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Service beyond ‘the norm’ for disabled people

One of Britain’s newest service stations is doing “a proper job” in catering for all visitor needs by becoming the first location of its type in the UK to install a new concept in disabled toilets.

Space to Change Cornwall

Cornwall Services on the busy A30 trunk road near Bodmin has opened a Space to Change assisted wheelchair-accessible toilet, in the main building. Visitors needing to use it just ask a member of staff, who will provide access: all staff have been fully trained in the concept and equipment, to help users as required.

And the new facility demonstrates exceptional customer care: it opens just three months after first being requested by a visitor, Rachel George.

Explains Cornwall Services manager Alex Lawson, “Rachel and her family stopped to use our facilities on a trip to Cornwall. The needs of their child mean they need a large changing bench and hoist- kit not normally found in a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet. So while they were here, she approached me and asked if we could see a way to offer those facilities.

“Conventionally that would have meant a Changing Places toilet, which would require finding a room 12m2 to comply. We were struggling to do that when we heard about Space to Change, which has the same key equipment, but in a smaller space- 7.5m2 . We had an existing toilet which could be remodelled to accommodate that, and Rachel was happy with the compromise, so that is what we have installed. It was the perfect solution!”

Added Rachel, “When I spoke to Alex, he ‘got’ what I was asking for straight away! It will make such a difference to the tens of thousands of families like ours with someone who need changing. Without a bench and hoist, we face our loved one having to remain in a soiled nappy, or lie on a pubic toilet floor to be changed.”

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 toilet facilities.

The concept has been developed to ensure that the personal hygiene needs of up to three million British children and adults who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal care are met when away from home, as much as possible. It encompasses a 7m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist. Under British Standards, a Changing Places, by comparison, is in addition to conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets, a minimum 12m2, and includes an adult-sized changing bench, ceiling track hoist and privacy screen 

The concept of Space To Change toilets is the brainchild of leading Changing Places campaigners. Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away, has been instrumental in developing the Space To Change toilet layout, and working with campaigners and Firefly Community to promote the concept. Firefly Community, an online special needs resource, will drive the movement, supporting campaigners and raising awareness of the need for accessible toilets that include a height adjustable changing bench and hoist. Details and links can be found here.

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