An innovative project designed by, and for, young people in Halifax has taken steps to ensure it is accessible to all – by including a state-of-the art toilet!

The £3.9m Orangebox partnership development will provide counselling and support services for the borough’s 20,000 young people, alongside dance, drama, sport facilities, a recording studio, café and roof stop skate park. To make sure all the area’s youth, regardless of ability, can benefit from the Centre, a Changing Places toilet has also been incorporated, by the café.

Larger than a conventional ‘disabled toilet’, the Changing Places facility incorporates a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, height adjustable washbasin, hoist and, at Orangebox, a Closomat Palma Vita ‘wash and dry’ (automatic) toilet, all supplied and installed by Closomatt.

Orangebox access consultant Alison Grant explained, “Over four years, we consulted with more than 1000 young people, asking them what they would like, and that extended through to youngsters with disabilities, and what specific equipment would enable them to access Orangebox.

“A Changing Places facility was one of the things they asked for, and specifically with a Closomat: the features of the toilet mean they can use it without help from their carer, enhancing their independence- one of the key aims of Orangebox! As Closomat manufactures the Palma Vita, and supplies all the fixtures needed for a Changing Places toilet, it made sense to use one source to supply, install and commission all the equipment.

A Changing Places toilet is now ‘good practice’ under BS8300:2009 for all new build and refurbishment projects involving buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Many venues installing the special toilets are also adding a Closomat Palma Vita in place of a peninsular toilet. Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Closomat Palma Vita features integral automatic douching and drying, eliminating the need to manually cleanse with toilet tissue, improving hygiene, dignity and independence for the user and their carer.

Closomat has a proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Closomat wash and dry (automatic) toilet, means it is uniquely positioned to simplify the whole process for forward-thinking environments to which the public have access.