In the UK, leisure centres are usually council-owned with many centres operated by private companies. Often playing a large role within the communities they are situated in, leisure centres act as a hub where people can gather to keep fit, have fun, and generally enjoy the facilities.
Unfortunately, due to the age of some public leisure centres and a lack of government investment, many people with severe disabilities can’t enjoy these important community facilities because of a lack of suitable toilet, changing and dressing rooms.
Changing Places toilets are a simple, yet life-altering concept. These special toilets enable people with complex disabilities to enjoy more time out of the house by providing an appropriate, safe, and hygienic environment for using the loo or having continence wear changed.
Many people with disabilities can’t use standard disabled access toilets as there is neither the space nor equipment for their assistants or family to safely transfer them to a toilet or change continence pads.
A Changing Places loo gives over twelve square metres of space – plenty of room for a visitor, plus one or two assistants, and feature an adult-sized changing bench, hoist, and peninsular toilet. These enhanced facilities give people choice when it comes to their care and enables them to spend longer away from home, knowing a comfortable option is available when it comes to using the bathroom.
To disabled people and their family members, leisure centres can be quite tricky to navigate or sometimes impossible.
Many centres are not practically equipped with the space or equipment for people with disabilities to change into their swimwear, use the toilet, or access shower facilities. Standard disabled dressing rooms may have more space but are very rarely equipped with a hoist or loo.
The role of Changing Places toilets in leisure centres is unique as they almost double up on their usefulness by providing one private, safe space for guests to change, shower, and use the bathroom – as well as providing enough space for up to two family members or assistants to be present with a guest.
A ‘standard’ Changing Places facility already comes equipped with a changing bench, hoist, and toilet providing leisure centre visitors with a private space to get changed into swimwear making use of the hoist and bench. Non-slip safety flooring is also fitted in most standard Changing Places toilets.
However, Changing Places can very easily be kitted out especially for leisure centres by adding in a shower. This means visitors can change and shower after they have enjoyed the facilities – just like other guests would. Showers can be installed in the corner of the room with a flat floor, drainage, and shower seat – ‘wet room’ style. The ceiling hoist can be configured to enable safe transfer between the shower area and changing bench.
Alternatively, showers can be installed over changing benches to accommodate people with very limited mobility. The choice between the two often comes down to the space available – a separate shower area will take up more space.
The biggest reason to install a Changing Places toilet in a leisure centre is the moral one. Leisure centres are important community facilities, often seen as vital to the health and fitness of the local population. Ensuring absolutely everybody has access to these facilities is just the right thing to do.
According to The Local Government Association, nearly two-thirds of leisure centres need urgent investment to upgrade facilities or carry out a full refurbishment. This includes re-assessing accessibility and ensuring facilities are equipped to welcome people with disabilities.
There may also be a legal requirement to install a Changing Places toilet too. As of 1 January 2021, all new public buildings must include a Changing Places toilet – this includes leisure centres. The updated regulations also mean that any existing public spaces undergoing significant refurbishment must also include a Changing Places toilet in their refurb plans.
And then, there is also the financial motive to install a Changing Places toilet. ‘The purple pound’ refers to the spending power of people with disabilities. Upgrading your leisure centre with inclusive features and promoting them, gives people with disabilities a strong reason to visit.
There is no denying that installing a Changing Places toilet is an additional expense but hopefully this post has demonstrated just how valuable one of these toilets could be to your business and local community.
Starting your CP project you probably have lots of questions too or might be worried about where you could situate a new toilet in an existing leisure centre.
RISE Adaptions are here to answer any questions you may have about the process, carry out consultations to help locate potential Changing Places sites, and offer advice on both types of toilets we can build – internal adaptions or modular facilities.
Call 07729 224 738 or email email@example.comWe’re open Monday to Friday, 08:00-18:00.
To learn more about Changing Places, why not download our brochure or attend one of our monthly online seminars.
Call: 07729 224 738email: firstname.lastname@example.org:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
Please submit your details to receive further information about our modular home extensions…
Don’t forget to check your ‘junk’ folder if you don’t immediately receive your download.
Please submit your details to receive further information about our sensory rooms…
Please submit your details to receive further information about our Changing Places facilities…
Send us a quick message via the form below and a member of the RISE team will be in contact a.s.a.p…