Burnley Leisure and Burnley Council are supporting a young disabled man’s national campaign to improve facilities in public places.
The leisure trust and the council is backing 22-year-old Zack Kerr’s campaign by installing a fully accessible Changing Place toilet and changing facility at St Peter’s leisure centre and another at Burnley bus station.
Work on the facilities is underway, and Zack will be invited to open them to the public. The facilities are expected to be ready next month.
The move came about after an approach to Burnley Council by Hyndburn MP Graham Jones on behalf of his constituent Zack, who lives in Accrington.
Zack has appeared on regional TV and in national media after launching his campaign to see Changing Place standard toilets at every UK motorway service station. He launched an online petition which gathered more than 100,000 supporters within a matter of months. Zack delivered his petition to Downing Street in person.
Recently Zack was interviewed by representatives from the Prince’s Trust who are keen to include him in their young people’s programme at their centre in Burnley. They discovered there are no Changing Place facilities in Burnley, and very few in East Lancashire as a whole.
Zack explained: "Standard accessible toilets don’t meet the needs of about 250,000 people in the UK. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people. Changing Place facilities provide the equipment, space and safe and clean environment required above and beyond the usual disabled toilet facilities.”
Scott Bryce, Burnley Leisure’s Area Manager said “Burnley Leisure endeavour to ensure that our facilities are accessible to all of our local community and we were delighted to secure the funding to install the Changing Places facility to St Peter’s Leisure Centre and be part of Zack’s campaign in improving access to facilities. The room will be located within our village changing area with close proximity to our swimming pools and we look forward to seeing Zack soon.”
Councillor Lian Pate, the council’s executive member for community services, said: “The council is fully behind Zack’s campaign to improve facilities for disabled people. Everyone has the right to equal access to public facilities such as their local leisure centre and that they are able to enjoy the same rights as anyone else.
“We wish Zack all the best as he pursues his very worthwhile campaign.”