Two new accessible Changing Places toilets open in Bedford

Cllr Sarah Gallagher at the Changing Places site in Russell Park. Image: Bedford Borough Council
Cllr Sarah Gallagher at the Changing Places site in Russell Park. Image: Bedford Borough Council

New accessible Changing Places toilets have been officially opened in Russell Park and at the Higgins Bedford to cater to the needs of severely disabled visitors.

In Russell Park, the modular unit is adjacent to The Kiosk café and close to the accessible play equipment. The second is at The Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane.

The facilities will ensure that individuals with severe disabilities can enjoy these public spaces and cultural attractions with ease and dignity and were made possible through £134,750 in funding from the UK government’s Changing Places Fund, administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in collaboration with Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK).

The project also receives support from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Changing Places toilets are specially designed to meet the needs of severely disabled individuals, equipped with features such as hoists, privacy screens, adult-sized changing benches, peninsular toilets, and space for carers.

Prior to this funding program, over a quarter of a million severely disabled people lacked access to suitable public toilet facilities, underscoring the urgency and importance of initiatives like these.

Cllr Sarah Gallagher, portfolio holder for leisure and culture (Conservative, Shortstown), said: “The introduction of these two Changing Places toilets is a crucial step towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can fully participate in our community.

“It’s heartening to see our commitment to inclusivity realised through tangible actions like these.”

Cllr Jim Weir, portfolio holder for environment, highways, and transport (Conservative, Great Denham), echoed her views.

“By providing inclusive facilities, we’re fostering a more equitable and sustainable community for all residents,” he said.

Details of all public toilets in Bedford Borough, including opening hours and access arrangements, can be found here.