CHANGING THE OPTIONS FOR ACCESSIBLE TOILETS
Making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the built environment to ensure compliance with the Equality Act is being made easier with the launch of a new solution for ‘away from home’ accessible toilets.
Space To Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places+ toilets.
The concept enables venues that are limited financially and/or on space to meet the needs of up to three million British children and adults* who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal hygiene. It encompasses a 7m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist. Space To Change has been developed with leading Changing Places campaigners and Clos-o-Mat (Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away). Firefly Community, an online special needs community, will drive the campaign, supporting campaigners and raising awareness of the need for accessible toilets that include height adjustable changing benches and hoists.
“So often, venues and organisations say they understand the need for a Changing Places toilet, but, in existing buildings, as it should be provided in addition to other accessible toilets, they haven’t the extra space- 12m2- or cannot afford the cost of potentially extensive building works to create the additional space, and the ancillaries and equipment,” explains campaigner Tony Clough.
Adds fellow campaigner Sarah Brisdion, “Under the Equality 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. Not being able to access suitable toilets is, we believe, a substantial disadvantage.
“In an ideal world, we would always prefer to have a Changing Places, but Space To Change gives a viable alternative for providers constrained by space and/or money. Without these facilities, we either have to lie our loved one on the toilet floor- which you wouldn’t even expect to do with a baby- or we have to cut our trip short, or not go at all. Many wheelchair-accessible toilets are already big enough, so all that is required to create a Space To Change, which gives everything needed, is the addition of the changing bench and hoist!”
Full details of the Space To Change concept, plus technical support, CAD blocks etc, can be found at www.clos-o-mat.com and http://community.fireflyfriends.com/campaigns/space-to-change.