Equipment specialist OpeMed has played a crucial role in Tesco’s recent Changing Places rollout, which saw 35 of the special facilities installed across its stores.
Tesco has contracted firms to fit Changing Places, which are special toilets and changing areas for people with complex disabilities, across stores over the last 18 months.
The toilets offer a larger area and specialist equipment such as hoists, privacy screen and a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench.
The 35 new toilets are in addition to 4 existing facilities in the Milton Keynes Kingston Extra, Calne Superstore, Slough Extra and Stourbridge Extra stores.
Aveso, which sponsors the Changing Places initiative and equipment supplier OpeMed, have both supported the programme financially and practically from the beginning.
Tesco is the second major retailer to pledge to build more Changing Places toilets. In 2017, IKEA committed to providing Changing Places facilities in all new stores, and to upgrade accessible facilities in selected existing stores.
Nick Kent, managing director of OpeMed and co-founder of Aveso, said: “The commitment by Tesco to install so many Changing Places toilets significantly moves the goalposts for these vital facilities in the retail sector.
“Aveso and OpeMed are proud to have taken part and supported this rollout programme over the last 18 months and look forward to the next phase over the coming year.
“I have personally learnt that a project of this size can have its challenges, and I would like to thank the team at Tesco and Harvey Shopfitters for pushing the boundaries in the last year to achieve this rollout.”
The government recently said that it could be made compulsory for large new public buildings, such as supermarkets and shopping centres, to install Changing Places facilities.
If the plans go ahead it could lead to a surge in demand for hundreds of new facilities to be supplied and installed by the mobility equipment industry.
The government also said it would provide £2m to Changing Places toilets in NHS hospitals – the same amount that is being plugged into Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations.
Rob Burley, director of campaigns, care and support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Having access to Changing Places toilets gives disabled people greater independence, and we are delighted that Tesco has committed to installing more than 30 facilities in the UK this year.
“Having the support of such a high-profile retailer is an encouraging step forward in our campaign and we hope other retailers and venues will follow suit.”