‘Total’ approach helps deliver excellence in meeting changing needs

An inclusive approach to ‘good practice’ aimed at fulfilling a mission of meeting people’s ever changing needs by getting more people more active more often is being trialed in Manchester.

Trafford Community Leisure Trust, which operates all the major leisure facilities in the city conurbation, has invested in a ‘Changing Places’ toilet at its Inclusive Fitness Initiative approved George Carnall Leisure Centre, to enhance the overall ‘experience’ of visiting the centre for all.

Larger than a conventional ‘accessible toilet’, the ‘Changing Places’ room also includes additional equipment of a height adjustable changing bench and ceiling hoist to enable anyone who needs the help of at least one carer to go to the toilet with dignity, in an appropriate, hygienic and clean environment. It has been designed and supplied by Sale’s Total Hygiene (sponsor of the Changing Places Changing Lives campaign which developed the ‘Changing Places’ toilet concept) and installed by Greater Manchester-based Acorn Building Services.

Under British Standard BS8300:2009 Inclusive Building Design, inclusion of a ‘Changing Places’ toilet is recommended as good practice in all buildings to which numbers of the public have access. The ‘Changing Places’ toilet means many of the centre’s users, which include adults and children with a learning disability, and people with complex needs, can now fully enjoy the facilities, and spend longer there without worrying if there are suitable toilets, and benefit from potential new services including rebound therapy.

Funded through the Aiming High central government programme to help disabled children, young people and their families to get the support and chances they need to live ordinary lives, the ‘Changing Places’ toilet will be assessed by the Trust to make best use of the facility and determine whether to introduce similar facilities at its other Centres.

Jonathan Francis, George Carnall Leisure Centre Manager, explained,

The Trust is all about ‘more people more active more often’ and reinvests any profit back into its provision of excellent customer care to meet people’s changing needs. George Carnall Leisure Centre is an IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) centre attracting many customers with complex needs.
We felt a ‘Changing Places’ toilet would offer a first class service to these users and enhance the overall experience of the centre. As part of that philosophy, we have deliberately sited it between the conventional male and female changing facilities as we wanted users of the inclusive change to feel they were treated exactly the same as anyone else.

The George Carnall Leisure Centre’s ‘Changing Places’ toilet is latest to be completed, bringing the total across the UK to over 240, in locations as diverse as car parks, airports, shopping centres and leisure venues.