Last month, a brand-new inclusive playground opened in Burgess Hill, Mid Sussex welcoming families with children of all abilities from the local community. To further enhance accessibility, the Worlds End Recreation Ground features a new Changing Places toilet, meaning that there are no limitations when it comes to enjoying the play facilities and the wider park area.
Mid Sussex Council looks after 122 playgrounds, seven of which include inclusive play features – the Worlds End park is a recent addition. Situated in Janes Lane, Burgess Hill, the new park equipment offers exciting play opportunities for children of all abilities with a wheelchair accessible roundabout and swing, plus stimulating sensory areas.
To further enhance the park, the council decided to install a Changing Places toilet meaning families with profoundly disabled children can enjoy their visit for longer and make full use of the new inclusive play area.
Putting in a Changing Places facility went hand in hand with the new inclusive play area; we want to ensure that all families can enjoy the new equipment without having to worry about toilets. The toilet will also benefit the wider community as it’s situated in a public park, meaning that anyone in the area with a need, can take advantage of the new facility.
Facilities and Project Surveyor, Paul Williams
Funding for the Changing Places toilet as well as the playground equipment came via Section 106 developer contributions collected by Lewes District Council, which were provided as a result of the nearby Theobalds Farm and Medway Gardens housing developments.
Developer contributions must be used for local projects that benefit residents; a Changing Places facility is great way to use the funds as it improves the lives of people in the local community who have disabilities as well as attracting new customers to the area.
Once Mid Sussex Council had approved the plans for a Changing Places facility, an approved contractor built the foundations ready for the toilet to be lifted into place. Manufactured in South Yorkshire, the modular toilet was delivered by iHUS, a specialist company who provides several accessible products.
Once the finishing touches were completed, the toilet was up and running quickly and features everything you would expect to find in a fully accessible bathroom, including a changing bench and hoist.
iHUS Project Manager, Ben, says the project was straightforward and everything went to plan:
“Paul and his team were a pleasure to deal with – their brief was clear and simple. As a result, the project ran very efficiently, and we encountered very few issues with the build, delivery and installation of their Changing Places facility.”
Paul Williams, who handled the project says that the new toilet is a great addition to the local area and that he also learnt a few things along the way:
“Prior to starting the project, I wasn’t aware of Changing Places and the difficulties some families face when it comes to finding a suitable bathroom. I now understand just how important these toilets are to people with profound disabilities and if the feedback we have had so far is anything to go by, the new playground and toilet are a huge success.”
Feedback has been coming in through the councils Facebook page and it seems local parents and care workers are delighted:
“This is brilliant, it’s a real struggle we have whilst supporting our guys in the community and you realise the lack of suitable facilities. It’s nice to finally see our sector being recognised and the need for properly equipped facilities. Well done MDSC and Changing Places.”
“Amazing, we need more toilets like this around Sussex”
The call for more toilets across the county has been noted by the council too:
“Watch this space!”, says Paul, “the feedback we’ve received combined with how easy it was working with iHUS means that we are planning on adding more facilities. Seeing the difference made by the toilet and how it’s attracted new visitors has been enlightening and encouraging.”
With over 30 years’ experience in construction, iHUS are one of the UK’s leading disabled adaptations companies – specialising in the design and installation of Changing Places facilities.
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