Tesco installs more Changing Places toilets to help disabled shoppers
26 April 2019
Tesco have installed 35 Changing Places facilities in its stores across the UK to help those with complex disabilities use toilets safely and comfortably.
The toilets offer a larger area and specialist equipment such as hoists, privacy screen and a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench.
The rollout of new facilities come after Tesco invited Changing Places campaigner Kerry Thompson to its Milton Keynes Kingston Extra store, to speak to colleagues and explain why these facilities are so important. She said:
“The biggest challenge I face when going anywhere is when it comes to using disabled toilets. I find some are simply too small to fit me, my wheelchair and hubby- it can sometimes feel very claustrophobic.
"Having to plan where to go for a meal or do my shopping based on whether the disabled toilets are suitable makes things difficult. I have to limit what I drink just in case the disabled toilet isn't big enough or not got the right equipment to help me. Other times I find myself limiting my time out because you just can't risk the embarrassment of having an accident. I shouldn't have to worry about the most basic thing we all need to do.
"It was great to get the opportunity to speak to Tesco and tell them why these facilities are so important. I think being in the same room and telling them face to face really helped and I’m so pleased they’re installing more toilets, I know it will make a trip to the supermarket a little bit easier for people like me."
Alessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer, said:
“We were keen to meet with Kerry and when we heard her story we wanted to help. It’s clear how important Changing Places toilets are to our customers who need them so we’re pleased to have installed these 35 new facilities. We treat each store on a case by case basis and wherever possible we will try and accommodate them and help customers such as Kerry.”
Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs the Changing Places Consortium, said:
“Having access to Changing Places toilets gives disabled people greater independence, and we are delighted that Tesco has committed to installing more than 30 facilities in the UK this year. Having the support of such a high-profile retailer is an encouraging step forward in our campaign and we hope other retailers and venues will follow suit.
“Like everyone else, disabled people go shopping, travel to work and meet their friends, but a lack of Changing Places toilets can leave them isolated. By building more Changing Places toilets, we can help to tackle the exclusion they face.”
In November 2018 Tesco became the first UK supermarket to launch larger nappies specifically designed for children with disabilities, working in partnership with Mum and campaigner Laura Rutherford, who found it hard to find larger nappies for her 4 year old son Brody.
To find out more about Changing Places and see a full list of UK facilities, please click here.
The 35 new toilets are in addition to 4 existing facilities in the Milton Keynes Kingston Extra, Calne Superstore, Slough Extra and Stourbridge Extra stores (Update: There are now 40 changing places thanks to the installation of a facility at our Redruth Extra store)
The full list of Tesco stores with changing place facilities can be found here.
Notes to editors
About Muscular Dystrophy UK
Muscular Dystrophy UK is the charity for 70,000 children and adults living with muscle-wasting conditions. We provide vital information, advice and support to help people live as independently as possible. We accelerate progress in research and drive the campaign for access to emerging treatments.
About Changing Places
A Changing Places toilet is a fully accessible toilet with the following additional equipment: a height-adjustable changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist; a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and enough space for up to two carers as detailed in British Standard BS8300: 2009. These toilets should be provided in addition to standard accessible toilets.
The Changing Places Consortium comprises Muscular Dystrophy UK, PAMIS, Centre for Accessible Environments, the Scottish Government and founding member and advisor/campaigner Martin Jackaman. The Changing Places campaign supports the rights of people with severe and multiple learning disabilities, and/or other physical disabilities, to access their community. Without Changing Places toilets, carers are forced to change their loved ones on toilet floors, or have to stay at home. For information and advice on changing places facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland email, firstname.lastname@example.org; for Scotland email: email@example.com