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Did you know that only 15 cinemas in the UK have a registered Changing Places toilet?
Given the large number of cinema sites across the country, that figure is incredibly small. By not including a Changing Places facility, venues are making it incredibly difficult for those with complex disabilities and their families to visit and watch a film at the cinema.
Not only does this fail to provide an inclusive environment, cinemas are missing out on the benefits of the ‘Purple Pound’, the increasing spending power of disabled people.
This blog looks at how many cinemas have a Changing Places, assessing the current landscape for Changing Places users, the challenges they currently face, and how suppliers can support venues to increase Changing Places provision across the UK.
According to the UK Cinema Association, there are 846 cinema sites across the UK, which house around 4,637 individual screens. Given the fact that the number of cinema sites across the UK has risen from 3,858 in 2012 to 4,637 in 2022, you would have thought we’d have also seen a sharp increase in accessible toileting provision.
Sadly, the number of registered Changing Places in the UK stands at 15. Not only is this number shockingly low, it also highlights the urgent need for action.
We know that under Document M and BS 8300-2:2018 building regulations, it is now mandatory to include a 4m x 3m Changing Places toilet in theatres/cinemas with more than 350 fixed seats if normally seated. This applies to new buildings or those subject to a material change of use.
However, for existing venues, a lot more needs to be done to help them include Changing Places toilets.
When it comes to entertainment venues, access for 14.1 million disabled people in the UK remains a major issue. Whether it is checking for wheelchair ramps, width of doorways or adequate accessible toilet facilities, those with complex disabilities and their families face the arduous job of having to plan in advance their visit to an entertainment venue.
If a venue fails to have the necessary facilities in place, it deters those with profound and multiple learning disabilities from visiting. They need to have the confidence that a venue has the facilities in place to enable them to visit and enjoy a show or activity, just like anyone else.
Venues also run the risk of missing out on the benefits of the ‘Purple Pound’. Thought to be worth around £249 billion, the estimated spending power of disabled households (disabled people and their families) in the UK is a relatively untapped market.
By ensuring your entertainment venue, like a cinema, includes the correct levels of accessible facilities, you will increase footfall and income, with disabled consumers far more likely to return if the effort is made to simplify the buying process for them.
Without support from an approved supplier, many cinemas currently face a number of challenges to incorporate accessible facilities with their venues. As highlighted in our blog on ‘Changing Places Installation Considerations’, venues need to ensure they have the right space, location and equipment to deliver a fully accessible and compliant facility for visitors.
In the case for cinemas, they face issues around limited internal space, building regulations and trying to find ways to minimise disruption for customers attending their venue. Any noise generated from building works can have a detrimental impact on customer’s experience, so finding ways to carry out work quickly and quietly is essential.
As mentioned above, the challenges facing cinemas to make their venues more accessible can be daunting, especially if you haven’t installed a Changing Places before. Luckily, there are a number of approved supplier like Innova, who have the experience and expertise to help you overcome those problems.
On-site disruption is always a concern for any business, whether that is noise or dust caused by building and installation works. By using suppliers who install Changing Places on a daily basis, they can provide cost-effective and time-saving solutions.
For instance, when Innova helped Odeon Cinema in Milton Keynes with an internal Changing Places, they put a work schedule in place to ensure all work was carried out at night between 11pm and 5am, ensuring their customer’s cinema experience wasn’t affected by noise.
Where an existing venue has insufficient space to install an internal Changing Places, there is the option of installing a modular facility. Already pre-fabricated, modular Changing Places can be installed in half a day in an external location, such as a car park, to allow venues to provide accessible toilet facilities for disabled users.
Watch our video below to see how modular Changing Places can improve accessibility for your venue.
The fact that there are only 15 registered Changing Places toilet in the UK is pretty shocking. Thousands of individuals with complex disabilities, as well as their families, are currently prevented and put off from attending their local cinema simply because venues aren’t catering for their needs.
Through the guidance of an approved supplier like Innova, cinemas can get the knowledge they need to change that. Whether it using experts who can help minimise disruption onsite to incorporating modular toilet facilities, the solutions are out there for venues to become more inclusive.
If your venue needs advice to design and install a Changing Places toilet, complete the form below to get support from the Innova Changing Places team.