People in the West Midlands wanting to improve their health and fitness can benefit from new, state-of-the-art facilities that deliver optimum accessibility in all aspects.

University of Birmingham’s £55m sports club, Sport & Fitness, has, from the outset, been developed as a world-class venue for everyone, Birmingham Sports & Fitness including students, staff, alumni, and the community, from elite athletes to people with disabilities, injuries or other specific access requirements.

Substantial effort has been made to ensure all facilities are as accessible as possible, explained Simon Walton Project Manager for Interserve Construction, builder of University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness. The swimming pool has a hoist and moveable steps, the gym includes 25 pieces of inclusive equipment, even the toilet facilities should accommodate most people’s requirements!

University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness therefore features two, fully-accessible hygiene rooms, each giving plenty of space for a wheelchair user and up to two carers, and equipped, by Closomat on behalf of Interserve, with a Palma Vita wash & dry toilet, ceiling track hoist and adult-sized height adjustable changing bench. One is on the ground floor in the swimming pool changing area, the other on the second floor, which can be reached by lift, near to the gym.

Adds Kelvin Grimes, Closomat’s ‘away from home toilet’ project manager,

About 1million people in the West Midlands have an activity limiting problem or disability(1). Without an adult-sized changing bench, hoist, wash and dry toilet, thousands of people in the region who need that extra equipment couldn’t spend any length of time away from home, in case they needed toilet facilities.

(1) Office for National Statistics Disability in England

Editor note: ‘conventional’ wheelchair accessible toilets are too small, or do not have the equipment for potentially up to 14million people who need help from at least one carer, and/or to be lifted and changed. They include up to:

  • 1.5m wheelchair users
  • 6.5 million people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence
  • 1.5million people with a learning disability
  • 1.2million people living with stroke
  • 62,000 amputees
  • 30,000 people with cerebral palsy
  • 13,000 people with acquired brain injuries
  • 8,500 people with multiple sclerosis
  • 5,000 people with motor neurone disease
  • 8,000 people with spina bifida
  • 120,000 people with a stoma
  • 3.8million adults morbidly obese
  • 8.7million people with osteoarthritis
  • 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis