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Debbie’s Blog #11 – Changing Places, Changing Lives

July 29, 2020

Changing Places, Changing Lives – that’s what we’re all about at YMCA Humber, and this was reflected in our ‘ahead of the curve’ decision-making recently.

Last week, the Government announced that all new, large public buildings would be required to install a Changing Places toilet. These toilets are designed to meet the needs of people with complex care needs. Standard accessible toilets do not provide changing benches or hoists, and most are too small to accommodate more than one person. Without Changing Places toilets, the person with a disability is potentially at risk and families are often forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor.

The new YMCA building which is currently being constructed at Freeman Street, Grimsby will not be covered by these new Government requirements (which are targeted at very large venues, art galleries, cinemas, concert halls, conference centres, colleges, universities, shopping centres etc). But that hasn’t stopped us doing the right thing! At YMCA Humber we are hugely committed to ALL of the community, to providing the best experience we can.

Back in March 2019, when we could only dream of the building currently under construction, we knew that we wanted a Changing Places toilet and asked for it to be integral to the plans. I was personally inspired to insist on this by a beautiful family that I know. There are two beautiful children in this family, a boy and a girl. Their daughter has Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes severe muscle movement disability. This beautiful family want to do beautiful things together – they should not be forced into family days out blighted by having to change their daughter on a toilet floor! No family should.

Our new building is an example of how bricks and mortar can change lives – we’ll be providing aspirational homes, aspirational facilities for communities to come together, and meeting the needs of an all-inclusive society.

At YMCA Humber, we believe everyone has potential to unlock. Providing these Changing Places toilets in public places will make a dramatic difference to the lives of people who desperately need these facilities. It will also make a massive difference to their families and loved ones. Sometimes you just need to change one thing to open up a world of possibility….