Changing Places toilets are larger than a standard disabled toilet and include a height-adjustable bench, a hoist and room for a wheelchair and up two carers.

Arsenal fan and Mencap Campaigns Assistant Leroy Binns who has a learning disability officially opened the facility alongside journalist and presenter and fellow Arsenal fan Alex Brooker, who is best known for his work with Channel 4 and its coverage of the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.

The Changing Places facility is just one of a number of continued investments the Club makes for its disabled supporters and forms an important part of Arsenal’s equality and diversity campaign, ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ which strives to ensure supporters, staff and everyone connected to Arsenal Football Club feels an equal sense of belonging.

Leroy Binns, Changing Places Champion said:

I have campaigned for a Premier League football club to install a Changing Places toilet for years. Many people with a disability who are huge football fans can’t watch their favourite teams at their ground as the toilets are not suitable for them.”

I am delighted my club Arsenal are first in the Premier League – in installing the toilet, which will make the ground far more accessible to fans with a disability. I hope other Premiership teams follow and realise the importance of stadiums having equal access to fans with a disability.

Alun Francis, Arsenal Disability Liaison Officer, said:

We are all incredibly proud to be the first Premier League stadium to install a Changing Places toilet. Arsenal values everyone connected to the Club and we want all visitors to the Emirates Stadium to feel like they belong here and enjoy an equal matchday experience without the stress that standard disabled toilets can cause.

The 600th toilet at Emirates Stadium is a huge milestone for the Changing Places campaign, which for the past eight years has called for an increase in the number of fully accessible toilets in public places so that people who need them can enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else. Changing Places toilets have been installed in shopping centres, museums, hospitals, airports and many other public places such as the o2 and Olympic Park and are now being installed across Europe.

Lucy Hemingway of Aveso who specialise in the design and installation of Changing Places toilets said:

As sponsors of the Changing Places Campaign we are proud to manufacture and recommend the equipment for such a valuable and important facility. The Arsenal FC Changing Places toilet will enable thousands of fans to experience and enjoy the game in the knowledge that both themselves and their family/carer can enjoy a stress free day out. This Changing Places facility sets the bar for every Premiership club.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5560 or media@mencap.org.uk.

For more information on Arsenal for Everyone, please contact Kate Laurens Senior PR and Communications Manager on 020 7704 4010 or email: communications@arsenal.co.uk

Notes to editors

Changing Places Toilets

  1. 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 BS800: 2009. These toilets should be provided in addition to standard accessible toilets.
  2. Research commissioned by Mencap highlights that 230,000 people in the UK need assistance to toilet and/or change continence pads.  Users include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and people with a range of other disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, some older people and other specific disabilities.  Our estimation of up to a quarter of a million users will increase in the future. For some groups the prevalence of individuals will increase, e.g. people with intellectual disabilities and people of advanced age, increasing the need for and relevance of Changing Places toilets.
  3. The Changing Places consortium comprises Mencap, PAMIS, Centre for Accessible Environments, Nottingham City Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council,  and the Scottish Government. The ‘Changing Places Changing Lives’ campaign supports the rights of people with profound and multiple learning, 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, ChangingPlaces@mencap.org.uk, for Scotland email, pamischangingplaces@dundee.ac.uk
  4. There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.  They are also one of the largest service providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.  People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about Mencap’s services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk. For information and advice on Changing Places email: ChangingPlaces@mencap.org.uk
  5. PAMIS is a registered charity that supports people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families across Scotland. PAMIS is the only UK organisation that works solely with people with Profound and multiple learning disabilities.  They provide a range of services and projects including an information and library service and campaigns for equity in services for people with profound and complex disabilities.  To find out more about PAMIS services visit their website www.pamis.org.uk or contact them on01382 385 154. PAMIS is a founder member of the Changing Places Consortium and campaigns for the provision of Changing Places facilities across Scotland and elsewhere. For information and advice on Changing Places in Scotland email: pamischangingplaces@dundee.ac.uk
  6. Aveso Ltd, is a joint venture between OpeMed (www.opemed.net) and Astor Bannerman (www.astorbannerman,co.uk) specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of Changing Places Toilets. For more information on the official sponsor Aveso, please email info@aveso.co.uk

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. They are also one of the largest service providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

 People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about Mencap’s services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk.

For information and advice on Changing Places email: ChangingPlaces@mencap.org.uk.