Hovertravel provides a year-round hovercraft ferry service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. The Southsea terminal opened in 1991 and is the fastest way to get to the Isle of Wight with a journey time of just under ten minutes.
Transporting over 600,000 passengers per year, the Hovertravel terminal is an important transport location on the Southsea seafront, and as such, needs to be inclusive of all travellers. The company is incredibly committed to making its service as accessible as possible and is one of only two companies in the country to be awarded Inclusive Transport Leaders status by the Government. HoverCare is Hovertravel’s award-winning accessibility imitative which promotes travel for all.
Hovertravel has a long-standing commitment to accessibility and views inclusivity as an ongoing project and is always looking for ways to make enhancements. They do this by regularly engaging with charities, support groups and experts to assess their approach and obtain feedback.
After inviting customers to experience the service and help identify any barriers to travel, Hovertravel established a Changing Places toilet was needed to enhance the facilities at the Southsea terminal.
Funding for the new toilet was obtained via the Government’s accessibility fund for Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly ferry operators. A funding submission was informed by expert advice from a local accessibility charity, Euan’s Guide, and Hovertravel customers.
Ryan Livett, Hovertravel Duty Manager and Project Lead, says:
“The brief we set ourselves as part of our funding submission was clear: we needed the best Changing Places we could specify so we could support our ongoing HoverCare initiative to encourage hovercraft access for all.”
With 100 percent of the funding secured, Ryan started a search for the right provider to install their Changing Places toilet. RISE was chosen to carry out the project for several reasons, including our experience with more challenging installations. Ryan explains:
“The age and construction of the building created some initial challenges including no natural light in the chosen area and no option to add a shower due to existing drainage. Our initial research included local builders and specialist firms, but it was apparent from the first contact that RISE would be a supportive and diligent choice for this project.”
Hovertravel wanted to refurbish an existing toilet block to include a Changing Places toilet and a standard access disabled toilet, which meant an extensive reconfiguration of the space. After carrying out a detailed survey and presenting Hovertravel with plans, we got the go-ahead to transform their space.
After stripping out the existing space, we installed a partition wall to create two rooms, and opened up and fitted out two DDA compliant doors to enable people using wheelchairs easy access to both toilets. A suspended ceiling was installed in the Changing Places toilet to ensure the hoist would function properly and be safe for visitors to use.
The work we carried out included first and second fix electrical and plumbing work, and then the installation of all the required Changing Places equipment. The walls were fitted with white multi-panels to give the space a hygienic and practical finish. The final touch in the Changing Places toilet was a large feature wall, featuring an image of a hovercraft.
Hovertravel is delighted to now have a fully kitted out Changing Places toilet and took no time to register the new facility so that it would appear on the official Changing Places toilet map. The new toilet joins a range of other accessibility improvements including an enhanced exit to the pad at Southsea, assistive technology for the company’s website, and a lift for the terminal at Ryde.
The CP toilet has helped Hovertravel achieve its goal of enabling a wider range of people to use their service comfortably. Project lead, Ryan was also pleased with the outcome and service we provided:
“From the first conversations about quotes through the aftercare process, we have had outstanding service and we would recommend RISE to anyone thinking about a Changing Places toilet. The company provided extensive expert advice based on their knowledge and experience and during the build, their on-site team were communicative and considerate of our operational needs.”
Within just two weeks, we transformed the Hovertravel team’s existing space into a newly registered CP facility. Our scope of works included:
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