to get this matter tackled.

"This project is about providing a level of dignity for a group of people who are already tackling major challenges in their lives.

"Providing these specialist toilets in public places would make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities as well as others with disabilities that severely limit mobility.

"Currently there are no Changing Places facilities in Mendip and just two in the whole of Somerset, so by providing such facilities in Mendip we will be enabling local people and visitors to our district to get out and enjoy the day to day activities so many of us take for granted.

"I'm delighted that Mendip District Council is progressing this initiative with cross-party support and look forward to work beginning on the new facilities in the near future."

For more information about the Changing Places campaign, go to: www.changing-places.org

Last modified: 10 October 2017