Works underway to create Changing Places facilities in Stradbroke

Works to create fully accessible toilet facilities have started at a council-run leisure centre, as part of work across Babergh and Mid Suffolk to improve facilities for those with additional needs

Stradbroke Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre, in Stradbroke, near Eye, is set to benefit from new larger accessible facilities, featuring specialist equipment such as hoists, privacy screens and adult-sized changing benches, as well as including ample space for carers.

The construction works are due to be completed by 31 March 2024. 

The £62k construction project received funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as well as the Mid Suffolk District Council Community Infrastructure Levy fund.

The project has also received funding directly from Mid Suffolk District Council and Everyone Active who are the operators of the centre. 

Anselm Gurney, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said:

“We are proud to cater for everyone at Stradbroke Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre and the larger accessible facilities will allow us to improve our provision. There is something for people across the community at Stradbroke, no matter what your age, interests or ability.”

Stradbroke Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre is just one of four locations across Babergh and Mid Suffolk to benefit from the addition of fully accessible facilities, with the other projects at varying stages of completion. 

Councillor Tim Weller, cabinet member for environment, culture and wellbeing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“I am really pleased to see the works to create these vital facilities is now underway. We have worked closely with key partners to identify areas in the district that could benefit from these facilities and they go a long way to ensure that our district is as accessible and inclusive as possible.” 

In Mid Suffolk, the Food Museum in Stowmarket will also be home to Changing Places facilities as part of an ongoing project to their new toilet block. 

Jenny Cousins, Director at The Food Museum, said:

“The Changing Places toilet at the Food Museum will be open to Stowmarket shoppers as well to museum visitors during our opening hours and will make a huge difference to people’s experience of visiting the town centre. It’s so important that we provide these facilities to enable everyone to access venues and services equally.”

In Babergh, fully accessible facilities are planned to form part of the new café in Belle Vue Park in Sudbury, while Changing Places toilets at Flatford Mill, managed by the National Trust, are due to open to the public from Friday 8 March. 

Councillor Derek Davis, cabinet member for economic development, at Babergh District Council, said:

“These facilities are much needed.  We want to ensure that areas such as this are accessible for all members of our community to visit and enjoy.  I hope that they make a real difference.” 

Simon Peachy, Flatford Mill Site Manager for the National Trust, said:

“We were really pleased to be able to partner with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council to develop a Changing Places facility at Flatford.  
As an organisation, the National Trust’s aim is to ensure every visitor feels welcome, so this facility will hopefully improve the experience of some of our visitors and perhaps encourage others to visit for the first time.”
Reception at Stradbroke Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre