The Changing Places facility in the Bullring was the first one that I discovered and I think that it is great to have one in the shopping centre as it is such a popular location and this way disabled visitors can use this facility and stay longer to make the most of their day with their friends and family. It was located next to the able-bodied toilets which made it easy to find and easily accessible. I also suspect this would make able-bodied people less likely to use it as they will already see their toilets about 10m away. The toilet had the correct sign associated with a Changing Place facility and the maps in the centre had been updated to show it. This meant it was easy to locate and there was no confusion with a more limited disabled toilet.
I have used this particular facility a number of times and it does have a radar key lock which prevents non-key holders entering and using the equipment inside which I think is good for ensuring the equipment is not damaged and those who need to use the facility can. However, the most recent time I used the facility the door had been left wide open but I don’t think this was done purposely as someone had come into clean it and accidentally left it open.
The space within was quite big but entirely appropriate to be able to use the facilities in comfort. It was a basic rectangle shape which made manoeuvring easy. The equipment was all evenly spread out so it didn’t feel clustered or cramped. The toilet is not directly across from the door. Overall it was quite clean although it was evident there had not been an attention to detail. Furthermore, although the floor had just been cleaned it was still quite dirty and the toilet had pee on it. I have been told the able-bodied female toilets were in much worse shape so suspect it’s a general lack of effort on the part of the cleaner rather than a lack of maintenance specifically regarding the disabled toilets. I think there should be more effort as it is crucial to keep the facility clean and hygienic enough because there are not alternate facilities available so I cannot just try another stall as it doesn’t exist yet.
Within the facility, there was a changing bed which was folded away ready for the next use. There was also a screen of privacy but it was damaged. There were hangers for coats available we were able to use the hangers to put our bags aside while we used the facility because it wasn’t cluttered. There was also a biohazard bin. The sink was low enough for me to use however did not have any soap or hand sanitiser available. It also didn’t have paper towels but it did offer a dryer.
The ceiling hoist stretched across about half of the room and covered the toilet and changing bed. The blue fabric on it was a bit scuffed but it was entirely usable. It did mean I could move in all directions which meant it was hard for my PA to hold me still and help me with my personal hygiene. It was very easy to manoeuvre and there was no resistance on the track as it was slick. If I had needed to use the changing bed I would be very confident in the hoist. We also found it charging in the dock so there was no fear of it not being charged.
Overall it was of a high standard perhaps just needs to be better maintained to ensure that quality remains high. I will be using it again when I am out in the City Centre.