Herefordshire Council’s recent bid to the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities for Changing Places funding to improve public toilet facilities was successful.

The £287,000 award will allow three new accessible facilities to be developed. One will be installed at the Courtyard theatre in Edgar Street, another at Aspire Living’s community hub in Canal Road. The third, within Maylord Orchards shopping precinct, will complement the new library and learning resource centredue to open in spring 2024.

Changing Places toilets help 10 million people in England and Wales enjoy the day-to-day activities most people take for granted. Their generous size means they can accommodate a height-adjustable changing bench, peninsular toilet and grab rails along with a ceiling hoist that allows wheelchair users to use the facilities in safety and comfort.

The council’s corporate grants team consulted with disability groups across the county to discover their needs. They thank Accessible Herefordshire, Hereford Disability United and the local Mencap team for their invaluable insights provided in time for the council to meet the tight three-week window for applications.

The news comes as a boost, especially for those with multiple learning and other disabilities who struggle to use standard facilities because of their limited mobility.

Construction on the new toilets will begin as soon as possible to ensure they’re ready for people to use no later than April 2024.

Applications were limited to a maximum of three new toilet facilities. Those submitted by the council fulfilled all government’s conditions. Being awarded the full amount applied for makes the £287,000 awarded to Herefordshire the largest allocation made in this round of funding.  

The council would like to hear from other organisations interested in developing similar facilities. This will give us a chance to discuss your plans with you in advance of any new funding bids that become available. Please email:

Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member, commissioning, procurement and assets, says:

“This isn’t just good news for disabled people. This is good news for everyone in Herefordshire. First, it makes Herefordshire more inclusive as we’re effectively saying we welcome more people here. The second point is that it’s an open invitation to the 10 million disabled people in England and Wales, as well as their carers and their families, to come and enjoy, spend time and money in Herefordshire. Our county has always been attractive to most people looking to get away for a break. Having much better facilities will make it attractive to all. This is welcome news in more ways than one.”

Robyn Barratt, marketing and audience development manager at the Courtyard, says:

“The Courtyard has always strived to be as accessible and inclusive as possible and having a suitable changing place for disabled audience members is something that’s been on our wish list for quite some time. We’re thrilled to receive this funding, which will make the world of difference to our customers.”

Ian Harper, service quality director at Aspire, says:

“People who need Changing Places will be able to fully engage in their community with confidence that they will have the facilities to enable them to be out and about without restrictions. It will promote freedom of choice, dignity and privacy for all.

“Aspire Living are very excited to be a part of the Changing Places project in Herefordshire. Changing Places will have an impact not only for the people we support at Aspire, but for the whole community. It is a great opportunity to make our communities more accessible and inclusive and we are looking forward to seeing the work start over the next few months.”

Visit the Changing Places website for more information, including a national database of accessible toilets. Local information is also available at Accessible Herefordshire