Following on from the Government’s recent announcement of £30m of funding for the implementation of Changing Places Toilet projects across England, Astor Bannerman and Building Heroes are incredibly proud to launch a collaboration that will employ Military Veterans to install these vital facilities throughout the UK.
In a year when new Changing Places legislation has also been introduced by the UK Government, this collaboration provides further good news; a partnership between a UK charity focussed on the training and employment of Military Veterans and the UK manufacturer of specialist Changing Places Toilet equipment.
Building Heroes is a charity that has provided skills training to Military Veterans and support into employment in the building trades since 2014. Its aim is to tackle unemployment nationwide amongst those who have kept us safe by offering them a seamless transition to a new career in construction.
Brendan Williams (Chief Executive) of Building Heroes states:
“When we were approached by Astor Bannerman to see if we could build a programme to utilise the skills of the 120,000 unemployed Military Veterans in the UK we saw this opportunity as the perfect fit. Many of our veterans have first-hand experience of disabilities and the challenges these present, so to train our Veteran graduates to install Changing Places Toilets was an obvious and exciting opportunity. The £30m of Government funding is being distributed through Local Authorities, and with many of them having some connection with the forces, it sends a positive message. Installing Changing Places Toilet equipment is a careful and safety-critical process that requires specific knowledge and high standards. I can think of no-one better qualified than our Building Heroes graduates, with their military upbringing and experience of our Building Heroes training courses”
Mark Colebrook (Managing Director) of Astor Bannerman adds:
“As a UK manufacturer of Changing Places equipment this is a perfect partnership, ensuring Changing Places investment benefits UK manufacturing with the subsequent employment this brings, as well as giving opportunities to Building Heroes’ highly trained labour force. We have been manufacturing Changing Places equipment since 2001 and are already the UK’s leading provider of Changing Places equipment, having installed Changing Places in a wide range of locations from the Tower of London to Manchester United Football Club. We have the upmost confidence in the Building Heroes graduates to install our safety critical equipment”.
Changing Places campaigners Need2Change said:
“As parents of children and young adults with complex disabilities who need Changing Places toilets, we are delighted to see the building of more Changing Places in our communities. They make such a difference to disabled people, their friends, families, carers and companions. It means disabled people and families, such as ours, can spend quality time out of our homes and participate in everyday life, just like everyone else.”
Changing Places Toilets have more room than a standard accessible toilet, with specialist equipment such as an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist system. The new £30 million Changing Places Fund will see the government match fund the costs of installing Changing Places facilities in existing buildings. Employing Military Veterans to install these is an exciting opportunity. This will mean more disabled people can go out, shop, and socialise without worrying about a lack of facilities, which is part of the government’s drive to level up opportunity for everyone across the country.
Astor Bannerman recenty installed a Changing Places toilet at RAF Museum Cosford
Standard accessible toilets do not always meet the needs of all people with a disability. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably. According to the Changing Places Consortium, over 250,000 people in the UK have been estimated to need Changing Places Toilet facilities, but there are only just over 1,600 across the UK.
ABOUT ASTOR BANNERMAN
Astor Bannerman offer the full range of products specified by Changing Places regulations, including fixed and mobile changing tables, hoists, height adjustable washbasins, toilets and accessories. They are always developing new products, and are proud to have developed the Astor Invincible, the first changing table designed specifically for Changing Places toilets.
The team at Aveso are passionate about Changing Places toilets. They have supported the official Changing Places campaign since 2013, and can provide free, expert advice on all aspects of the Changing Places planning and design process.