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Portsmouth International port delivers safe harbour for special needs

Space to Change offers “life-changing’ facilities

Portsmouth International Port has become the most accessible major sea hub in the UK with the opening of a “life-changing” toilet.

The Port is the first major sea travel hub in the country to open a Space to Change specialist toilet and changing facility, which delivers the space and equipment needed by potentially
five million people with complex needs. Enhancing a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet, the Space to Change- supplied and installed by Clos-o-Mat- includes more space, plus an adult-sized height-adjustable changing bench and ceiling tracking hoist.

Kalvin Baugh, ferry port manager, said: “One of our frequent travellers Sarah Brisdion– whose son Hadley has Cerebral Palsy and needs the extra equipment of a bench and hoist– made us aware that standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of people with severe disabilities or additional needs. Even more shockingly, that they often have to lie on toilet floors to be changed. We felt very strongly that nobody should have to endure this and so worked closely with Sarah to find a solution.

Portsmouth International port delivers safe harbour for special needs

Portsmouth International port delivers safe harbour for special needs

“Because Space to Change enhances existing conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets, rather than being a ‘stand-alone’ facility, we were able to address Sarah’s request without the delay, cost and disruption of significant building work. To our knowledge, no other seaport in the UK can offer its travellers such fully-accessible facilities.”

Sarah elaborated, “Something as simple as some extra space in a toilet, with a bench and a hoist, is nothing short of life-changing for families like mine. It enables us to use the toilet when out in public – something that most people take for granted.”

Space to Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places+ toilets. The concept enables venues that are limited financially and/or on space to meet the needs of up to three million British children and adults* who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal hygiene. It encompasses a 7.5m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.