One of University of Cambridge Colleges, which claims to be one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world- is proving its point as far as student inclusivity is concerned…

Churchill College has further adapted one of its student houses to accommodate the specific requirements of a new Ph.D student. But the adaptation has been executed in such a way to maximise its suitability for other, future students. Central to the adaptation is installation of a Closomat Palma Vita automatic wash and dry toilet and washbasin that can be adjusted both in height and its position left and right along the wall.

Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Closomat Palma Vita has in-built washing and drying. After toileting, hand or body pressure on the flush pad, or touch-sensitive switch triggers simultaneous flushing and douching, followed by warm air drying. The douche process ensures the user is effectively cleaned, to a consistent high standard, with no need for manual cleansing, hand:body contact with toilet tissue by either the user or a carer; the warm air ensures the user is properly dry afterwards.

The washbasin is manually height adjustable, set on occupation to the student’s preferred height. It is mounted on a horizontal rail that allows its movement left and right as needed. Thus, should future students rely on a carer, the basin can be moved to facilitate access and manoeuvrability as required.

“With one of the largest college sites in Cambridge, a diverse student population, and a track record of excellence – our alumni include 29 Nobel prize winners- Churchill College is one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world,” explained Shelley Surtees, Domestic and Conference bursar, Churchill College.

“Experience tells that that people with disabilities, much like those without, have varying needs, and we treat people as individuals. Space is limited in the bathroom. The Closomat is something the student is currently using, enabling her to go to the lavatory and be properly clean afterwards with no help; the optimum adjustability of the sink will be useful for this student, and those in the future, who may need the basin in a different position.”

Since Closomats were first introduced in the 1960s, over 40,000 have been sold, and can now be found in domestic and commercial environments across the country – there is even one on a narrowboat, and several on the Jubilee Trust’s tall ships!