Closomat recently installed a fully accessible Changing Places facility in a deal with shopping centre provider, intu, at its Merry Hill site near Birmingham.
intu Merry Hill’s facility is even bigger than the British Standard requirement of 3m x 4m. It has all the fixtures specified in standard Changing Place compliance – including a WC, height adjustable wash basin, ceiling track hoist, adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, a shower, height adjustable shower seat and a privacy screen.
Without such toilets, potentially up to 14million people across the UK who need support either cannot visit a location, have to curtail their trip before they need the toilet, or face remaining in a soiled condition unless they are changed on the floor, the company said.
The Changing Places, on the Upper Level near the food court, compliments other accessible toilets strategically positioned around the mall; it is accessible whenever the centre is open, via RADAR key.
The Changing Places facility was officially opened by Neil Davies, chairman at Dudley Voices for Choice, alongside member Sharon Davies, and project worker Claire Allen. Dudley Voices for Choice is a user-led charitable organisation, based in Dudley, that supports people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom will benefit from the Changing Places facility.
Mr Davies said: “The new Changing Places in intu Merry Hill is a welcome addition to the centre, and now people with disabilities can come along and spend the day here knowing that all of their needs can be met in one place.”
Meanwhile, Naomi Campbell, community development manager at intu Merry Hill, said: “We want to ensure that we make intu Merry Hill as accessible and inclusive as we can. This important new space will ensure that customers who need access to a Changing Places facility can enjoy a safe and comfortable shopping experience whilst visiting intu Merry Hill. It’s one of several measures which we are introducing, including training our staff, to provide welcoming experiences for all.”
Under Building Regulations and British Standards, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, 1000 have been opened across the UK.