A new accessible Changing Places toilet has opened at Locomotion in Shildon, improving access and inclusion for all visitors.
Visitors to the museum—which is undergoing a multi-million-pound programme of investment—will now be able to access a new Changing Places facility, equipped with a hoist, changing bench and a peninsular toilet, in the museum’s Main Hall.
Funded by a grant from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities with support from Durham County Council and Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), the museum converted a storeroom to make way for the accessible toilet.
The new Changing Places toilet is part of a multi-million-pound programme of investment that will completely transform the museum with a new building and improvements across the site. Currently under construction, New Hall, which will open in the spring, will be a new 2000 sq metre building that will house up to 50 additional rail vehicles, creating the largest museum collection of rail vehicles in Europe.
Commenting on the new accessible Changing Places toilet, Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion said:
“We are delighted that a new Changing Places toilet has been installed in Locomotion’s Main Hall. As the museum undergoes significant investment and improvement, it’s important that we ensure our spaces are open and accessible for everyone. Thanks to funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities and support from Durham County Council and MDUK, this new accessible facility means that even more visitors can come and enjoy the museum.”
Cllr Alan Shield, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: “I am delighted that we were able to support Locomotion in opening its new Changing Places Toilet facility. We now have 13 Changing Places Toilets across the county with many more opening in the coming year.
“Changing Places toilets meet the needs of at least 250,000 people in the UK who are unable to use standard accessible toilets. The additional space and equipment enables everyone to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted.”
Locomotion, which is part of the Science Museum Group, is committed to being open for all and creating spaces that are open and accessible for everyone. Across the group of museums, there are now Changing Places toilets at four out of the five sites, with future plans to open one at the National Railway Museum in York.
Visitors to Locomotion can currently get up close to more than 70 legendary locomotives from across the history of rail and engineering and follow trails around the site to find important landmarks and learn about the world's first railway town. The museum is currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00-16.00, and entry is free.
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The new Changing Places facility has been grant funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities with help from Durham County Council and MDUK.
About Locomotion in Shildon
- Locomotion offers visitors the chance to see highlights of the national collection of railway vehicles in Shildon – the world’s first railway town
- Locomotion forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in York
- Locomotion is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, which is a major funder of the museum
- New Hall at Locomotion is scheduled to open in 2024 and will feature 50 rail vehicles from the national collection. Admission to Locomotion is free – visit www.locomotion.org.uk