The news that 191 local authorities in England have been granted funding from central government to install Changing Places facilities, is being widely celebrated by the disabled and caring communities. The £23.5m worth of grants will see the addition of approximately 513 Changing Places toilets (with changing bench and hoist) across the country.
Changing Places Campaigner, Sarah Brisdion, has an 11-year-old disabled son with cerebral palsy who requires physical support when using the toilet. She said: “We are extremely grateful the government is committed to supporting local authorities in their plans to make Changing Places toilets more widely available. What we need to do now though, is help these new facilities come to fruition as quickly as possible and ensure they are the best they can be, so that families like mine can start to benefit from them.”
Claire Haymes, Changing Places Project Manager at Closomat, added: “Whether incorporating a Changing Places into a new build project, or adding one to an existing building, it is so important to choose a contractor with the right knowledge and experience. Following the best practice technical standard of BS8300:2018, not only ensures your facility meets the needs of as many disabled people as possible, but also that a facility can be registered and listed on the Changing Places map. With so few Changing Places still in the UK, knowing where they are available is critical.”
Sarah adds: “You’d be amazed at how many installers make simple mistakes, that result in big problems for end-users. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing that brilliant bench and hoist sign on the door, only to find that what is behind it doesn’t cater for you.
“Some of the most common mistakes include: incorrect positioning of the toilet, changing benches that do not take the required safe working load, hoist systems that do not cover the entire room, small, fixed height, wall-mounted sinks, missing privacy screens, not enough space and unsuitable hand dryers for wheelchair users.
“In addition to the correct equipment, there are many other factors that need to be considered when installing a Changing Places toilet, such as the location of the room in the building, how it is accessed, and the maintenance required to keep it safe. So choosing the right partner for the project is critical.
“I have worked closely with Closomat for many years when advising venues. I know I can trust them completely to provide the most up-to-date guidance and equipment and ensure every Changing Places toilet they install is fully compliant and the best it can be, for both the venue and the people that need them.”
For further information on installing a Changing Places toilet facility contact Claire Haymes at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.changingplaces.co.uk