Many more families will now be able to enjoy a day out at Colchester Zoo thanks to a new Changing Places facility which was officially opened this week by Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children.
Changing Places are fully accessible toilet facilities.
They are different from standard accessible toilets because they offer more space, specialist equipment and a height adjustable changing bench and hoist. These facilities enable children and adults with profound and multiple disabilities to get out and about and enjoy the same activities that others may take for granted.
The Changing Places was jointly completed with the renovation of an existing standard adult changing facility within the zoo. The renovations were funded and carried out by Colchester Zoo with equipment funded by Essex County Council as part of the Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People Capital Programme.
Essex County Council has previously funded Changing Places in a wide range of leisure attractions including Hylands Park, Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre and various locations along Tendring seafronts including Clacton and Walton.
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children said, “Families have told me that these facilities make a world of difference to them, removing the barriers which would prevent them from enjoying a fun day out. I’m delighted we’ve been able to work with Colchester Zoo to provide this facility at the one of the county’s leading leisure attractions.”
Alex Downing, Development Director for Colchester Zoo said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to offer this facility to guests. We hope that this facility may encourage new visitors to the park now that the Changing Places toilet is available. We would like to think this allows guests who require this assistance to have an enjoyable day out knowing there is the relevant equipment available if required.”
Access to the Changing Places facilities is via a RADAR key scheme. These are available from RADAR, local authorities and disability organisations. The keys cost around £3.50 and are only available to registered disabled people. For more information visit www.disabilityrightsuk.org