Shopping can be viewed as both a leisure activity and a necessity. Shopping for leisure is different to shopping for essentials such as clothing and food. A lack of Changing Places toilets means thousands of people with severe, profound, or multiple disabilities are cut off from vital resources. In addition to shopping for essentials, these people are also cut off from leisure activities – many shopping centres in the UK often include restaurants, cinemas, and other activities.
A lack of Changing Places in retail destinations mean families often can’t enjoy a full afternoon out simply because they can’t access the correct type of toilet facilities. Some parents will often have to go shopping and leave a child or other family member at home knowing they wouldn’t be able to access a safe, hygienic toilet suitable for disabilities. This also applies to large supermarkets too.
If shopping centres installed more Changing Places toilets there would be several benefits – for both customers and retail operator.
The most important reason to install a Changing Places toilet is simple – you can directly improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society. When people visit large shopping centres, they often want to spend a good portion of their day there, or at least an afternoon or morning. Without Changing Places this is impossible for some people. A Changing Places toilet contains an adult size changing bench and hoist, plus plenty of space for up to two assistants. That makes these toilets accessible to people that can’t self-transfer to a toilet or may need to have continence wear changed.
A key business reason to install a Changing Places toilet is that you can attract more customers. In a survey by Visit England, 83% of respondents said they have decided not to visit a location they saw as unwelcoming because of poor accessibility. Installing a Changing Places toilet sends a strong message that you are open for business to everyone.
Don’t forget the spending power of people with disabilities too. Nicknamed the ‘Purple Pound’, thousands of businesses are missing out on revenue from people with disabilities simply because they haven’t taken steps to become more accessible.
In addition to the business and moral reasons to install a Changing Places, a major amendment was made to building regulations in 2020 that mandates any large new buildings must include a Changing Places toilet in their plans. A facility must also be added if the building undergoes significant renovations.
Found in approved document M, the regulations are clear on what type and size, of building they expect Changing Places to b installed in. Amongst them are:
Of course, building regulations are not usually applied in retrospect but this is useful information for developers of new shopping complexes or complexes that are planning any renovation works. However, it’s worth noting that shopping centres are included in the new regulations because they were carefully identified by people with disabilities, or their family members, as key locations that they need to access a Changing Places toilet.
At RISE, we recognise retail operators can face logistical challenges when it comes to installing a Changing Places toilet in an existing, carefully planned structure. We are here to guarantee you that there absolutely is space to start your own project without impacting other toilet facilities or causing too much disruption to shoppers. Many shopping centres opt to adapt an internal space. If space really is tight, some retailers have opted for modular Changing Places that can be situated just outside the shopping centre. We will have a solution that’s right for you and your customers. Take a look at some of our recent projects to see what we’re capable of.
Call 07729 224 738 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgWe’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: email@example.com:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
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