The UK’s largest privately-owned wildlife collection, Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, has become the latest venue to change its accessibility for the better.

The estate in Burford, Oxfordshire has opened a new Changing Places toilet. The facility means that thousands of people with limitations can now visit the Park, safe in the knowledge they can relax, and spend as long as they like, enjoying the 260 different species of animals, without worrying about being able to find a WC they can use.

Conveniently located between the gift shop and car park, the Changing Places toilet compliments four wheelchair-accessible toilets already available at the Park. With equipment supplied by Closomat- the UK’s leading assisted accessible toilet provider- the Changing Places has the space to accommodate the user and up to two carers, plus a ceiling track hoist and adult-sized height adjustable changing bench.

Explains Changing Places campaigner Tony Clough MBE, who first suggested the installation of the facility to Cotswold Wildlife Park: “Conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets are designed on the assumption the user can transfer from their wheelchair unaided, and use the toilet without help. In reality, a large proportion of disabled people need help, whether they are in a wheelchair or not; the standard accessible toilet isn’t suitable for them. It doesn’t have the space to accommodate a carer. They may need lifting, so need a hoist- not available in a standard accessible

toilet. They may need changing- only an option in a standard accessible toilet if they lie on the floor!

“Changing Places gives all of those people the opportunity to do something most of us take for granted- go somewhere, knowing there are suitable toilet facilities. It’s excellent that Cotswold Wildlife Park has put such a facility in. Now, my family, and thousands like us, can go there, and enjoy the whole day out, without worrying. I hope other venues follow the Park’s example: to my knowledge only 10% of the UK’s wildlife parks have Changing Places or similar facilities!”

Under Building Regulations and British Standards (BS8300), a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’ in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Since their introduction a decade ago, almost 1000 have been opened across the UK. Under British Standards, a Changing Places is provided in addition to conventional (Building Regulations Document M) wheelchair accessible toilets, and provides 12m2 (3m x 4m), with additional equipment including an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench and ceiling track hoist.

Closomat is Britain’s leading provider of helpful toileting solutions, at home and away, including Changing Places and their similar Space to Change facilities. 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, video and case studies.

Find out more about Clos O Mat by viewing their company profile, here.

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