Changing Places: Mo Mowlam Play Park

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Jemma Dolan Jemma Dolan Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 14th December 2020

T5. Ms Dolan asked the Minister of Finance for an update on the availability of Changing Places facilities at the Mo Mowlam play park, given that he will know that it is essential to provide equality of access for all our citizens to basic and essential facilities and that this estate should be an exemplar in doing so. (AQT 835/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

I will do, if I can find it here.

We have been focused on the issue, particularly in recent times, and we have had an opportunity to engage with those who are affected. We will bring forward provision by amending the local building regulations as quickly as possible. It is proposed that a requirement will be introduced by amending the technical guidance to the building regulations rather than by changing the regulations, mirroring the approach that has been taken by Administrations in Britain. As she referenced, work is also progressing to install a Changing Places toilet on the Stormont estate at the Mo Mowlam play park, and that is due for completion by early 2021.

Photo of Jemma Dolan Jemma Dolan Sinn Féin

Thank you, Minister. Will you join me in encouraging other venues to take similar steps to increase accessibility through the provision of those types of essential facilities?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Yes, I certainly will, and that is why we want to move as quickly as possible with the legislation. Members may have engaged with parents who have had to use changing facilities and toilet facilities that are not adapted to suit the particular needs of young people and children who need to use them. It is a heart-wrenching experience for them to have to change children on toilet floors. There is a requirement to provide those facilities. The work at the play park down the hill will perhaps be completed ahead of the regulations going through, so we are taking the lead on that, and I hope that other services and other public bodies will follow suit.