The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham has unveiled its new Changing Places accessible toilet, in the main Hall 20 Atrium – the area where the country’s biggest disability event, Naidex, is held, and which is accessible to all shows and events held in Halls 6 through to 20.
Supplied and installed by leading disabled toileting solutions provider Clos-o-Mat, the toilet is the result of an accessibility audit, which highlighted the need for the resource.
Larger than a standard accessible toilet, a Changing Places facility has more space, to enable a wheelchair user and their carer to manoeuvre with ease, plus equipment including a height adjustable adult sized changing bench and hoist.
“The NEC is continuously looking to improve facilities for our customers to ensure we remain their venue of choice,” said Kathryn James, NEC Managing Director. “The need for a Changing Places toilet was highlighted during an accessibility audit and as a result of customer feedback, and we felt it would be of invaluable benefit for some of our customers. Based on the dwell time within the NEC, it’s important for customers to be able to relax and enjoy our facilities knowing there’s an appropriate environment for their personal hygiene. We already have a Clos-o-Mat in a conventional disabled toilet, and felt the extra functionality it offers would be of benefit in the Changing Places toilet.
“We pride ourselves on being an accessible venue; we’re located within two hours drive time of 40% of the UK’s population and we have 20,000 car parking spaces on site. We have physical links to Birmingham International Airport and the International Railway Station, in addition to being situated just off the M42 and M6 motorways. By continuing to improve the accessibility of our internal facilities with additions such as this Changing Places toilet, we’re adding further value to the visitor experience.”
Margaret Clough, a NEC customer who played a major role in the delivery of this project, said: “We work alongside Mencap as volunteers, and since I retired I’ve dedicated my time to campaigning for these facilities. I can’t believe the success we’ve had and I’m so excited about the progress we’ve made.
“We started out at campaigning for changes in airports, because that’s where this all began for us after so many humiliating experiences, and it’s just snowballed from there. This particular installation is fabulous because the NEC is setting the standard in a competitive business and I hope we’re now going to see more Changing Places facilities appear as a result.”
Clos-o-Mat has a proven track record on the supply and installation of fully accessible toilets, including a substantial number of Changing Places facilities. Its ability to deliver design advice, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment, including the Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita wash and dry (automatic) toilet, means it is uniquely positioned to simplify the whole process for forward-thinking environments to which the public have access.