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Northern Ireland acts to make Changing Places mandatory

Northern Ireland acts to make Changing Places mandatory
29th October 2020 Ian Streets

The Northern Ireland Assembly has taken a step towards making Changing Places facilities mandatory for new buildings with a significant announcement by its Finance Minister.
Conor Murphy told the Assembly recently that the development will mark an important step in dignity and equality.
The UK government announced during the summer that Changing Places toilets will be mandatory in new, large buildings in England from 2021. Shopping centres, supermarkets, sports and arts venues will be required to include at least one Changing Place, with facilities including hoists, changing benches and space for carers.
A second announcement from Muscular Dystrophy UK, in partnership with the Department for Transport, confirmed that £1.27m will be spent on installing 37 more Changing Places at service stations across England.
However some councils in Northern Ireland have no changing places within their public facilities and the Department of Finance said Mr Murphy was committed to amending building regulations as soon as possible.
A statement said: “Work is under way to make the necessary changes to the technical guidance of the regulations to make Changing Places toilets a requirement in new buildings that meet the criteria.”
Christine Clements, a campaigner whose daughter has a severe disability, has been appointed to the technical working group.
She told the BBC in Northern Ireland she was thrilled by the announcement and that it “will make the biggest difference to the lives of severely disabled people, also their carers and their family members”.
She added that current facilities curtailed what disabled people and their carers can do, including how far they can travel: “To have the same safe, dignified, convenient toileting arrangements that everybody else enjoys is just going to be huge.”

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