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Accessibility moves into a new level

One of the UK’s biggest shopping centres, intu, is giving a new level of customer experience.

intu Merry Hill has become the latest retail venue to open a Changing Places assisted accessible toilet, to enable any shoppers who may need help (in terms of carers or equipment) to go to the loo can do so appropriately, and with dignity.

Without such toilets, potentially up to 14million people(*) across the UK who need support either cannot visit a location, have to curtail their trip before they need the toilet, or face remaining in a soiled condition unless they are changed on the floor.

Supplied and installed by Closomat, Britain’s leader in ultra-accessible away from home toilets, intu Merry Hill’s facility is even bigger than the British Standard requirement of 3m x 4m. It has all the fixtures specified in the Standard for Changing Place compliance- including a WC, height adjustable washbasin, ceiling track hoist, adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, a shower, height adjustable shower seat and a privacy screen.

The Changing Places, on the Upper Level near the food court, compliments other accessible toilets strategically positioned around the mall; it is accessible whenever the centre is open, via RADAR key.

The Changing Places facility was officially opened by Neil Davies, chairman at Dudley Voices for Choice, alongside member Sharon Davies, and project worker Claire Allen. Dudley Voices for Choice is a user-led charitable organisation, based in Dudley, that supports people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom will benefit from the Changing Places facility.

Neil Davies, chairman of Dudley Voices for Choice, said: “The new Changing Places in intu Merry Hill is a welcome addition to the centre, and now people with disabilities can come along and spend the day here knowing that all of their needs can be met in one place.”

Naomi Campbell, community development manager at intu Merry Hill, said: “We want to ensure that we make intu Merry Hill as accessible and inclusive as we can. This important new space will ensure that customers who need access to a Changing Places facility can enjoy a safe and comfortable shopping experience whilst visiting intu Merry Hill. It’s one of several measures which we are introducing, including training our staff, to provide welcoming experiences for all.”

Under Building Regulations and British Standards, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, 1000 have been opened across the UK.

Closomat is Britain’s leading provider of helpful toileting solutions, at home and away, including Changing Places. Uniquely, 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.

Its website www.clos-o-mat.com is the most comprehensive resource available about Changing Places for campaigners, providers and specifiers alike, with a raft of support information including white papers, calling cards, CAD blocks, NBS specifications, video and case studies.

For more information visit www.clos-o-mat.com


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