Council adopts innavative approach to delivering accessibility for all

A ‘ONE STOP SHOP’ to improve access to Council services is ensuring suitability for, and usability by, all town residents by inclusion of innovative facilities…

Hull City Council is executing a programme of cost-cutting, whilst optimising steps to minimise impact on services. As a result, it has redeveloped existing buildings to create the new Wilson Centre (named after the famous local shipping company), bringing more than 130 Council services under one roof. And to optimise accessibility for as many residents as possible, the Centre includes a ‘Changing Places’ toilet, supplied by Total Hygiene Ltd.

The toilet is a speciallyequipped facility for use by people who need the help of at least one carer. Larger than a conventional accessible toilet, it includes a height adjustable changing bench, and ceiling hoist. In addition to the standard equipment, the Wilson Centre’s toilet also incorporates a Closomat ‘wash and dry’ toilet with support arms, which, with its integral douche and drier, eliminates the need to manually wipe clean after toileting. As a result, people who need the help of at least one carer can ‘go to the toilet’ in a suitable, hygienic environment, and with as much dignity and independence as possible.

Councillor Mike Ross, Portfolio Holder for Customer & Neighbourhood Services, explains,

The new Customer Service Centre is part of a wider buildings rationalisation programme, reducing the number of buildings we use by over a third. This will reduce leases and associated operating costs meaning longer term savings. However, we wanted to compromise as little as possible on the quality of service we provide; it’s all about putting the customer first and bringing services together so we can resolve people’s queries as quickly as possible, in one visit.
Alongside that, we acknowledge that people do need to go to the toilet when away from home. We have a duty to provide toilet facilities within any public building, and felt it ‘best practice’ under latest British Standards to include a ‘Changing Places’ facility, with a Closomat as part of that, so we can enable as many people as possible to live a ‘normal’ life and use our facilities.

‘Changing Places’ toilets have been developed by the Changing Places Changing Lives consortium, to enable people with a disability to ‘go to the toilet’ in a clean and safe environment when out. Research shows that thousands of people feel trapped in their own homes by lack of appropriate toilets in public locations. To date, the campaign – sponsored by Total Hygiene (Closomat) – has seen over 240 ‘Changing Places’ toilets installed across the UK.