MARWELLWILDLIFE, a conservation charity, has opened the first ever 'Changing Places' accessible toilet in a UK zoological park.
The new toilet, designed, supplied and installed by 'Changing Places' campaign sponsor Total Hygiene, is also the 250th of its kind to be opened in the UK since the campaign began five years ago.
The new 'Changing Places' toilet, which was funded by the Aiming High scheme at Hampshire County Council, endorses Marwell's commitment to being an accessible visitor attraction. Winchester Parent Voice Body chair Ray Daniel, whose son Matthew has cerebral palsy, campaigned for the toilet, "For us as a family, a Changing Places facility means we can be out for longer than four hours, and so spend the whole day at the zoological park. I found Marwell Wildlife very receptive to the need for a 'Changing Places' toilet and I am very impressed with the speed and enthusiasm that has led to this great facility."
Larger than, and with additional equipment beyond, a conventional accessible toilet, a 'Changing Places' toilet caters for people who need the help of at least one carer to undertake basic personal hygiene: research shows a minimum ¼million people in the UK could enjoy a fuller life as a result of having such suitable toilets in 'public' locations.
The 'Changing Places' toilet at Marwell includes the standard specification required for 'Changing Places' status of a minimum 12m2, height adjustable changing basin, hoist and washbasin, and further incorporates Total Hygiene's top-selling Closomat 'wash and dry' toilet, which eliminates the need for manual cleansing with toilet tissue.
Marwell's new facility is one of the biggest 'Changing Places' toilets in the UK. Its opening marks a welcome addition to the four disabled toilet facilities already in the park. In South East England alone there is an estimated 31,355 people who require a 'Changing Places' toilet, yet there are only 23 currently available – of which six are in Hampshire.
James Cretney, Marwell Wildlife's Chief Executive, said, "At Marwell Wildlife we take inclusion seriously and pride ourselves on being an accessible regional tourist attraction. Our new 'Changing Places' toilet will now allow a wider group of guests, who may have been unable to enjoy a visit to Marwell, to now come and enjoy the Park. We are especially grateful to the Aiming High team at Hampshire County Council who capital fund financed this project."