Changing Places facilities provide more than standard accessible toilets, but an extra level of accessibility to meet the needs of people with a disability and their assistants.
The Changing Places concept originated in the UK in 2006, in response to the lack of appropriate toileting facilities for people with high support needs. This limits the length of time spent away from home and the places that can be visited by individuals and families, reducing the benefits of social interaction for everyone.
Changing Places facilities were introduced into Australia in 2012, with the first facility opening at Ringwood Lake in 2014. Since then, 117 Changing Places facilities have been registered throughout Australia.
Changing Places facilities provide more than standard accessible toilets. A full room coverage hoist, adult size change table, and centrally placed peninsular toilet pan with grabrails either side, as well as an optional hobless shower, provide an extra level of accessibility to meet the needs of people with a disability and their assistants.
A new Changing Places at Werribee Open Range Zoo was officially opened on Wednesday, July 31st, and is located just outside the entrance of the zoo next to the tourist information office. This makes the facility accessible to travellers between Geelong and Melbourne, as well as visitors to the zoo.
Architecture & Access were engaged to assist in the design of the facility to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Changing Places Information Guide & Technical Standard and accreditation was achieved.
Werribee Open Range Zoo received funding from the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria in 2017 aligning with the goals of the Absolutely Everyone State Disability Plan 2017-2020
In addition to Werribee Open Range Zoo, Zoos Victoria now have a Changing Places facility at all three of its sites in Victoria, including Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Architecture & Access are proud to be associated with both the facilities at Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Healesville Sanctuary.
These facilities are making a real difference to the lives of people who use these facilities. A day out at the zoo to explore and wonder at the creatures of our world and our country is now a real possibility for people who previously would not have been able to visit.