Delight as new Changing Places toilet opens at Barrow Park Leisure Centre

Customers, staff and the wider community have welcomed the opening of a new Changing Places toilet at Barrow Park Leisure Centre.

The pristine new facility at the Barrow-in-Furness sports venue owned by Westmorland and Furness Council brings the total of fully accessible Changing Places in the council’s area to 13.

It follows the recent launch of two Changing Places toilets at Tebay Services Northbound and Rheged, which were made possible thanks to £100,000 government grants secured by Westmorland and Furness Council.

The newly installed Changing Places at Barrow’s leisure centre was funded with £50,000 secured by the council from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Changing Places Fund, and £20,000 from Barrow Forward Ltd, which runs the council-owned venue.

Chris Jones, Chair of Barrow Forward, said: “I am delighted our Changing Places is now open. A lot of people have worked very hard to get to this point.

“The facility will make the leisure centre and nearby Barrow Park much more accessible for all. It removes what was a huge barrier for some members of our community who can now come and enjoy the activities we have on offer, with peace of mind that this accessible changing and toilet facility is available.”

More than 250,000 people rely on the 1,400 Changing Places toilets in the UK to enable them to get out and enjoy day-to-day activities. Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability.

Designed to be safe, clean and completely accessible, the new facility in Barrow is located in the leisure centre car park. Its features include a shower, a tracking hoist system, a height-adjustable changing bench, a toilet with enough space to allow two carers and a screen for privacy.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer and Waste Services, whose portfolio includes sports and leisure, said: “This important facility really allows Barrow Park Leisure Centre to be fully available to those people who may not have felt confident or able to visit previously.

“I hope, also, that it encourages visitors to include a visit to Barrow Park which is very close by. A green, beautiful and peaceful haven which, quite justly, Barrovians are very proud of – it’s a calm, relaxing and uplifting place to spend some quality time in our great outdoors.”

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, added: “It’s heartening to see momentum building with the coverage of Changing Places facilities in our area following the recent openings at Tebay Services and Rheged. Changing Places help disabled people – residents and visitors alike – get out and about in Westmorland and Furness more easily and with confidence.”

Across Westmorland and Furness, Changing Places toilets can now be found at:

•    Barrow – Barrow Park Leisure Centre, Barrow Library and Furness General Hospital, with an installation due in 2024 at the town’s Market Hall
•    Kendal – Kendal Leisure Centre, Westmorland General Hospital and Outside In play area
•    M6 motorway – Killington Services, Burton Services, Tebay Services Northbound and Southbound
•    Newby Bridge – Fell Foot
•    Penrith – Rheged
•    Windermere – Rayrigg Meadow (installed in spring 2023 by the former South Lakeland District Council).

For full details of locations and opening times, visit: Changing Places Toilets (changing-places.org)


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