Council Partners News

New Fully Accessible ‘Changing Places’ Facility Opens in Newbridge

Kildare County Council has opened a second fully accessible ‘Changing Places’ facility for people with complex disabilities.  Located in Newbridge Sports Centre, Station Road, Newbridge, the facility includes many features and additional equipment making it more accessible than the standard accessible toilets we are all familiar with.

Newbridge is the location of the second Changing Places facility to be opened by Kildare County Council following the launch of the facility in the Council Offices, Devoy Park, Naas last year.

Disabled accessible toilets often do not meet the needs of all people with complex disabilities. For example, individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and older people with physical disabilities may need extra equipment facilities to enable them to use the toilet, maximising independence, and comfort. Sadly, many people with disabilities are often faced with the indignity and unhygienic option of being changed on the floor of a public toilet as the correct facilities are not available in public places.

The Changing Places facility addresses these issues as it provides 12m² of floor space and includes both a full room coverage ceiling track hoist, a centrally located toilet bowl with space either side for transfers or assistants, and a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench.

Changing Places facilities are designed to enhance the health, safety, comfort, and dignity of someone who may need extra support and additional equipment during personal care tasks. Changing Places facilities also offer added safety and support features for assistants.

Speaking at the opening of the new facility, Michael Hurley, Access Officer, Kildare County Council said, “I am incredibly excited about the opening of this new state of the art public service facility for people with disabilities and additional physical needs.  This new facility represents another significant step forward and is a positive contribution to the full inclusion, equality, and rights of disabled people within our community.” 

Aisling McNiffe, Changing Places Ireland, said, “we are delighted to see that Newbridge Sports Centre have installed a changing places toilet. It will open up the world for many people with disabilities. Accessibility and inclusion are vital. To be able to access a bathroom suitable for your individual needs is a basic human right. So many people have been excluded from society because of the lack of a changing places toilet. Thanks to Michael Hurley & Kildare County Council for their commitment to date.” 

“I am writing this on behalf of my son Jack who has an intellectual & physical disability. He does not get to participate in the world as most of us do, he is restricted by his mobility and always has been. He is nearing 18 years old and I hope the future will be brighter for him & his friends. He deserves to be able to access the world just as the majority of us do. He deals with so much on a day-to-day basis & something as basic as an appropriate toilet/ bathroom would change his life. This is a human rights issue. We need to give children & adults like my son respect and dignity. Providing an appropriate bathroom is just the start.” 

The Changing Places facility in Newbridge Sports Centre is now open to the public and is the second in a series of 3 planned facilities with another one planned for the new library in Naas.

Source: Kildare County Council

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