Registered Changing Places toilet opens at Winchester Science Centre – for all who need it

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium has opened a new registered Changing Places toilet in time for October half-term.

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Changing Places is an essential toilet facility for many people with disabilities and this one is available 24/7, accessed via a NKS radar key.

There are only two other registered Changing Places in the Winchester district although at the Science Centre, the onsite accessible car parking makes it easily accessible from the A31, A34 and M3.

The installation of Changing Places at Winchester Science Centre is part of the educational charity’s mission to make science available to all children and become the most accessible science centre experience in the UK.

“One in five people in the UK have a disability, impairment or illness that significantly impacts their lives, and the lives of their families.” said Ben Ward, CEO of Winchester Science Centre. “We passionately believe that science should be for all and we have made a firm commitment to improve the accessibility of the Science Centre to create a more inclusive experience for our visitors.”

Earlier this year, the Science Centre unveiled their re-imagined planetarium, which was the first major milestone on its journey to becoming the UK’s leading science centre for promoting inclusivity. Visitors are now able to experience subtitled shows, personalised audio tracks and 3D printed tactile resources, enabling people with hearing and visual impairments to better share their planetarium experience alongside family and friends.

Further developments include the introduction of regular quiet hours, relaxed shows, bookable sensory backpacks and a disability-confident staff team.

The Science Centre is also preparing to reveal exciting plans to re-develop the upper floor to create a new multi-sensory STEM exhibition, accessible welcome area, café and shop.

The installation of Changing Places was made possible by a grant from Enterprise M3 LEP, which also supported the upgraded Planetarium.

Changing Places are larger than a standard accessible toilet, with extra equipment such as a height adjustable changing bench and hoist as well as enough space for a disabled person and up to two carers.

For more details about accessibility at Winchester Science Centre visit: https://www.winchestersciencecentre.org/accessibility/