Cornwall Services Makes Space to Change
Cornwall Services, a motorway-style service station on the A30, has this week become the first service station in the country to install a Space to Change toilet facility, which will transform the lives of many people living in and visiting Cornwall. The team made the decision to install it after hearing from a Cornish mum about the problems she and her 9-year-old son encounter using regular disabled facilities.
Adam George from Redruth suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder, he can’t sit unaided, stand or walk. Back in March, his mum Rachel approached Cornwall Services and asked them to consider installing Space to Change facility that would give her son the freedom to meet friends and use the facilities at the Services. She was also desperate to find more places they could stop on their long and frequent journeys to and from Bristol Children’s Hospital.
A Space to Change facility is a spacious fully accessible toilet that has a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist for people whose disability means they can’t use standard wheelchair-accessible toilets. There are a quarter of a million people in the UK who are in this situation, including people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
Rachel said: ‘The single, biggest challenge we face on a day-to-day basis is finding a toilet that Adam can use – something most of us take for granted. As Adam has grown our world has shrunk. I can’t lift him anymore which means we can only venture out if we are in easy reach of a toilet with ample space and a hoist: no mean feat as they are few and far between. If we go out I have to plan our journey meticulously, calling ahead to find somewhere with suitable facilities. When he was younger it was easier because I could lift him and he didn’t question the excuses I made to stay at home. But he’s now nine, I can’t lift him and my excuses no longer wash. He wants his independence and is visibly upset when he realises he can’t go somewhere as they don’t cater for his needs.’
Cornwall Services responded quickly to Rachel’s request and in just two and a half months has sourced and installed a Space to Change toilet.
She said: ‘The speed and way in which Cornwall Services responded to my request was amazing. I asked the question, they listened and a Space to Change toilet is now open for all to use. I didn’t have to shout, I didn’t have to fight, it just happened and we are absolutely amazed and excited about it.’
Alex Lawson, Services Manager at Cornwall Services said: ‘When we realised that people like Adam couldn’t use our facilities we wanted to put it right as quickly as possible. We had no idea how difficult it can be for families like Rachel’s, so after she approached us, we looked into various ways we could help. We settled on converting an existing staff toilet/shower into a Space to Change toilet.
“The beauty about Space to Change is that it’s affordable, can be accommodated more easily in an existing space, has all the vital equipment needed, and is quick to install – it only took a day which was quite impressive! I hope other destinations in Cornwall see how quickly and easily we were able to do this and decide to follow suit.’
Rachel added ‘Adam can now meet up with his friends at the services without the constant worry of not being able to go to the toilet – it’s life changing for him and for many others in his situation.’
About Space to Change
- Space to Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the larger and better equipped Changing Places toilet facilities.
- Only seven other services in the country have Changing Places facilities, including Gordano at Bristol.
- Space to Change provides an alternative when space is tight. The concept is the brainchild of leading Changing Places campaigners. Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions, has been instrumental in developing the Space to Change toilet layout, and working with campaigners and Firefly Community, an online special needs resource, to promote the concept. Clos-o-Mat supplied and installed Cornwall Services’ Space to Change
- It encompasses a 7m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet, an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.
Posted: June 21, 2016 at 10:47 am