Local councils, shopping centres and tourist attractions are being urged to act first to avoid being in breach of equality laws concerning their assisted-access hygiene facilities.
Leading disability campaigner Tony Clough has outlined the practicalities of Changing Places assisted accessible toilets in locations to which the public have access.
He said: “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.
“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 wheelchair-accessible toilets are defined as ‘desirable’, and under the Equality Act, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act, providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the built environments to avoid situations where a disabled person would be at a ‘substantial’ disadvantage.
Potentially, up to 3 million people in the UK would use Changing Places toilets.
Tony adds: “To me, lying on a toilet floor is a substantial disadvantage. Giving a bit more space and providing a couple of pieces of equipment is not an unreasonable request.”
Tony’s call for practical hygiene facilities is echoed by Changing Places manufacturer Clos-o-Mat.
Changing Places Project Manager, Kelvin Grimes, commented: “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.”
Clos-o-Mat has provided a host of advisory white papers, plus technical and support material including CAD blocks, typical layouts and specifications, available for free on its website.
Building 1, Brooklands Place,
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