General retail outlets have been told they could improve their stake in a £249bn if they invest in improving toilet facilities by installing Changing Places.
Closomat is looking to educate retailers across the UK on the benefits of Changing Places ahead of Purple Tuesday, which takes place on 13 November and will see businesses introduce new measures to make shopping more inclusive for disabled customers.
Ahead of the event, Closomat, has claimed that providing appropriate toilets can have a major impact on customer numbers and the customer experience.
Some places, including Bullring Birmingham, have already invested in Closomat’s assisted accessible toilet Changing Places.
Kelvin Grimes, Closomat’s away from home project manager, asked: “How often, when you’re out shopping, do you go to the toilet?
“If you stop for a cup of coffee, a bit to eat, it is highly likely you will use the restroom there. And if you are out for a few hours, you will find somewhere to go. But if you, or someone you are with, is disabled, finding a toilet is a different matter.
“Many need help to transfer to and from the wheelchair. Many need help lifting. And many need changing. None of those tasks can be done in conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets.
“We know, from personal experience and our work with campaigners for assisted accessible toilets – Changing Places – that too often disabled people, and their carers, make a conscious decision not to go somewhere if they believe they won’t be able to find suitable toilets.
“Some 20% of the UK population is registered disabled. Can you afford to exclude 20% of your potential customers?
“And don’t forget, many disabled people need a carer to help them, so you exclude them too. We know too that venues that have provided appropriate toilets report an increase in customer visits.”
Provided in addition to standard wheelchair accessible toilet facilities, a Changing Places is bigger (12m2), and has additional equipment – specifically a ceiling track hoist, adult sized height adjustable changing bench and privacy screen.
Aware that for many outlets, space is at a premium, Closomat and campaigners have together devised a compromise – Space to Change. This features just an additional 5m2 onto a wheelchair accessible toilet to accommodate a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.