It is estimated that at least 1 in 260 people in the UK require an adult sized changing bench or a hoist to be able to have their continence needs met, many needing both.

Yet there are still less than 1000 facilities in the UK which provide this equipment for their customers.

There are many reasons to provide this equipment, too many to list here, but only a few reasons not to.

Here are some of the excuses reasons you may hear from businesses and some replies you can give if you are campaigning in your area…

1. Cost

Of course, cost is a key factor for a small business, however these two pieces of equipment can be purchased for less than £7000 so most large businesses can easily afford to cover the expense. 

If they need a little help to pay for it the local community will certainly support them and rally round to fundraise.  

Concerns about ongoing costs to maintain and service the equipment are unwarranted as a service charge of approx. £200 a year will cover that.

2. Insurance

Many businesses think that this extra equipment will mean extra insurance.  However, that isn’t the case. 

This equipment is provided for the customers to use at their own risk, and all businesses should already have public liability insurance which would cover this.

3. Training

Training is essential, how else will staff be able to advise customers where they can find the toilet that houses the bench and hoist? 

Without training how will the cleaners be able to ensure it is clean for customers to use?

That’s it… no other training is needed!

Although it would be handy if some staff members knew how to check the hoist is on charge!

4. Not enough demand for one

If one person asks, that is enough demand under the Equality Act 2010, and in fact businesses have an anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments anyway so it doesn’t matter if no one has asked yet!

5. Already provide a disabled toilet

Great, could you pop a changing bench and a hoist in it then so it’s suitable for all disabled people?  Thanks!

6. Not required under building regulations

We know, and we aren’t happy about that either. 

However even if you are meeting all the requirements of building regulations, you aren’t necessarily compliant under the Equality Act 2010 which requires reasonable adjustments for disabled people.  

Changing places are also recommended in large buildings under BS8300

7. Will consider it the next time we have a reason to refurbish

Why is this not reason in itself? 

Providing a facility for a customer is a justified business reason to make adjustments to a venue, a changing places toilet is a facility that is essential for many customers and therefore should be considered on its own merits rather than waiting for it to fit in with another project.

8. There’s one a mile away (This isn’t even a joke, this has been suggested to someone)

If you wouldn’t expect any of your other customers to leave your premises to use a toilet, it is unreasonable to expect a disabled person to travel a mile to use one. 

Unless you don’t want them to stay long or return to spend money with you?

9. It is not appropriate for us to provide one

If you provide a toilet for other customers, it is entirely appropriate. 

10. The council / shopping mall / leisure centre should be providing one

Yes, they should be providing them as well.  

However, as you don’t expect them to provide a toilet for your other customers, it is not appropriate to expect them to provide facilities solely for disabled customers. 

People who require a bench and a hoist are customers first and foremost, they have money they wish to spend with you.

11. We have a baby changing facility

*bangs head against wall*

We’ve heard every excuse under the sun, but all over the UK, businesses are making a difference by providing these facilities and they are reaping the rewards. 

They are seeing customers return time and again, stay longer in their venues and spend more money with them.

They didn’t make excuses, they’ve done it not just because of the obvious financial gain, but because it’s the right thing to do.

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