Opening of new ‘Changing Places’ a Boost to Disability Travel in NI

Our new State-of-the-Art ‘Changing Places’ facility for people with severe mobility disabilities opens in Ebrington Square, Derry/Londonderry at 11.30am this morning – Monday 7th August.

The bathroom facility was developed and funded fully by social care agency, Glen Caring, and is the first one in the Western Region. It is expected to be a major advantage for local people with disabilities and a boost to accessible tourism for the region.

“From our own experience of taking clients on respite care daytrips, standard disabled toilets are simply not enough for those with severe mobility issues,” says Glen Caring general manager Linda Beckett. “This new facility enables them and their carers to enjoy trips to and days out in Derry and the surrounding areas, with the security of knowing that their needs can be met with dignity.”

Local man, Jonathan Hagon – who cut the ribbon for the official opening –  says the new changing facility is “exactly what this city needs. It is so handy for both people in town and people in the Waterside, going to the arena or St Columb’s park. It means someone who normally couldn’t go on an outing with their friends and family can now do so. Having the use of the hoist and changing bed is brilliant – this makes life easier for so many people.”

“We have been in the situation in the past where, my mum and her friend have had to lay my friend on cold tiles on the floor of a toilet to be changed, which was awful for my friend. I can’t wait to tell them about the new Glen Caring facility on the square.”

Linda Beckett, General Manager of Glen Caring, Jonathan Hagon, service user, Orla McCann, Disability Action NI and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh celebrate the opening of the new Glen Caring State-of-the-Art ‘Changing Places’ facility in Ebrington Square, Derry/Londonderry.

Linda Beckett, General Manager of Glen Caring, Jonathan Hagon, service user, Orla McCann, Disability Action NI and the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh celebrate the opening of the new Glen Caring State-of-the-Art ‘Changing Places’ facility in Ebrington Square, Derry/Londonderry. Picture Martin McKeown. 07.08.17

The event was also addressed by the Mayor of Derry & Strabane Maolíosa McHugh, who said he was “delighted that such a superb facility is now available to the people of Derry and Strabane and to visitors to our city and region.  This opening is an important step in making our city more inclusive and accessible, and should be recognised and welcomed as such”.

Martin Graham, Tourism NI Regional Manager for the Derry & Strabane council area welcomed the new state of the art facilities “I commend the work of Glen Caring and their focus on accessible tourism, the implementation of this facility will help ensure that all visitors can travel to the area with ease and comfort.”

Orla McCann, an assistant director at Disability Action NI, says better access is not just the right thing to do for individuals with disability, it’s also the right direction for tourism. Speaking at the official opening event, she said there are “an estimated 11 million people in the UK with some form of disability – a demographic that’s been overlooked for far too long.  In economic terms, this demographic is worth a potential £2 billion-a-year to the UK tourism market. By taking an inclusive approach to future tourism development, Northern Ireland could take its share of this market.”

The equipment available at the Ebrington Changing Places facility includes:

  • A height adjustable adult sized changing bench
  • A tracking Hoist system
  • Adequate space in changing area for up to two people
  • A centrally placed Aqua 800 washing, drier toilet with adequate room either side
  • A curtain to allow privacy
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Shower with floor drainage.

Check out the Changing Places facility in Ebrington Square here and find out more about the Changing Places organisation and campaign here. If you need further information about the new Ebrington Square facility, please email Glen Caring on info@glencaring.com