Obvius Access

  Disability Access Consultants with a Balanced Approach

 

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Disability Access Sydney 0 Leeds 12

By John Bedwell   Obvius Access Consultants Sydney

 21st February 2013

 

 

 

This is our tale of two Cities. Firstly Australia’s largest City Sydney, my home town along with 4.6 million others, major international tourist destination with 7 million Domestic and 2.7 International each year.

Sydney is famous for its beaches and twin landmarks The Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. Our Harbour City boasts World locations, venues and Establishments such as:

  • The Sydney Opera House, Circular Key
  • Darling Harbour (Entertainment Centre, Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney Aquarium, and Star Casino)
  • Luna Park
  • Sydney International and Domestic Airports
  • Sydney Olympic Park (ANZ Stadium, Sydney Royal Easter Show)
  • Sydney Train Stations (Central, Town Hall, Martin Place)
  • Sydney Museums (The Australian, The Power House, and The National Maritime)
  • Sydney Beaches (Bondi, Manly and Coogee)

This Year Sydney was judged as one of the Worlds most liveable Cities by Organisations such as the EIU Global Liveability Report, Mercers Quality of Living Survey and Monocle life Style Magazine. Criteria for Sydney's top ten ranking being a combination of Good Health care, Education, Public Transport, Political and Economical Stability, Hygiene, Safety and Low Crime, Quality of Architecture, Recreation and Environment and Pro-Active Policy Development.

Yes Sydney has it all and something for everyone, except one thing “Changing Places Toilet Facilities” for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury. Changing places Toilets are different to Standard Accessible Toilets they have extra features such as, a height adjustable adult size changing bench, a tracking hoist system or mobile hoist, a centrally placed toilet with space either side for carers, and adequate floor space with size guidelines of 12 m2 (3m x 4m).

Look at our list of Iconic Sydney Locations, we are unaware of the provision of Changing places Toilet Facilities at any of these venues or Establishments. We seem to rank highly as a City for liveability and low for ChangeAbility.

Step forward The City of Leeds the Cultural, Financial heart of West Yorkshire, home of Headingley, Yorkshire Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos, Elland Road and Leeds United. The UK’S third largest and fastest growing City with a population of 726,000. Leeds is Located at the geographical centre of the UK and 201 miles North West of London. Famous people from Leeds include Peter O’Toole Actor notable for his film role in Lawrence Of Arabia, Pop Singer and Songwriter Melanie Brown (Mel B) and Ernie Wise from the famous comedy duo Morecombe and Wise.

 

You won’t find Leeds in “Mercers Quality of Living” Top Ten Cities in the World or Top 50 for that matter. Leeds is a City that cares about ChangeAbility, and providing its people with an Inclusive Accessible Environment though. The proof being that Leeds has managed to fund and build 11 Changing Places Toilet Facilities since 2010 despite Britain being in Recession, not only are there 12 Changing Places in Leeds there are a total of 28 Changing Places within a 10 mile radius surrounding Leeds in Places such as Bradford and Wakefield. They all deserve a mention so here goes the growing list of Changing Place Facilities in Leeds are as follows:

  • West Yorkshire PlayHouse (Theatre, Cafe and Bar)
  • Gallery Cafe & Shop (Central Library & Art Gallery)
  • Chevin Forest Park (wildlife Park with Cafe run by people with learning Difficulties)
  • The Reginald Centre (Health Centre, Council joint Service Centre)
  • Tiger 11 at Hillside (Conference Centre, Meeting Rooms Workshop & Cafes)
  • Tech North (Mixed used Building, Leeds City Council Offices & Training)
  • White Rose Shopping Centre ( Over 100 Stores)
  • John Charles Centre for Sport (Leisure & Sport Centre)
  • Headingley HEART (Enterprise & Art Centre)
  • Armley Leisure Centre ( Leisure & Sport Centre)
  • Temple Newsam (Historic House for functions, meetings events & family leisure Activities)
  • Morley Leisure Centre (Leisure & Sports Centre)

 

 

temple

 

Temple Newsam (above) provides the Public with a Changing Places Toilet Facility, other Changing Places Facilities within a 10 mile radius of Leeds include:

  • Field Co-Location Centre (Parenting & Youth Support Services) Birstall
  • Batley Town Hall (Concerts, Meetings & Events) Batley
  • Eccleshill Leisure Centre (Swimming & Fitness Centre) Batley
  • Sun Lane Leisure (Swimming & Fitness Centre) Wakefield
  • The Ridings Shopping Centre (Over 80 stores) Wakefield
  • Bowling Pool (Swimming Pool for users with impaired mobility) Bradford
  • Wakefield College, Thornes Park (Further Education College) Wakefield
  • City Park (Public Space for Carnivals, Markets, Festivals) Central Bradford
  • Lotherton Hall (Historic House for functions, meetings events & family leisure Activities) Aberford
  • Crow Nest Adventure Playground (Playground & Sports Facilities) Dewsbury
  • Bradford Central Library
  • University of Bradford
  • Carlisle Business Centre (Venue for Conference and events) Bradford
  • Wakefield College:Skills Exchange (Further Education College) Castleford
  • Mind the Gap Studios (Theatre Company that helps actors with learning Disabilities) Bradford
  • Junction 32 Outlet Shopping Village (Over 90 stores) Glasshoughton   

  

 

 

The West Yorkshire and Humber Region now truly leads the way for Changing Places Toilet Facilities in England with a grand total of 79.

As part of the ongoing Changing Places Campaign in the UK, Mencap made this video to promote awareness for Changing Places in 2009 at the time there were 85 Changing Places across the UK. Since then funds have been made available to build a further 365 in a relative short space of time. The message is simple and remains the same and now can be applied to Sydney.

 

 

Although Sydney seems to have “Dropped the Ball” in terms of “ChangeAbility”  progress has been made in Victoria  with a Changing Places Consortium being established to hopefully replicate the highly successful Changing Places Campaign in the UK. The Consortium consists of representatives from Maroondah City Council and Knox City Council, Gift Options Pty and the Association of Children with a Disability. At the present time there are 25 Changing Places Toilet Facilities in Victoria.

Advancements have also been made in South East Queensland with the ground breaking All Abilities Kurrawa Playground at Broadbeach providing the first Fully Accessible Changing Places Toilet Facility in Australia in 2010.

However it’s becoming clear that Australia is lagging behind most developed Nations in the treatment of Disabled People and now has significant opportunity to improve in Disability- Related Expenditure, Employment Performance and Relative Poverty.

 In Australia:

  • 1.3 Million people have a profound or Severe Disability
  • Each week 5 people sustain a Spinal Cord Injury
  • Each week 10 to 15 people sustain a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Every 2 hours a Child will be diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability
  • Every 7 hours a child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Every 15 hours a child is born with Cerebral Palsy 

Add to this the increasing "ageing population". This gives us good reason to make the call "It's time for Change", this can be done by funding, planning and Building Changing Places Toilet Facilities for the people that need them now and those that need them in the future.

    

 

 By John Bedwell 23rd February 2013

John Bedwell lives in Sydney he is the local director of the NSW Office of Accredited Disability Access Consultant Obvius Access. He has published numerous articles relating to Disability Discrimination and the need for better public and political awareness of the level of accessibility denial that exists in our communities today read more on www.accessconsultant.com.au

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