The English Riviera is now one of the most accessible tourist destinations in the country- with the opening of state-of-the-art toilet facilities.

It is the result of efforts by local campaigners, to highlight the fact that many people with learning and/or physical disabilities cannot use conventional accessible WCs, and therefore cannot spend time out and about in case they need the toilet. They need more space, and/or special equipment- a Changing Places toilet.

So, Torbay Council has refurbished the Festival Apollo toilet block on Paignton seafront to become a dedicated disabled toilet facility, featuring the first Changing Places in an open space in the area.

The Changing Places goes ‘above and beyond’ being equipped to ‘best practice’ guidelines under British Standards: it features a Closomat Palma Vita wash and dry toilet in place of a conventional WC, and height adjustable washbasin in addition to the necessary equipment of height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, privacy screen and ceiling track hoist. The facility is accessed via a code..

Councillor Robert Excell, executive lead for community safety at Torbay Council, said,

This prime seafront location is ideal for an accessible toilet, and will help meet the needs of people with a disability. It represents a total £100,000 investment and is the culmination of efforts by ourselves in conjunction with Torbay Mencap, Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Paignton Rotary Club and Preston Rotary Club to fund, design and implement this great facility.

The Changing Places means anyone who needs help to go to the toilet when away from home- be it from a carer or who needs special equipment, can now spend time at the seafront knowing there are suitable toilets to hand if needed.

Elaborates Kelvin Grimes, Closomat away from home project manager,

Without Changing Places toilets, people who need them either have to curtail their visit in case they need toilet facilities, or simply cannot visit a destination. Think about it, we go to the toilet on average eight times a day, so chances are, if you are away from home, you will need to ‘go’. It affects not just the tens of thousands of people who need them, but their carers, families and friends too.