28 Oct Family-friendly change rooms: a must in your leisure centre
In many leisure centre and aquatic centres, families and children make up a majority of the customer base. So making sure that they are properly catered for is so imperative to the success of your centre.
There has been a lot of talk in the industry as to how to properly upgrade your leisure centre to cater to families and children of all ages and sizes. The problem is many community leisure centres have been built in decades where less consideration was given to the diversity of members walking through the doors and using the facility.
The facilities, particularly those with pools, really only provided a male and female change rooms without much consideration to children and which change room they should be using at what age.
Given that the majority of leisure centres are government-owned or community run, funds can be tight when it comes to big upgrades and it can be costly to the centre to have any down-time on facilities. It can be difficult for a leisure centre to upgrade their facilities to meet the diversity-considerate standards of 2019. It can also be very costly to upgrade change room facilities, which is one of the main hurdles centre’s face. However, where possible a leisure facility should be working towards an alternative to suit the changing needs of their family-oriented customers.
Sports and Recreation Victoria released a design guide to help leisure and recreation centres get their facility up to scratch with modern family-friendly requirements.
The guide states that family change rooms with adequate accessible toilets and change facilities should be available for families with up to several young children. This is a more ideal situation than a parent taking their young children into the male or female only change rooms among other adults who may not be as considerate of children.
The facilities are also not often suitable for a child. The toilets are too large, and the wash basin and soap too high up to reach. A family-friendly change room would provide a children’s specific toilet and washing facilities, as well as showers large enough for two people, such as a parent and child.
The guide identifies something that is under debate in the industry, and that is if it is acceptable to bring children into a male or female change facility, and at what age it is inappropriate to bring a child of the opposite sex into the change facility. While there may be no easy answer, a family friendly change facility for children of all ages, until they reach their teens at least, offers a welcome compromise.