Pop up toilets with a hoist and changing bench – Part 1

This month we invited companies to tell us about their alternative solutions for venues who want to provide accessible toilet solutions for people who need a changing bench and/or hoist.

This week features MigLoo … and here is what they told us.


MigLoo

Summary

  • Mobile, set up/take down system as and when required.
  • Three types (MigLoo Freedom, MigLoo Festival and Naked MigLoo)
  • A gantry hoist system with a changing bed and camping technology for sink/toilet supply.
  • Cost: £6000 to purchase.
  • Hiring options.
  • Website: www.migloo.co.uk
  • Contact: Leave a message or telephone us on 07789 147663.

Where did the idea come from?

Director John Robinson’s concern at the difficulty people experience in finding suitable facilities. He started out by inventing a mobile Changing Place for Andy Loo’s in 2006. He got one of the very first Changing Places Awards during the launch of the Changing Places campaign at the Tate Modern, in 2006. John then realized there was a huge need for facilities that people could take with them. This gave him the idea of inventing an inexpensive yet completely versatile and fully mobile solution to these needs. This led to the three products we have today.

John was inspired by people with profound disabilities’ character and their neglected situation, which still continues today. He still feels that ‘we can do better than this!’

Why do these facilities make such a difference and what do customers and users think of them? 

Operation with MigLoo’s mean that facilities can be put where people need them, rather than having to seek them out. They also are low cost making it easy for people to make those ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ required under the Equality Act.

Users of the facilities (which means carers as well as wheelchair occupants) are delighted by the MigLoo’s and often moved emotionally that they can stay for a full event or that someone has bothered to provide what they need. We’re deeply moved by this and extremely motivated to develop MigLoo’s and the many other inventions in the pipeline.

How long have you been running and where are you based?

We started off in 2005 when John Robinson gave up his job running Pershore Day Care Centre to develop his inventions. Co-director John Morgan joined him in 2009 and the parent company, Protorus Solutions Ltd, was formed in 2014. However, the current MigLoo operation commenced in late 2017. The entire MigLoo manufacturing, production and operation is based in Pinvin, in darkest Worcestershire.

How many types of arrangement do you have and what areas do you cover?

We cover the whole of the UK with sales. We prefer businesses and organisations to buy MigLoo’s because of their very low cost. However, we also make some MigLoo Festivals available for hire when we have the capacity to do so.

There are 3 MigLoos

Migloo Freedom

The MigLoo Freedom (above) is 2m x 3m and has a changing bed, gantry with hoist and tent to cover. This means it is small and light and can be erected on fairly level sites by 2 people virtually anywhere.Migloo Festival

The MigLoo Festival is 4.5m x 3m and is an accredited Changing Place. It has everything that other Changing Places have, including a sink, water from a tap and a loo. It is self-sufficient, being independent of mains water or electricity, using camping technologies, which make it incredibly flexible and cost effective.Naked MigLoo

The Naked MigLoo is simply the MigLoo Festival without the tent structure. What we are doing here is providing pop-up Changing Place facilities that can be put into an empty suitable room ANYWHERE!

From businesses through shopping malls, supermarkets, museums, local authorities, empty shops on High Streets – essentially opening up huge amounts of otherwise redundant spaces into accredited Changing Places for profoundly disabled people to use.

We’re seeing this as a temporary solution to the lack of facilities; they are low cost making them a very reasonable adjustment and helping to prove the need for permanent facilities to be installed.

We also realize that MigLoo’s can also enable organizations to find the optimum site for a Changing Place, thus avoiding the embarrassing situation that some businesses/authorities have made in putting them in locations that few will use! Because of their extremely low cost, Naked MigLoo’s are also perfect “standby” Changing Places for when the permanent Changing Place breaks down.

  • A Naked MigLoo takes only 30 minutes to be erected and become fully operational.

Can they be installed/hired for a few days or nights?

Yes. We will hire them out for anything from 1 night to many, although installing at a great distance simply isn’t feasible or cost effective as it would be too expensive for a relatively short period.

Does anyone stay with the set up to help learn how to use that particular hoist/gantry or empty commodes etc?

No, not really. The equipment is easy to use and we make sure hirers are trained, thus having someone who can advise on hand when folk use it. We sort the waste out.

Can any disabled person or carer use your facilities or are they only for hoist/bench users (and their carers/assistants)?

This is really for the event organizers. The Elsan loo we have has armrests and a backrest and is designed for those who need support, but there are not the grab rails you would find in an ordinary wheelchair loo. The organisers may well feel that users with profound disabilities should have priority and should not have to wait for someone in a wheelchair, who has an alternative loo.

For people who might use them, would they be allowed to leave their sling with you in a locker or do they need to carry it around the venue?

They would need to take the sling around with them, as we have no locker, but it is something we could consider. By the way, it is looped slings that fit our hoists. This is because most people use this type. We could cater for clipped systems, but this would need advance notice and be a little more expensive (as they are not used very much).

What types of venues have you been to and how do people know if you are attending?

Here’s a list of what we’ve done so far; Fun Days in a football club, Fetes, Disability Awareness Days, Children’s Play Schemes, College Events, Exhibitions, School Events, International Theatre, Conferences, 7 day Festivals….. We put the events on our website and social media and make sure the organisers advertise that a Changing Place will be available; after all; ‘If you billed it they will come’ – but not if they don’t know about it!

If I wanted one for a day at my event/venue, what space would I need and where is the best place to have one e.g. inside the event, in the car park etc.

The MigLoo Freedom is 2m x 3m, the MigLoo Festival 3m x 4.5m but some space is needed around the structure for guide ropes if it is windy. It is best to put the facility as near to where it is needed where people are, rather than making them have to go some distance away (it’s often hard work wheel chairing!).

Do I need a permit or special insurance to have one near/in my event?

No, though we would ask that you insure the facility, just to cover any damage. Our parent company, Protorus Solutions Ltd carries £10m in public liability insurance.

How can people find out the cost of hiring a Migloo arrangement and attendant?

Just go on our website www.migloo.co.uk and leave a message or telephone us on 07789 147663. We don’t provide an attendant as this will push the costs way up and normally the event puts someone in charge. Carer’s also know what they need to do when they see the very familiar set up inside the MigLoo. We could consider this, however, and supply an attendant if necessary.

What do you hope for the future of Migloo?

Simply to support as many people that need it as quickly as possible. There is a desperate need in the UK for these facilities as we have all seen in recent national TV and other media coverage. Our MigLoo family offer real “reasonable adjustment” and the Naked MigLoo is potentially a game changer, changing many many lives for the better, once it has become more recognized. We would also like the low cost MigLoo concept to be taken on by the “event loo” industry in the UK and make it available to other countries. As MigLoo grows, we will employ staff to run the operation.

Can people find you on social media?

Yes, on

Twitter @MigLoo4U #GotaRoom4CP

Facebook : MigLoo4u LinkedIn :      www.linkedin.com/company/migloo

Poo at the zoo.

This week is Love your Zoo Week run by BIAZA. The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland.

Baby elephant
Chester Zoo
 
1.3 million people visit member organisations every year. Only a small percentage are disabled people and their friends/families because few venues provide toilet facilities with 

  1. a hoist and changing bench, 
  2. space for modern wheelchairs or 
  3. one that is fully equipped for able wheelchair users and those with other impairments e.g. Bowel/bladder disorders, autism, mental ill health, epilepsy, obesity, shortened height.

 BIAZA members contribute over £650 million to the national economy.

If the venue doesn’t provide a hoist or height adjustable toilet, this means a lot of people can’t visit. People with poor balance, weak legs or arms may not be able to stand up from an accessible seat. 

People with muscle and nerve disorders, balance or co ordination difficulties or frailty from old age may need this equipment.  They may not necessarily use a wheelchair.  

There are no height adjustable toilets in any zoo, aquariums or wildlife parks in the UK.

If standing up from the loo (or standing by the loo) is impossible, such individuals have to be lifted up / carried in the arms of relatives or find a toilet with a hoist and changing bench. Wheelchair users with weak arms/legs also need hoist facilities.

Hoist, toilet and changing bench
Chester Zoo

There are a number of zoos etc who provide such essential equipment and the space to use it. 

These are:

  • Marwell Zoo (first in UK to equip toilets for all visitors)
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens
  • Blair Drummond Safari Park
  • Tilgate Park
  • Chester Zoo
  • Chessington World of Adventures Resort
  • Tropical Wings Zoo (opening soon)
  • Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park
  • Colchester Zoo
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Park (hoist and toilet)
  • Wingham Wildlife Park
  • Pili Palas Nature World
  • Camperdown Wildlife Centre (opening soon)
  • Edinburgh Zoo (hires in a bed and hoist for 1 week per year)
  • Whipsnade

(List excludes bird and wildlife reserves and parks/forests).

Possible future venues:

  • Living Coasts
  • Paignton Zoo
  • Newquay Zoo
  • Twycross Zoo
  • London (only hoist and bench currently – no toilet)

Specifically stating no hoist facilities:

  • Woburn Safari Park

However, there are over 100 venues who do not offer usable toilet facilities – not even for people who don’t use a hoist.

Why do they exclude disabled people?

Changing Places low usage?

Gill, a fellow toileteer, had a couple of questions – which I felt might be a useful topic to take a look at. Here is the first one:

Changing Places: Changing places room is greatly needed and appreciated by users, but it would appear that in general they get very little use. I believe that this is partly due to signage. The facility might appear on an app but once in the building there may be poor directions. Also once found they might well be locked and someone has to go on a key hunt. Apparently some providers are closing them as they have never been used, and the average usage is once every six months. There’s been a suggestion that they could become a more multi use facility? eg first aid room; baby changing room for a disabled parent. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Changing Places and similar toilets are very valuable. However, imagine you’re a shop or tourist attraction who has invested thousands in providing a large fully accessible toilet with a hoist and bench… only to find it’s rarely used. A waste of money, you say angrily, as you knock it down to make way for valuable retail space. 

Aghhhhh. What went wrong?

We can break down some of the key reasons as to why they are at risk of being underused.

1) The toilet is not signposted within the venue or town.

I’m a CP toilet user and so many times I find there is no signposting. I know from the CP map that the venue has one … but it’s not on any venue map, booklet, and no directions given from public toilet blocks. (O2 Arena, Bluewater Shopping Centre and my local town come personally to mind). 

  • If you don’t tell people where it is then they won’t use it!

Yesterday I looked at the CP map and saw Toddingto Services had one … I went in only to find it was on the northbound side and I was southbound. Whilst it’s on the Google map section of the CP map, the description didn’t indicate which side!

2) The toilet isn’t called a Changing Places. 

Staff might not know that a Changing Places toilet might be labelled, in their venue, as a ‘high dependency unit’ , ‘Space to Change’, ‘Hoist assisted toilet’, ‘Adult Changing Room’ etc. as there is no official standard name.  People who use these toilets might not realise to look/ask for alternative names. (Bluewater/O2 Arena / mobile units come to mind).

In Lincoln castle they have a hoist … but they just call it ‘the accessible toilet’.  No mention of it on their visitor literature!

  • Staff training can help.

3) Location, location, location

These toilets might be a significant investment … so location is critical. Even if a large venue has a CP toilet, if you have to walk for 30 minutes to reach it, you might not use it. Maidstone has one in its council building – great only it’s over 30 minutes fast walk uphill from the museum, theatre, main shopping area etc. It’s quicker for me to drive home!! 

  • Toilets need to be central to the action.

Yesterday I was at Chester Zoo. It’s a huge venue. I was a long way away from the CP toilet (about 600 metres) and it was back in the direction we had come from, so I used a basic loo. Does that count as none use or just my personal choice and need for the loo quicker than we could reach it?  The location is good though and well signposted – in fact I’d say in this instance 2-3 toilets would all be used well. 

  • Sometimes too few CP toilets or wrong locations can risk low overall use.

4) How is use being monitored?

Unless a person has to request one to be opened or someone is constantly watching the entrance (and this is being recorded) then usage monitoring might not be happening.  Use might be ‘guessed’ by  something as simple as ‘the bed paper roll’ still looks full or ‘the toilet roll hadn’t gone down in months’.

These methods have obvious flaws.  Thinking of the many CP toilets I have used, only 1 was visible by staff at a reception desk (who had other work to do rather than to vigilantly act as official toilet monitor). How can venues say with certainty if they are being used or not? 

Do cleaners make notes if it looks ‘used’? 

Most are ‘just toilets’ with no special key  and might be used for clothing changes or something which wouldn’t leave any dent in the toilet roll. I often use my own specialist wipes that are flushable – so you’ll never know I’ve been in.

Could they have other uses?

Thinking about secondary uses, the two obvious choices are noted by Gill. A first aid room or for wheelchair accessible baby changing.

The latter could be problematic in that parents using chairs are likely to need to sit under the changing table area to access their baby and CP benches are not open underneath. A height adjustable baby changing table might be an option that could fit in the full size CP toilet to assist disabled parents.

What about using it as a first aid room? There is nothing in health and safety legislation to suggest that a toilet space can not be a first aid room. However, whether someone would want to be treated in a room with a toilet nearby could be a problematic.  Hygiene and infection control may be an issue and CP benches are often just a shower trolley – not meant for laying on for a prolonged period and not that comfy.  There is also the consideration of what you would do if the room is being used and you needed the toilet or someone needed first aid. How likely this is to occur will depend on many factors. Location of the toilet and size may influence any decision to have a multi use room. For small to medium stores etc, multi use may be worth considering with the addition of a chair and first aid cabinet/wall mounted kit. 

Let a toilet be a toilet 

I see a simple solution. You don’t HAVE to use a bench or hoist to use the facility. Why not just have it as a toilet for use by anyone who would normally need an accessible toilet? Do disabled people in general know they can use it? 

Currently building regulations say that venues need a standard wheelchair accessible toilet  … and CP toilets are additional. 

Well perhaps this should change  – the only difference would be a finger wash basin near the toilet (and this could be fitted in a CP toilet as a moveable / swing out basin perhaps). That way one toilet suitable for all could be provided. Even going as far as enabling parents with children in prams to use the room in smaller venues where low use might be a financial issue? 

Maybe, in small venues, we need to start providing shared facilities that serve more than just disabled hoist/bench users. 

Time for a Change?


The campaign for toilets with an adult bench, hoist and space for 2 carers resulted in the Changing Places Consortium being formed 10 years ago.

Whilst significant campaigning (largely by individuals with varying styles and mostly by parents) has resulted in the provision of over 850 of these toilets, we wondered whether it’s time for a change? 

Campaign success?

There is no single campaign or campaign  strategy for changing places – individuals can do whatever they want. This makes the campaigns disjointed and dilutes or replicates efforts. You see this regularly across the multitude of social media accounts/Facebook Pages and private blogs identifying themselves as campaigners using the CP symbol. Whilst Aveso and the Consortium generate information sheets and ‘Selfie Kits’ etc … there is a blurring of who or what is the ‘official’ approach. 

Protecting young people

Take the recent episode of parents who collected and posted pictures on the Internet of children (and other people’s children and young adults) on the toilet floor, face showing and wearing incontinence pads. Young people unable to consent to this undignified use of their image. If a school or care business did this it would be a serious child protection and human rights issue. However, when I raised this as a concern the Consortium said parent campaigners are not affiliated with them and can do as they wish. This didn’t stop their official social media accounts from sharing the images.  Mixed messages ensued across multiple Internet forums. The rights of the child were lost amidst the the cause, angering many disabled people.

Would not the responsible approach be to support campaigners with training in methods and ideas which protect the privacy and dignity of children? Just because dignity was lost in being on the floor doesn’t mean the indignity should be extended by their image being shared.  Is this the sort of campaign that can only achieve success by using increasingly shocking images? Thankfully many people did indeed use their creativity and there has been a reduction in the use of children as dignity martyrs – and so individual efforts continue and the campaign actively promotes them. 

Pen v. sword?

Individuals can approach companies in any way they want ranging from polite letters and personal conversations to social media harassment. 

It is likely that as much harm as good has been done with these tactics which has divided campaigners for toilet equality.  How can you have a meaningful, positive conversation when the previous contact they had with a campaigner was focusesd on personal anger, emotion and frustration. 

It’s easy to get angry when you have struggled that day in a cramped toilet and are gathering up your evidence to make a complaint or have ‘that’ conversation. You want to throw the book at them, yell at them. You want to drag them into the toilet and make them see what you have to go through. You want them to empathise and make things right – but all you get is a ‘sorry you were unconvenienced’ letter to fuel the next stage of complaint. 

It’s hard not to let personal emotions damage your chances of negotiating an agreement to provide a toilet you and thousands of others can use. However, we have to remain polite, persistent, factual and professional. Unfortunately not all campaigners do – and that’s a big problem.

Time to rename and rebrand?

Many have kept their distance or tried to move things on locally. There have been issues with Changing Places being built that fall short of the recommended guidelines of 12 sq metres. That said it is a guideline. Some felt a smaller room was acceptable and out sprang the Space to Change campaign with its own logo. Then things became problematic with determining which ones were listed on the CP toilet map.

Recently a local campaign for a new branding of ‘Hoist Assisted Toilets’ has gathered momentum. In fact, one of the problems with the CP toilet was that they were very focused on the needs of people who used incontinence pads. This alienated (in name and focus) people who were continent but needed a hoist or those who needed a bit more space or other equipment. People didn’t like asking for a Changing Place due to the remaining stigma of incontinence. 


This has led to CP toilets being called other names including ‘high dependency unit’, ‘Space to Change’, ‘Adult Changing Room’ etc. It’s confusing and has resulted in staff and visitors talking cross purposes and toilets not being found.  If there was a single campaign with good leadership, one name, one symbol and one strategy then we might have more of these toilets.

The future of toilets 

The result of the above could indicate that change is needed in many areas if we are to benefit from more Changing Places toilets in the UK.

Hoist petition – don’t forget the loo!

  
This is the bathroom in the last Premier Inn in Lincoln (above) that I stayed in last year. The design is the newest room module with a bathroom large enough for a portable hoist or over toilet chair. Most older modules have no hoist space.

The bedroom had two single beds and hoist space. Sounds great …. only some travelers would find it easier to not have to carry around / pack a large hoist or toilet chair.

The Ceiling Hoist User Club has a list of hotels in the UK with hoists but they are few and far between.

This Petition to Premier Inn and others is ten months old but the issues are still relevant and worth signing.

What about the toilet?

However, consideration would be needed because current module room layouts would generally not enable a ceiling hoist to access the toilet (and not all travellers want to, or can, take a toilet chair or commode).

If you need a hoist in the bedroom then you will need it in the bathroom too. 

Holiday Inn have some ceiling hoists over the bed … but not over the toilet. No use to people like me.

In the hotel entrance/restaurant or business meeting areas … guess what, no hoist over the loo.

I have MD and peer support events are held at these hotel chains … only I can’t go because of no hoist to use the toilet.

Other considerations 

In rooms,  profiling beds may be required for those who can not get into a hoist sling laying down. 

Access needs to be built in from the start to enable the most people to benefit. 

Isn’t it time for Premier Inn, Travel Lodge and Holiday Inn to develop new types of rooms and guest toilets, accessible to all and to higher access standards?