Gunwalf Quays is a beautiful little shopping centre that I love to go to when I fancy a day trip away from our holiday in Southampton. One of the hardest things to find in the shopping centre is the ‘changing places’ facility. The location of the facility is in in one of the outer rings of shops amongst other toilet facilities. The facility itself is not immediately in sight and though it was a toilet registered on the official app, I needed to ask an attendant to confirm there actually was one.
There was not the correct sign to indicate the toilet was actually a ‘changing places’, instead there was a disabled toilet symbol on the door. I think there needed to be the appropriate symbol on the toilet door showing there is a ‘changing places’ facility there otherwise it can be mistaken. I regret to say that there was not a radar key lock on the door, which meant anyone had free access to the equipment and it further showed that it was a standard sized disabled toilet.
I would suspect that facility inside was not much bigger than any standard sized disabled toilet, though it had all of the equipment needed in a ‘changing places’. It was difficult to manoeuvre around it comfortably; we had trouble juggling everything and moving my wheelchair around to give all space possible. Despite it not being radar key operated and deemed as a disabled toilet, it was very clean, and the equipment was in working order. In this facility, however, there was no shower facility or hangers available. The absence of a screen of privacy made me nervous. The toilet was opposite the door and I did not feel good without that extra security.
Upon entering the facility, I saw there was a changing bed provided for those who could not use the toilet and it was currently folded away. It was good that it was there as it’s one of the most important pieces of equipment, but users need to be wary as when it’s being used it restricts the space within further.
The ceiling hoist was interesting. It was in working order, but the remote control was missing and there was a sign saying that we had to go to the help desk to retrieve it. A radar key operated facility is the best way to protect equipment. I understand this wasn’t a radar key operated place, but I wish we could have been forewarned of the missing remote. Moreover, I was perplexed as to how wheelchair users and disabled customers were going to be able to reach up and hook the remote up to the system. Not very practical.
In my opinion, it’s not the best ‘Changing Places’ facility out there and some thought needs to be done to improve it. However, it is available and usable.