Uniting Communities’ U City building has become home to the first 24/7 Changing Places facility in the CBD, achieving full accreditation with Changing Places Technical Standards in early December.
Changing Places are best-practice bathrooms for people living with disability and their support people. They include a hoist and other customised features to give people a dignified, purpose-built facility to use when they are out.
‘This will give me and others more confidence to get out in the city,’ says Tim Potter, who lives with multiple sclerosis and is a wheelchair user. ‘I’ve had experiences before where this kind of facility would have been very useful, rather than just having to make do with whatever was available.
‘And the fact that it’s a large, bright space makes it feel very welcoming.’
U City’s Changing Places offers a range of features including a Peninsula chair with space for an attendant; a ceiling hoist; a motorised height-adjustable, adult-sized change table; shower; toilet privacy screen and shower curtain; and free use of towels.
‘Having a certified, state-of-the-art Changing Places facility on site offers people with disability more convenience and independence,’ says Uniting Communities Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel. ‘It is a key element of U City’s vision for an inclusive, welcoming community.
‘This is the first facility in the city to be available around the clock and to offer showering facilities,’ says Mr Schrapel. ‘With its location in the south-west of the CBD, it provides a convenient alternative to the Adelaide City Council’s Changing Place facility on the eastern side in James Place.’
For Tim, Changing Places is a shining example of the ways that public spaces are continuing to become more accessible and inclusive.
‘Previously, access for people in wheelchairs was much more restricted,’ he says. ‘Now, there are facilities out there to help so that you can do more and feel more relaxed about going out.
‘When travelling, for example, I’ve felt like I’ve had to spend a lot of time trying to find suitable toilets, rather than enjoying the city or town. It’s great to see that people visiting Adelaide will be able to take in the city, feeling confident that there’s a Changing Places nearby.’
U City’s Changing Places is just one of the building’s many accessible features, also offering specialist accommodation for people living with disability. Thirty-nine short- and long-stay apartments have been purpose-built, and are equipped with different accessible features so guests and tenants can choose the most appropriate apartment for their needs.
The building also offers an accessible Function Centre equipped with hearing loop, step-free threshold entry and a lift with illuminated braille buttons and audible announcements.
‘Uniting Communities has a long history of finding ways to respond to the needs of the community,’ Mr Schrapel says. ‘Installing the new Changing Places facility at U City is testament to this and to our desire to see improved accessibility and inclusivity in the city centre.’
For interviews and further information
Chief Executive, Uniting Communities
0411 643 132
0407 727 098