Closomat’s Changing Places has enabled anyone who needs more space, lifting or changing as part of their toileting needs to enjoy Crawley’s town centre, knowing there are suitable facilities.
A mum with an autistic son, Maria Cook, took matters into her own hands and found a new venue, raised the funding, sourced and organised the equipment.
“It means Ryan and I, and all the families like us, who need the extra benefits of a Changing Places, can do ‘normal’ things – go shopping, meet friends for lunch, and relax,” explains Maria.
The challenges Maria and Ryan face are issues that potentially millions of people live with. Tens of thousands of people with impairments require space, lifting and changing.
Maria, with the support of her local Councillor Chris Oxlade and County Mall manager Mark Haynes, agreed the old, disused public convenience building adjacent to the County Mall could be used for the Changing Places facility.
County Mall covered the cost of the labour for the fit out – removing the old toilets, ceilings, floors, electrics, and installing the new ceiling track hoist, height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench, washbasin, and Closomat Palma Vita bidet toilet. West Sussex Big Society Fund donated the money for the equipment and installation.
“It’s a toilet to end all toilets! It’s much more hygienic for whoever’s using the loo: it has build-in washing and drying, so there’s no need for wiping with loo paper,” Maria explained.
The latest Women & Equality Parliamentary Select Committee report has recommended that Changing Places become a required element of any new large building. Nearly 1000 Changing Places have been opened across the UK since the launch.
Under British Standards, a Changing Places is in addition to conventional wheelchair accessible toilets, and provides 12m2, with additional equipment including an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench and ceiling track hoist.
The company can provide an in-house, ‘one- stop-shop’ complete package for ‘away from home’ assisted accessible toilet facilities, from design and commissioning, through to project management, supply and installation, and can also provide subsequent maintenance and repair.
Building 1, Brooklands Place,
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