1. ITV Report

Shopping centre NI’s first with fully accessible toilets

The new facilities at CastleCourt shopping centre in Belfast.

A Belfast shopping centre has become the first in Northern Ireland with fully accessible toilets.

CastleCourt now caters for people with profound disabilities, with new features including a changing bench and a hoist.

Michaela Hollywood, a Trailblazers Campaign Officer with Muscular Dystrophy UK, said she was “over the moon” with the development.

“It’s the only toilet now that I can use in Belfast city centre – it’s the first shopping centre that I’m going to be able to go to and be able to go to the toilet,” she said.

“And I think people take that for granted.”

Number of people across the UK unable to use standard accessible toilets

Around 250,000 people across the UK are understood to be unable to use standard accessible toilets and just want to be offered the same dignity as everyone else.

CastleCourt centre director Paul McMahon said the new Changing Places facilities were an important part of the centre’s commitment to being accessible to everyone.

“We have listened to feedback from customers and fully understand that standard disabled toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability,” he added.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer this new facility and hope it will have a positive impact on many people with disabilities, their families and carers.”

Campaigners hope that more locations will soon start to provide the fully accessible facilities.

Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Over a quarter-of-a-million people who have severe disabilities are faced with a choice of not going out, or being changed on a toilet floor.

“By building more Changing Places toilets, we can help to tackle the exclusion many disabled people face.”