Changing Places

15 November 2022

Star and Shadow Cinema is a volunteer-run DIY space for Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, and the North East UK.  It is set up as an open-to-join co-operative housed in a building it owns, dedicated to culture coming from and/or programmed by the grass roots – particularly cinema and music. And they’re ready to open the doors to their new Changing Places toilet.

What is a Changing Places toilet?

A Changing Places toilet is more than an accessible toilet or a “disabled” toilet. It is a large room with a changing bench, ceiling track hoist, shower, toilet, and wash basin. It enables people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other disabilities that severely limit mobility, to get to the toilet or have their incontinence pad changed with safety, dignity and comfort.
Standard accessible toilets do not provide this equipment nor is there room to accommodate the carers who assist the disabled person.

The Changing Places toilet room at Star and Shadow

Background to the project:

November 2022 and the Star and Shadow Cinema has reached another important milestone in the ongoing refurbishment of the building it purchased in 2016. Most of the spaces in this large building were opened to the public in May 2018. By then the cinema, music venue and café were ready. Prior to refurbishment, local people were asked what they would like to see in the community owned building. A Changing Places Loo was requested. Without Changing Places toilets, disabled people are put at risk, and families and carers are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor.

That is if the disabled person and their carer leave their own home in the first place. The fact is, due to the lack of these facilities in public places, people needing them will either stay at home, or just travel within a few miles radius of their residence so that they can return home if they need to use a bathroom. Therefore, they are cut off from social and cultural activities.
Knowing this, there was no question that the Star and Shadow would install a Changing Places Toilet in its new building, and it was included in the architect plans from the outset.

For the past four years it ploughed back £15,000 from its own trading activities to pay for the installation. It received a grant for quarter of the total cost. The covid closure delayed progress but they are finally ready to open the doors of this fantastic facility to the public and welcome its users and their carers to socialise in their building with comfort.

Further Information:

Although the numbers are increasing, there are still not enough Changing Places toilets across the country. Providing these toilets in public places would make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people who desperately need these facilities.

Information, including installation specifications and a map of where to find a Changing Places Toilets, can be found on this website Changing Places Toilets


The lit signage outside of the star and Shadow CinemaThe Star and Shadow Cinema is delighted to announce the opening of its Changing Places Toilet to the public and is holding a private event for the Disabled Community to celebrate this milestone.

A ribbon will be cut to officially open the new loo on Friday 25th November, 2022. This is a private ticketed event but if you would like more information, you can contact The Star and Shadow below.

The Opening event will begin at 3pm where people can come and view the new facility.

From 5pm – 6.30pm we will hear from a few local artists about why access is important and what this means for their community. They will also give a short performance of their work.

Among the artists will be Ruth Lyon, a local musician, disability activist, wheelchair user, and band member of Holy Moly and the Crackers.

The event will conclude with an accessible club night geared towards people with learning disabilities finishing at 9.30pm.

Hot food and refreshments will be available throughout the event. If you would like more information about this event

The Star & Shadow Cinema is located in Warwick Street, Newcastle, NE2 1BB.
It is a social space comprising a cinema, gig/club venue, bar, café, library and garden in progress. It is 100% volunteer run.

You can find more information on their website here.

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