Beechwood Install Changing Places Unit
Beechwood opened its new toilets at a cost of around £10,000 and becomes the first Changing Places in the Cheltenham area. Other locations around the country include leisure centres, parks, town centres and shopping centres.
The Changing Places Consortium is a group of organisations working to support the rights of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to gain and improve access to their community. Changing Places has announced that its facilities will be available at the London Olympics, a move endorsed by Paralympian and disability rights campaigner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee.
Beechwood was approached by Philip Douch of Gloucestershire County Council and Jackie Barnett, who works tirelessly to improve disabled people’s provisions and whose son is profoundly disabled, to see if Beechwood would be interested in providing the facility.
The new unit provides disabled changing facilities that are easier to use, provide more dignity for the user and more space for their carers. Equipment includes a height-adjustable, adult-sized changing bench, an electronic tracking hoist system for easy lifting and non-slip floor with access via a specially enlarged, disabled friendly automatic door.
Owen Acland, Beechwood’s centre manager, said: “We are delighted to be the first in the area to offer this new facility. There are many people with profound disabilities who do not have access to such facilities and whose freedom to enjoy simple trips out is affected as a result. With these facilities, the improved access, space and a cleaner, safer environment we can better meet the needs of a wider disabled community.”
Funding for the improvements, which are on car park level 2a near the centre’s Shopmobility, was shared between Gloucestershire County Council who provided a grant for the works and Beechwood.
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