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Exeter Cathedral to Improve Accessibility with New ‘Changing Places’ Facility

Exeter Cathedral is to install a new Changing Places facility as part of a drive to make the landmark heritage building accessible for everyone.

Supported with funding from Benefact Trust, the new accessible toilet facility will provide changing and toilet facilities with specialist equipment, to assist families and carers of people with multiple learning or physical needs. Benefact Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making trusts, and supports charities, churches and communities, in ways that make a positive difference to people’s lives. The Trust’s Senior Grants and Operations Officer, Paul Playford, said he is delighted to be supporting the project at Exeter: 

“It is a privilege to support Exeter Cathedral in its mission to improve accessibility. Many people with complex disabilities can’t visit cathedrals, churches, and general visitor attractions because of a lack of fully accessible facilities. The Changing Places toilet alongside other accessible facilities will mean that everyone has the opportunity to appreciate this incredible, heritage landmark.”

The improvements are part of Exeter Cathedral’s 2020s Development Appeal Project, which includes essential building conservation and improvements, designed to enhance the visitor experience and to secure a more sustainable future for the cathedral, which dates back to the early 12th century.

For The Very Revd Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter, improving the accessibility of the cathedral is crucial to making sure the building is a welcoming place for everyone:

“Our new facilities will enable more people to visit this wonderful historic building regardless of their access needs. Our ambitious Development Project will ensure that this precious piece of Devon continues to inspire and meet the needs of all the people of Devon for the 21st century.”

It is expected that the cathedral’s new Changing Places facility will open next year.

Exeter Cathedral’s new ‘Cloister Gallery’ will connect the cathedral with its 13th century Chapter House and Pearson buildings. Image by Acanthus Clews Architects & Marvin Chik

Other improvements underway as part of the Exeter Cathedral 2020s Development Appeal include the construction of a new ‘Cloister Gallery’ to connect to the cathedral with its 13th century Chapter House and Pearson buildings. Essential conservation work has also been carried out in the Quire of the cathedral, including the installation of a more efficient underfloor heating system to make the area a more comfortable place for services, community gatherings and events, while also helping to reduce the cathedral’s carbon footprint.

Exeter Cathedral’s 2020s Development Appeal aims to raise £10 million, and has already received £6.2 million, including a grant of £30,000 from Benefact Trust and a £4.3 million grant received in 2022 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

As well as improvements and conservation work, the funds will be used to support a calendar of community activities and events, designed make the ancient Devon landmark more engaging for a wider range of people.

Find out more about the Exeter Cathedral 2020s Development Appeal >