Growing speed of change…!

The opening of the new Museum of Liverpool is a landmark in more ways than one- not only is it the largest newly-built museum in Britain for more than a century, but it also houses the 300th Changing Places toilet to be installed in the UK. Further, it demonstrates the growing pace of acceptance of the need for the specialist accessible toilets: the 250th was only opened four months prior.

Larger than a conventional accessible toilet, a Changing Places toilet includes additional equipment to enable people with profound and/or multiple disabilities, and those who need the help of at least one carer, to enjoy day-to-day activities, knowing there are appropriate facilities to undertake basic personal hygiene.

Beverley Dawkins, co-chair of the Changing Places Consortium says, “Families and carers of someone with a disability will often avoid visiting public places if they know there are not appropriate facilities for them to spend the whole day out. Installing a Changing Places toilet enables a person who needs at least one carer to spend a whole day out rather than limiting it to a couple of hours, with the peace of mind that they will not be forced to change on a dirty toilet floor.

“The speed with which Changing Places toilets have grown throughout the UK has been incredibly encouraging. It shows there is not just a need, but a demand for fully accessible toilets in public places. Furthermore, feedback to the campaign has revealed that providing a Changing Places toilet has a significant impact on the quality of life of someone with a disability.”

Adds Robin Tuffley,  marketing manager for Total Hygiene, which sponsors the Changing Places campaign, “There are 13m people registered disabled in the UK; figures from VisitEngland maintain people with a disability spend some £2b a year on overnight trips alone.  A Changing Places toilet potentially opens the door to them spending more time enjoying activities able-bodied people take for granted- for example going shopping, a trip to the zoo, museum or leisure centre, knowing they can go to the toilet in appropriate surroundings.”

Under BS8300:2009 code of practice for design of buildings & their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people, it is designated ‘good practice’ to install a Changing Places facility in any new build or refurbishment of a building to which numbers of the public have access.
A Changing Places toilet is not only larger than a Building Regulation Approved Document M accessible toilet, but includes as standard a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist, a peninsular toilet with room either side for the carers, a screen or curtain to allow the disabled person and carer some privacy, wide tear off paper roll to cover the bench, a large waste bin for disposable pads, a non-slip floor and a washbasin. Full details of Changing Places specification can be found on www.changing-places.org and www.clos-o-mat.com.

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