News & Awards

18th Jan 2024

We’re delighted to announce the opening of two new Changing Places facilities at Tebay Services and Rheged.

In January, we opened two new Changing Places facilities at Tebay Services Northbound and Rheged, with government funding and support from Westmorland and Furness Council and the former Eden District Council.

Over 250,000 people rely on a Changing Places toilet in the UK to enable them to get out and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted. Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability.

Older people (130,000 or nearly half of those that need accessible facilities) and people with profound and multiple learning disabilities need extra space and equipment to ensure that carers and disabled people can travel with dignity.

There are only 1,400 Changing Places toilets in the UK, and the recent introduction of facilities at Tebay Northbound and Rheged completes the ambition to have Changing Places facilities at all its sites.

“Changing Places are more than just a toilet,” said Westmorland Family Operations Director Andy James. “They offer dignity, safety and the opportunity to get out of the house for an hour or two. Knowing you have access to a clean and well-appointed Changing Place helps unlock the potential for life, to get out and enjoy being out, for both carers and those who need them.”

The toilets offer a safe and clean environment and are equipped with a tracking hoist system, a height-adjustable changing bench, a toilet with enough space to allow two carers and a screen for privacy.

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: “I’m very proud that we have helped bring these vital facilities to two of Eden’s most visited and accessible destinations. They’ll give disabled people, their families and friends increased confidence to travel and explore our fantastic landscape and attractions.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Councillor Mary Robinson and the former Eden District Council, whose Invest in Eden Fund gave £10,000 each to Rheged and Tebay Northbound. Members, officers and businesses in the Eden Tourism Network all felt passionately that everyone should have the freedom to plan journeys, holidays and days out – it’s not right that places should be off-limits to some people because of a lack of suitable toilets nearby or en route.

“The Inspiring Eden team’s vision and hard work laid the foundation for Westmorland and Furness Council’s successful bid to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Changing Places Fund, in association with Muscular Dystrophy UK, which awarded £50,000 to Rheged and £50,000 to Tebay Northbound, with Westmorland funding the remaining investment of £70,000.”

“These Changing Places toilets – together with the existing one at Tebay Southbound on the M6 – will enable disabled people to enjoy their time in our beautiful area with dignity. They send out the message that everyone is welcome here for a day out or a holiday.”

The newly installed Tebay North Changing Place is located directly behind the Filling Station, and Rheged’s facility is located inside the Filling Station, enabling motorists at both locations to drive and park near the facilities.