PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID BEING CAUGHT SHORT...
Local councils, shopping centre, tourist attractions are urged to act first to avoid being in breach of equality laws.
Tony Clough, leading disability campaigner, is clarifying the legalities re provision of Changing Places assisted accessible toilets in locations to which the public have access.
"You wouldn't change a baby on the floor of a public loo. All we want is the same dignity, hygiene and respect for children and adults who need a carer to help them toilet. Otherwise we have to lie our loved one on the toilet floor, " says Tony.
"There is a misconception that Changing Places are only for major venues, tourist attractions. They are needed more widely-spread. They are as important - if not more so in shopping centres, town centres - the places where we visit regularly - or rather, cannot go to, because there are no suitable toilets!"
Under latest Building Regulations, Changing Places the "bigger the better" wheelchair accessible toilets are 'desirable'; under the Equality Act, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act, providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the built environment to avoid situations where a disabled person would be at a 'substantial' disadvantage, BEFORE the person experiences difficulties. Potentially, up to 3 million people in Britain would use Changing Places toilets.
"To me, lying on a toilet floor is a substantial disadvantage," adds Tony. "Giving a bit ,more space and providing a couple of pieces of equipment is not an unreasonable request."
Clos-o-Mat is the UK's leading provider of disabled toilet solutions in and out of home (including Changing Places), reinforces Tony's point from a practical, facilities management aspect. Says Clos-o-Mat Changing Places project manager Kelvin Grimes. "We know from feedback at venues we have already installed, that visitor numbers increase, and people stay longer (and therefore spend more) because there are suitable toilets."
To help business and service providers go ahead with installing a Changing Places toilet, Clos-o-Mat has a raft of advisory white papers, plus technical and support material including CAD blocks, typical layouts and specifications available for free on its website www.clos-o.mat.com