This ‘Changing Places’ facility was located on the ground floor and had the appropriate symbol to indicate the facility. On the outside of the building there was a larger sign which showed the facilities offered within for those who need to use these facilities. This made the toilet easy to locate and access.
The toilet facility did have a radar key lock which ensures that only those who have a key and need to use this facility specifically can access it (alongside the staff)). This helps to ensure the facility is not misused and that equipment is maintained. However, I did find it bizarre that the key lock on this facility was not a universal lock. This meant I was not able to access this facility with my own radar key. The purpose of these keys is that only those who need to use these facilities can access them but are able to do so without having to ask permission. That the Royal Festival Hall had a unique lock seemed to defeat that purpose. This meant my father had to find a staff member who would be able to open the facility for us. Unfortunately, the lift was out of order, so I was not able to go with him and instead had to wait for him to return after finding someone. I understand that the lift will be fixed at a later date but think that if they wish to use a unique key lock they might consider investing in a button that could be pressed to alert staff that someone needed assistance. This way carer’s and family do not have to go hunting for someone to open the faculty.
Upon entry I was struck by the fact that it was very large and there was plenty of space for myself and two other people to use without feeling cramped or flustered. This was definitely one of the better ‘Changing Places’ facilities in regard to space. The facility was spotless, and it was easy to tell this facility was being constantly cleaned and maintained by staff. Having a facility that is both spacious and clean will massively help disabled people who can transfer and weight bare. There were also several hangers which disabled people and their carer’s/family can put their belongings on. This also helps with navigating throughout the facility and maintaining cleanliness as things won’t get damaged or feel cluttered from dumping stuff on the floor.
There was also a ceiling hoist which was in perfect working order and stretched to alll parts of the facility. It was on a two-way track which made it easy to use without struggling and straining ourselves. The ceiling hoist also is able to slide around the room and the two people who I was with including my dad was able to get either side of me to help. I was able to use the toilet in comfort due to the amount of space around us and the hoist wasn’t in my face.
The facility also offered a changing bed which was in working order. This equipment is to help those who are not quite as continent as others. This is a vital piece of equipment and the ceiling hoist was fully able to access it. Those who use this facility can do so secure in their privacy and able to make the most of their day out. Unfortunately, there was no screen of privacy within the facility and this is something that must change. A screen of privacy needs to be added into the facility to add more privacy and comfort. This is a necessity in ‘Changing Places’ facility that must be added.
On my future visits to London I will make sure to use this particular facility as it was a great help to our visit and allowed our time in London to be easier.