Hospitality & Tourism

Published: November 21, 2021 | Updated: November 22, 2021

Hotel is first in UK to install Changing Places toilet after match-funding £70k from council

Lin Sharp of Macmillan Caring Locally cuts the ribbon with James Doughty-Box, Iesha Manns and Rosie Radwell. Picture: Paul Collins/PC Visuals.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A family-owned hotel has become the first in the UK to install a Changing Places toilet specifically designed for a disabled person and up to two carers.

The Marsham Court Changing Places toilet in Bournemouth includes a hoist, an adult size changing bench and a shower.

According to the national Changing Places Consortium, which campaigns for more Changing Places toilets, an estimated 250,000 people – children and adults – in the UK would benefit from the use of a Changing Places toilet.

As of 2020 there were 1,500 in the UK – and just 16 in the whole of Dorset.

The Marsham Court secured a £70,000 grant from BCP Council’s post-covid Bounce Back Fund which it match-funded to create a raft of accessible facilities including the Changing Places toilet, a swimming pool hoist and a sensory room.

Rosie Radwell, whose family have owned the Marsham Court Hotel for over 30 years, said: “We are incredibly proud to be the first hotel in the country to install a Changing Places toilet and we hope many more hotels will now follow our lead.

“Accessibility and the way in which we cater for all our guests – including those who need carers for their personal needs – is vital.

“My mother Jennie Deavin ran the hotel before losing a long battle with cancer.

“Her ever-increasing needs showed us some of the difficulties disabled people face and how this can simply rule out being able to go on holiday.

“This new facility will hopefully change that for many people.

“My mum also received care from Macmillan Caring Locally, the charity which funds the Mac Unit hospice in Christchurch and until recently The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth.

“The hotel was sadly forced into closure during Covid and, therefore, we have named the Changing Places toilet The Grove in its honour.”

Lin Sharp, Fundraising and Communications Director for Macmillan Caring Locally, officially opened The Grove.

She said: “The Marsham Court Hotel have been passionate supporters of Macmillan Caring Locally for many years.

“We are delighted that they have chosen to remember our hotel in naming the new facility ‘The Grove’.

“Sadly, our unique hotel The Grove, catering for those terminally ill, their families and carers, had to be closed due to the pandemic.

“It was a wonderful place, always full of laughter and gave respite and joy to so many.

“We are truly honoured that the name will live on at the Marsham Court.”

Cllr Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy at BCP Council, pictured left, also attended the unveiling.

He said: “We are very pleased to have awarded the Marsham Court the Bounce Back funding, which has helped them make this excellent facility a reality.

“The Changing Places toilet and the hotel’s many other accessible provisions will help to enhance the lives of their most vulnerable and severely disabled visitors and guests, and contribute towards Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live and visit.”

Carl Smith, Changing Places Consultant at Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs Changing Places UK, said: “We’re delighted that the Marsham Court has installed a Changing Places toilet, making it the first hotel in the UK to do so.

“These toilets make a world of difference to the 250,000 people across the UK with severe disabilities who rely on them to use the bathroom safely and with dignity.

“Having access to a toilet that is suitable for your needs as and when you need to, is a basic human right.

“Muscular Dystrophy UK encourages more hotels to install a Changing Places toilet to help tackle the exclusion that disabled people face on a daily basis.”

The Changing Places toilet was supplied and fitted by Astor Bannerman and will receive its finishing touches and be open for use from mid-December.