You visit an Art Gallery. You may visit the gallery café or the gallery shop. You may also visit the loos, after all you’ll be there for a while. In this time you may have spent a bob or two.
The problem for us is we are not able to ‘spend a penny’. My son has Cerebral Palsy, he has difficulties controlling his movements and cannot stand or sit unaided, because of his condition is unable to use a standard disabled toilet. Due to a woeful lack of toilet provision in the UK for people with profound disabilities or complex health needs, visiting many places for us is limited, time restricted or simply unachievable these days.
This situation gives us a feeling of increasing worthlessness, social exclusion and inability to participate in everyday activities that others take for granted. I don’t have a disability myself but I’ve come to learn what a barrier and disadvantage it is to have no access to a toilet, a basic human right. Often I’ve had to attend my son’s toileting needs in degrading, dangerous and unhygienic situations, a baby change, car boot, various floors. It is soul destroying.
This led me to the UK Changing Places campaign which seeks to highlight the need for accessible toilets with more space and extra assistive equipment including a bench and ceiling hoist. These toilets are specifically designed to assist multiple health needs and should be provided in addition to the full range of single sex and standard accessible WC’s and baby changing facilities. At present there are 1069 Changing Places facilities registered in the UK, not anywhere near enough to meet the needs for an estimated 250,000 + people in the UK.
While a growing number of visitor attractions, transport hubs, shopping centres and sport stadiums, already include Changing Places toilets , larger museums and galleries are lagging behind at just 14 toilets (Tate, Nottingham Contemporary, Eureka museum to name a few). Some of the reasons for this being a lack of knowledge and awareness and issues relating to ‘restricted’ funding. Onus is on individual venues to deliver and manage facilities. This is a particular problem for charity led and free for entry museums that rely on external funding to deliver their work.
What can we do to change this?
Awareness; some venues may have no previous knowledge of Changing Places toilets or the need despite being recommended in British Standard 8300. As a code of practice, this British Standard takes the form of guidance and recommends that Changing Places toilets should be provided in larger buildings and complexes.
Public venues must take positive steps to remove the barriers and have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to ensure visitors and staff have the same services, as far a possible as someone who’s not disabled. It’s important to get in touch with a museum or gallery to raise your concerns. Although there may be no immediate solution, venues will be able to plan ahead and look at other funding opportunities.
Disabled people represent a massive untapped market for business with a collective spending power at £249 billion, which is why fully accessible toilets make excellent business sense! Venues can broaden their accessibility appeal and visitor audience by providing Changing Places toilets.
Find out more about Changing Places here and how they change lives.
Face book – @Changing_Places
Alison Beevers – Retford Changing Places Campaign (facebook)
Out of 1069 Changing Places toilets in Britain. At time of writing, there are 16 available in Museums.
We have worked with families and the Changing Places Consortium to set up this section of the DCN website so museums and organisations can work collaboratively to increase the number of Changing Places toilets in their towns and cities, and in their heritage organisations. There are some suggestions below for positive action.
There are over 250,000 people with disabilities in Britain, yet accessible toilets and Changing Places toilets are still not available.
My organisation wants to know about this:
If you need further information in developing a Changing Places toilet: Go to Changing Places Toilets – information and advice for museums and Changing Places website http://www.changing-places.org/Default.aspx
We haven’t got the space:
The standard space required for a Changing Places toilet is 12 sqm. The Building Standard that relates to Changing Places toilets is BS8300. The ideal solution for any newly built cultural venues is to have a 12 sqm Changing Places facility from the outset of planning. Changing Places are able to offer advice and guidance regarding space requirements for installation and will advise the best solutions for the space that is available within venues.
They can be emailed or phoned via: http://www.changing-
So, you really haven’t got the space so whats next?
Often it can be due to limited space, therefore it is vital that museums find out where the nearest Changing Places toilet is to their organisation. It is important that the location of the facility and how close it is to the organisation is on the museums website as part of their access statement. You can find your nearest Changing Places toilet via the Changing Places consortium website http://www.uktoiletmap.org/
If you don’t have one near you, speak to your local council, tourism officer for potential collaboration to place in the town centre. There are statistics related to the tourism economy to towns and cities which value the purple pound at £12 Billion (source: Visit Britain). Lack of facilities mean people will actively seek and go to providers who have installed the toilets and other accessible facilities.
Check out how Chester became Europes most accessible city here: Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/20/chester-europes-most-accessible-city
But, we are listed and in the middle of nowhere:
IHus offer free standing Changing Places toilets, at time of posting they offer free consultation: https://www.ihuschangingplaces.com/about/
Historic England guidelines for access for people with disabilities and their offices are available for advice. https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/01/12/physical-access-standards-consultancy-and-related-organisations/
We are holding an event, or need to pilot this:
There are portable Changing Places toilets that are available to hire called Mobiloo at a reasonable cost.
Link and information here: https://www.mobiloo.org.uk/
How does no changing places toilets impact on families and adults?
There a number of blog sites which parents of children with disabilities and adults write about the impact of changing their children and members of their families on wet tiled floors and car boots.
“This situation gives us a feeling of increasing worthlessness, social exclusion and inability to participate in everyday activities that others take for granted”. Alison Beevers, Retford Changing Places Campaign.
Families can become champions to your organisations by inclusive practice.
“then to the Changing Places toilet, with adult changing bench and hoist, to get Flossie sorted. These type of facilities are extremely rare in our public places, but they are the only type of loo where Flossie can be sorted with dignity (so Thank You, Eureka, for including one).” Lorna Fillingham, blogger
Check out the following blog sites:
‘The Art of Exloosion’ by Alison Beevers, Retford Changing Places Campaigner
Lorna Fillingham’s blog: https://awheeliegreatadventure.wordpress.com/
Release date: 7 April 2017
The first wheelchair accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat at Draycote Reservoir in Warwickshire will be launched on Wednesday 12 April, following a successful fundraising campaign supported by Draycote Fly-Fishers Association and led by one of its members. An established trout fishery for many years, Draycote Reservoir is a 600-acre lowland reservoir near Rugby famous for its buzzer hatches and large grown-on brown and rainbow trout.
Designed and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat stems from the fundamental desire of disabled anglers and wheelchair users in particular, to have the same opportunities to fish as the able-bodied. The boat is based on Jim Coulam’s 16’ reservoir fishing boat design and has been adapted to provide wheelchair users with step free access on board. With an open cockpit and level floor throughout, the disabled angler can choose to sit at the bow or the stern and is able to drive and operate the boat quite independently.
The unique design features of the boat are not immediately obvious, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for disabled anglers. Wheelchair users board the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat via a ramp from a pontoon onto a hydraulic platform that lowers to floor level. Removable handrails around the platform help keep the angler secure and simplify the boarding and disembarking procedure, which means that only one able-bodied helper is required for assistance. The boat has a 6’ beam, low centre of gravity and is very stable. In normal conditions wheelchair brakes are sufficient to hold the angler in place, but D-rings on the floor provide secure strapping points when required.
The project cost £9,200 and was funded by the Janet Nash Charitable Settlement, Draycote Fly-Fishers Association and their members, and Fishery Management (UK) Ltd which has been running the fishery on Draycote since 2011.
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, says “Angling is an activity that most disabled people can participate in very successfully given the right access and equipment. Our Wheelyboats overcome all the difficulties of accessing waters like Draycote and we are delighted that Ifor and his team have become the latest fishery to operate a Wheelyboat. This is the 180th Wheelyboat to be launched and is a particularly proud moment for me being the 100th Wheelyboat launched since I took over as Director in 2002.”
The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online atwww.wheelyboats.org/donate.html.
Jane Bevan or Jana Fickerova, Firebird Public Relations
About accessible angling
- The need for accessible fishing boats has come about by the inaccessible nature of reservoirs, lakes, ponds and rivers to wheelchair users and others with mobility problems: the banks are often steep and unmade and where there is access, it may be limited and offer little opportunity to fish the water effectively.
- Fluctuating water levels, the norm on most reservoirs, make the problems of access even worse. Standard boats have not been designed to accommodate wheelchair users and are very difficult to get into. Once on board the disabled angler is usually totally reliant on a boat partner.
- Whichever Wheelyboat model is preferred (the Trust currently supplies four models – two purpose-built fishing boats and two multi-purpose models including a 12 seater inshore powerboat), Wheelyboats overcome all the difficulties. They make the entire water accessible, are simplicity itself to board and the level floor provides access throughout thus giving the disabled user the dignity of their own independence. Wheelyboats enable disabled people to participate in waterborne activities alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.
- Fishing has many charms and where suitable facilities are provided, such as at Draycote Reservoir, it is an activity that most disabled people can participate in very effectively.
About The Wheelyboat Trust
- The Wheelyboat Trust is a registered charity dedicated to providing mobility impaired people, young and old, with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities all over the UK. Its role is to help and encourage venues open to the public to acquire Wheelyboats for their disabled visitors and to help groups and organisations acquire Wheelyboats for their own use.
- The Wheelyboat Trust was founded in 1984 when it was originally called the Handicapped Anglers Trust. The first Wheelyboat built received its official launch from HRH Prince Charles at Fishmongers’ Hall in London. In 2004, the charity was renamed The Wheelyboat Trust to reflect its broader aims and the clear need for Wheelyboats beyond the fishing lake for disabled, elderly and infirm, families and community groups for recreation and sporting pursuits.
- The Trust has designed 7 different Wheelyboat models since its work began in 1984: Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV, Coulam 15, Coulam 16 and Coulam Wheelyboat V20. 180 Wheelyboats have so far been supplied across the UK, Ireland and Denmark.
- For more information, visit www.wheelyboats.org
About Draycote Reservoir Trout Fishery
- The fishery is within easy access of the M1, M6, M40 and M45
- 32 boats all with outboards are available giving access to Draycote’s 600 acres and its famed shoals (underwater islands).
- Anglers fishing from a drifting boat, fishing a team of dries or buzzers over and around the shoals, will experience the finest top of the water fly fishing any midlands reservoir has to offer.
- Draycote is a popular competition venue with many clubs and associations enjoying its excellent fishing and facilities.
- The team at Draycote feel passionate about their sport and are keen to encourage other anglers into fly fishing, or if required, to try and improve their knowledge. Visit the website’s Guiding/Tuition pagefor further details or call 01788 812018.
- Fishery Management (UK) Ltd is owned by Ifor Jones and runs the fishing at Thornton, Foremark, Draycote and Eyebrook reservoirs.
- For more information, visit www.flyfishdraycote.co.uk
About J M Coulam Boatbuilders
- Established for 24 years, they are one of the largest small boat builders in the UK having designed and built over 1,000 commercial boats.
- Specialising in small day hire boats, they have expanded with help from The Wheelyboat Trust into larger commercial craft.
- All boats are individually built in GRP to customer’s own specification.
- Their own engineering and stainless steel fabrication shop allows them to custom make fittings and components and almost everything else.
- They supply custom built trailers for all types of applications and are a leading floating pontoon manufacturer.
Guidelines issued by Government (2014)
UK Association for Accessible Formats (2012)
Ability Net Guidelines
RNIB Clear Print Guidelines
British Dyslexia Association Style Guide for people with neurodiversity (particularly dyslexia)
Event by: Rebecca Coles and Penelope Thomas for GEM West Midlands
A one day workshop offering you practical tips you can use in your museum to make it more accessible to an audience with differing needs. All speakers have real world experience of working to make their galleries and workshops accessible to a range of different needs, from establishing an Access Panel to developing specialised gallery signage.
For tickets and speakers please go to the link here: