sccSUNDERLAND’S SEAFRONT is there for everyone to enjoy, whatever their mobility or access needs.

That’s the message to everyone with the opening of two specialist rest rooms on Roker and Seaburn promenades, grant funded by Sunderland City Council as part of the £10m seafront regeneration programme.

The first of two units designed for people with complex needs with their carers to use, was opened today at Seaburn on the tenth anniversary of the national ‘Changing Places’ campaign.

Provided by Sunderland City Council as part of the re-development of former Seaburn seating shelter, it was opened by Cabinet Secretary for Sunderland City Council, Councillor Mel Speding joined by members of  disability advocacy Community Interest Company – Sunderland People First, the Disability Independence Advisory Group (DIAG) and people who use services in Sunderland.

Councillor Speding said: “We are committed to providing access to all our public building and open spaces for everyone whatever their personal mobility or care demands might be, and these new facilities will provide people with complex disabilities and their carers with the opportunities we all take for granted and enjoy a visit to the seafront.

“Providing equal access was integral to our seafront regeneration plans, and I hope working with Changing Places and our health and social care partners in the community we are achieving that.”

Each specialist toilet and changing facility includes;

–              Height adjustable changing bench

–              Ceiling hoist

–              Peninsular toilet with space on both sides for carers

–              Wheelchair access

–              Privacy screens

‘Changing Places’ was established in 2006 with the help of the Department of Health and includes charities, Centre for Accessible Environments and local authorities who want to add to the 840 Changing Places toilets in place nationally at venues like the O2 Arena, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, the Eden Project  and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Sharon Bell, director of CIC (Community Interest Company) Sunderland People First which represents and supports people with learning disabilities and autism, said: “Changing places are so important to people with complex needs because it means that people can enjoy their community like everyone else.
“We are so pleased that the number of changing places is growing across Sunderland.

“Changing Places enables carers to enjoy significant meaningful leisure time with their loved ones in the local community, we are delighted about the developments in Sunderland to support that.”