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If you take five minutes to ‘join the dots’ between a raft of stories hitting the headlines at the start of the year, the result is you’ll look to extending equipment in toilet provision.

paignton cpFirst, Parliament had a further debate on the Toilets (Provision & Accessibility) Bill; if it becomes law, there will be a legal requirement for certain buildings to provide assisted, accessible toilets- aka Changing Places- which include an adult sized changing bench and ceiling track hoist alongside the usual fixtures.

Secondly, and not seemingly connected, the growing incidence of obesity has been in the news, particularly that is should be recognised as a disease. With obesity, the focus the headlines focus on ways of reducing it; rarely, if ever, are the issues of daily living discussed. If you are a larger person, you may struggle to manoeuvre yourself over a WC; certainly, if you rely on a carer for that or any other reason, moving you is even more of an issue, in terms of both weight and bulk.

A hoist makes it easier, and safer, in both scenarios.

But, why, you may ask, should you bother to spend money on such kit?

The ‘purple £’ as the disability market is known is worth almost £250billion pa. Currently, 20% of the UK population is registered disabled. More than 1million people in the UK use a wheelchair. Latest statistics put 26% of the UK population as obese. So it’s a big market sector that potentially may be excluded because they can’t use the WC at your venue.

A ceiling track hoist takes up no extra space, so there is no loss in revenue area. Indeed, the enhanced facilities will most likely attract new customers, visitors! A survey we conducted recently highlighted that for 23% of people who needed additional support when accessing toilets away from home, a hoist was the major requirement. Put yourself in the shoes of anyone caring for a person bigger than a toddler who is in a wheelchair: you try lifting them from the wheelchair and helping them onto a WC, supporting them to deal with clothing, perhaps wiping them clean.

How much easier- and safer- would a hoist make that? It’s a comparatively small alteration for you to make, that has a massive impact on people’s ability to access, and use, your venue, that, if publicised, will very quickly pay for itself.

If the Bill becomes an Act, it may very well be something you will be obliged to do, so be proactive….