Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter already has great disability awareness and access around the entire tour and it is made further steps including securing a ‘Changing Places’ facility to ensure that anyone with any type of disability can use the toilet when they are in need of it.
The location of the ‘Changing Places’ facility within the tour was at the back of it. Reporting to the information desk to inquire, we had to follow a member of staff through long corridors and into the staff only area and back out again. The facility is based in a portacabin which was disconnected from the rest of the tour. The member of staff then had to wait for us while we used the facility. This was annoying and disheartening, we had to rely on a member of staff to escort us there and then had the pressure of using the facility as quickly as possible as we knew there was someone outside waiting for us to finish. There’s nothing worse than feeling under a clock to be able to go to the bathroom. I think this needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
Being in a portacabin, the facility did not have the symbol which indicated that it was ‘Changing Places’ facility, nor did the portacabin have a Rader key lock, only the staff member leading us here on request indicated so. Again, this is very invasive and pressurising.
Once inside, the space within the portacabin is quite big. There were a small number of hangers which were able to put our things on so they could be out of the way, while we used the facility, but it also meant they were there if we needed to get something out of them at any time. There was space for my electric wheelchair, myself, my dad and a carer to use the facilities within. Every piece of equipment in there was equally positioned so everyone could move around and use the different equipment if and when needed. The cleanliness of the portacabin and the facility was very good, it showed that it had been well looked after and leaned including the equipment, it was all ready for the next use, however, there was toilet roll dotted around the floor.
I admired how this facility caters for everyone with all disabilities, there was a ceiling track hoist which stretches across to all parts of the facility, so those who cannot transfer independently are able to use everything in there. Those who use it have to bring their own sling for hygiene reasons and because there isn’t one provided. On my visit to this facility, it was operational and fully charged so I was able to use it. The only problem with using the ceiling hoist was the toilet being in the far right corner of the portacabin, my carer and my dad had difficulty to get to it between the toilet and its bars to be able to help me effectively. There was a changing bed, I did not use it myself, but I love how it is available for those who are incontinent and need to use the bed and not the toilet, it also has paper which covers the bed and when the person lies on it and gets changed, it can be ripped off so its ready for the next use. There was also a mini shower and curtain to help with hygiene and it allowed disabled people to get freshened up before they re-emerged from the facility, which is a defiant positive.
Finally, there is a screen of privacy within the facility which I was able to use when I was on the toilet, so I was able to go without the pressure of my dad and my carer watching me.
I really approve of this ‘Changing Places’ facility and I think if the Warner Brothers Studio Tour changed the location of the portacabin and the ‘Changing Places’ facility, then it would be much better!