Do you want a way to increase customer numbers? Head to the toilets…..!
That’s the message from Closomat, Britain’s leading provider of disabled toileting solutions, resulting from feedback from brands such as Alton Towers, JD Wetherspoon.
The brands are among a growing number to use Closomat’s expertise to upgrade their accessible toilets to include more space and greater range of equipment- specifically a hoist, adult-sized changing bench and privacy screen, aka Changing Places, Space to Change.
Alton Towers opened its Changing Places and Space to Change at the start of the 2017 season, and is seeing the facilities used on average 20 times/day, every day. Cornwall Services on the busy A30 trunk road opened its facility a year ago, and is seeing it used on average 10 times/ day, with visitors reporting stopping there specifically because of the toilet.
“We are so pleased with the positive response we continue to have: one of the best projects I think I’ve been involved with in terms of the effect it has directly had on guests,” says Justine Locker, Resort Excellence Manager at Alton Towers.
Alex Lawson, manager at Cornwall Services further comments, “Customers are returning time and time again, and planning trips with a stop scheduled here, because they need these toilet facilities. We’re the only Services in the region, to our knowledge, to have them.”
Adds Rebecca White, manager at JD Wetherspoon’s showcase venue Velvet Coaster, “It’s used daily, definitely worth putting in. Customers tell us they came because they knew we have the Changing Places.”
Under Building Regulations and British Standards, it is desirable in buildings to which the public have access to include, in addition to a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet, a 3m x 4m wheelchair-accessible WC facility with a ceiling track hoist, adult-sized changing bench and privacy screen: a Changing Places toilet.
Conscious that many venues do not have the available space, campaigner and Closomat developed Space to Change, which bridges the gap between a conventional (Document M) type wheelchair-accessible toilet and a full, to specification Changing Places; it utilises a little more space (5.5m2) to include an adult-sized changing bench and hoist in a conventional wheelchair-accessible WC.
Explains Kelvin Grimes, Closomat’s away from home project manager, “A large proportion of people can’t use conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets: they need extra space, they need help, they may need lifting or changing- be it a mum with a youngster with special needs through to someone with a stoma. Or they rely on a carer to help them, and the carer needs help to lift them. Or their carer needs the loo when out and about, so needs the space to accommodate the wheelchair and the screen to give them privacy whilst they ‘go’.
“That’s why there’s such a need for Changing Places in addition to conventional accessible facilities. It’s not just about the wheelchair users who need ALL the equipment. There are potentially millions who only need one, or two, of the additional benefits. Without them, those people either have to cut their visit short, potentially stay in a soiled nappy, or not go out at all.”