Friday 9 March 2018
New Zealand’s first Changing Places facility will be formally opened at Hamilton Gardens next Monday.
Changing Places are high-specification facilities designed and built to cater to the needs of people with significant physical impairments. Features include mechanical hoists and adult-sized changing tables, and more space around items such as toilets and sinks, as well as wide doors.
Inspired by her profoundly disabled daughter Charley, Jenn Hooper entered a partnership with Hamilton City Council to design and construct a Changing Places at Hamilton Gardens, the region’s most popular visitor attraction. It has been constructed near the gardens’ Destination Playground.
Jenn has been working toward construction of New Zealand’s first Changing Places facility for several years.
Hamilton Gardens Director Peter Sergel says construction of the Changing Places began in late 2017, and it is an important addition to what the gardens already offers.
“We’re very pleased to see this come to fruition,” Dr Sergel says. “This Changing Places facility will cater not only for the needs of Gardens visitors, but also visitors to the city with special needs. Hamilton will be the first city to offer this type of public facility.”
A mural depicting garden scenes covers the interior walls and ceiling of the facility.
The Changing Places facility will be formally opened by Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero on 12 March at 2.30pm.
Changing Places was first established in the United Kingdom 11 years ago, where there are now more than 1000 facilities of this kind nationwide.