Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College in Halifax recently opened its purpose-built learning centre for 16 to 19-year olds. The fully accessible centre currently has 56 students who have a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities. As part of the design of the building four personal hygiene suites were installed to ensure students requiring assistance with person care could be supported in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
The project from inception to completion has taken over 10 years and initially was the vision of Martin Moorman Headteacher, who supported by the staff team, local community and local business raised £1.8m towards the total cost of the build for the accessible centre. Julie Crabtree, Deputy Head took on the role of Project Manager and was responsible for all aspects of the internal fit out.
When it came to the personal hygiene suites, Julie researched various manufacturers and on finding Ropox knew she had found the best possible solution as she explains: “The look of the centre is very contemporary and I was determined to follow this through into the personal care suites as I did not want them looking clinical and unwelcoming. I wanted them to be stylish and of a high quality, as well as being fit for purpose, but not ordinary and I knew the Ropox products would help me achieve this”.
Julie contacted Ropox and Peter Davies visited the fully accessible centre to go through the different options available. Following several conversations, it was agreed that Ropox would supply a SwingLine wash basin and Toilet Lifter with support arms for one suite.
The unique design of the SwingLine wash basin enables it to swing 180˚ therefore allowing people with reduced mobility to position the wash basin in front of the toilet so they can wash their hands while seated as opposed to having to move across the room to a basin. As with all Ropox products, the Toilet Lifter has been designed with the user and carer in mind with a view to providing as much independence as possible. The Toilet Lifter gently lowers and raises the user to the optimum height for both them and their carer and is available with either manual or electric adjustment. To ensure high levels of infection control the basin and Toilet Lifter both feature an ergonomic design and smooth rounded edges to make cleaning as easy as possible.
In the three remaining suites, Ropox supplied manual height adjustable SupportLine wash basins which feature integrated hand grabs to assist people who may be able to stand to wash their hands but still require some support. To further assist students using the suites, Ropox installed support arms around each toilet which were complimented by toilet back rests.
Not only does each suite have the best possible toileting equipment. Some of the students have complex disabilities and can become quite anxious, to help alleviate it this, each suite has been fitted with special lighting systems which can be dimmed and brightened depending on who is using them. It has also been well proven that music can help people with some conditions to relax, so each suite has a music system which is linked up to a central communication hub, the students upload their play lists to the system and they can then play their own music when using the suite. To brighten up the suites, each room has a full-length mural along one wall, which in addition to adding some colour also helps distract the students with more complex issues when they are being supported with their personal needs.
“Everyone who sees the personal hygiene suites comments how they look nothing like a traditional disabled toilet. I could not have asked for anything more and most importantly, the students and staff absolutely love them and feel relaxed when using them” continued Julie.
During the build process, Julie dealt with many contractors while juggling a multitude of deadlines. “I can honestly say that Ropox were head and shoulders above all the other contractors in terms of reliability, eye for detail and support. When I gave Peter a date for installation, everything turned up on time and was exactly what we ordered and when they had been installed I was thrilled by the finish in all 4 suites, they were even better than I could have imagined. Since we opened, Peter has been the only contractor to keep in touch and check everything is OK and I cannot recommend him or Ropox highly enough,” concluded Julie.