Dundrum Town Centre has become the first shopping centre in Ireland to register a Changing Places facility.
This is following a €120,000 investment and the official opening of the new, fully accessible toilets.
The new facility is different to standard accessible toilets and designed to enhance the health, safety, comfort and dignity of someone who may need extra support and additional equipment during personal care tasks, as well as offering added safety and support features for assistants.
It includes a ceiling track hoist system, a height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a privacy screen, a centrally located toilet with adequate space on both sides for the user and two assistants, wide paper roll, a large waste disposal bin and a washbasin.
Don Nugent, general manager of Dundrum Town Centre said: “In 2017 Ann Healy got in touch with us to discuss opening a Changing Places toilet at Dundrum as part of her campaign to introduce these facilitates in more public places throughout Ireland.
“We are pleased to confirm that Dundrum’s Changing Places facility is now open and we hope it will make it easier for those who cannot use standard accessible toilets to plan a day out.”
Changing Places campaigner Ann Healy said: “Standard accessible toilets don’t meet the needs of many people with disabilities.
“Without a Changing Places toilet facility we can’t go far and are excluded from everyday life. My daughter, Ailis, needs a hoist to get from her wheelchair to the toilet – others need access to a changing bench. Changing Places makes planning a day out possible for families like ours.”
The centre also runs a Shopmobility service that provides a range of motorised and manual wheelchairs that can be hired free of charge, alongside accessible parking spaces, making Dundrum Town Centre Ireland’s most accessible shopping destination.