A NEW accessible toilet and changing facility has been officially opened to the public at Leigh bus station.

Delivered in partnership with Wigan Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), ‘Changing Places’ provides accessible toilet facilities for people with more severe disabilities who may need equipment such as hoists, as well as space for carers.

The Changing Places toilets partnership estimates that more than a quarter of a million people in the UK need a Changing Places toilet when they are out and about.

The facility was opened by Councillor Keith Cunliffe - deputy leader and cabinet portfolio holder for adult social care at Wigan Council.

He said: “It was a privilege to open this much-needed facility at Leigh Bus Station.

“Historically, Wigan Borough has not had many of these Changing Places toilets, which is why we made it a priority to bid for this funding and invest in providing more of these vital facilities.

“Everyone should be able to travel, visit new places, enjoy the borough’s parks and nature reserves, shop and meet up with family and friends, secure in the knowledge that they can use a safe, suitable and comfortable toilet.

"Most of us take this for granted, but for people with severe disabilities, this is often not the reality.

“I’m really pleased that this facility is now open, and I look forward to seeing more open in our borough in the coming months."

This is the first of a number of Changing Places toilets that are set to be built in the borough over the next year, including at Pennington Flash Visitor Centre, Howe Bridge Leisure Centre and Platt Bridge Community Zone.

These will join existing Changing Places toilets at Wigan Bus Station, Wigan Life Centre, Leigh Sports Village, and the new football hubs at Laithwaite Park and William Fosters.

Howard Hartley, TfGM’s head of asset and facilities management, said: “We are delighted that we can now provide a Changing Places toilet at Leigh bus station.

“As Leigh and the wider borough prepares for the first franchised bus services to start operating there from this weekend, ensuring public transport is fully accessible is a major focus for the Bee Network.

“By providing these facilities we want to encourage more people to choose public transport as a way of getting around the region.”

These facilities are being funded following a successful council bid for funding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.