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Stephen Reynolds, Health and Safety Manager at Lazarou Salon & Barbers in Duke Street Arcade, explains the steps Lazarou have taken to make their store more accessible:
As many readers may know the Disability Discrimination Act (2004) brought in legislation which amongst other points sought to provide inclusive access for people to all service providers including cafes, libraries, pubs, post offices and shops.
We at Lazarou Salon & Barbers identified a significant amount of potential space available within our three floor salon in Cardiff’s Duke Street Arcade which follows the design of traditional barbers and hairdressers.
Although we have a small number of clients using wheelchairs, they tend to be clients who want a ‘traditional’ barber cut. However, it became increasingly apparent that a number of potential clients were not being catered for.
As mentioned previously, being in an historic part of the city we needed to be mindful of significant structural changes of the building being undertaken and, amongst our design options we looked at wash basins with and without integral seating. (Integral seating is arguably the industry default).
Adequate water supply and drainage needed consideration in an area where none existed. Several designs and layouts were explored before choosing the right combination.
Having engaged the services of a local plumber and heating engineer, who did a marvellous job, we had the equipment installed on our ground floor. This entailed a degree of logistical tinkering and a Health and Safety assessment as the salon remained open whilst the plumbing and equipment was installed.
Prior to all of this contacted a number of people /organizations who are engaged with championing disability awareness and advocacy in Wales.
We were delighted when Mike O’Brien (Unpaid Carers’ Representative, Cardiff and Vale Regional Partnership Board) agreed to visit the salon and give us his time, experience and perspective on what we had done and how we could progress our work and services.
Having rehearsed for a wheelchair with a client we were delighted when not long after installation a ‘live’ client using a powered wheelchair agreed to ‘test drive’ our stand-alone basin to give a further perspective on the equipment and layout.
They found they were able to manoeuvre themselves to the backwash and had no problem in receiving a full hair shampoo and conditioning treatment.
Additionally, if a person finds it uncomfortable to sit back for a hair wash the stand-alone unit affords the possibility to face toward and over the sink for a hair wash either standing or sitting.
We also found that several of our existing clients have taken advantage of our ground floor facilities. We know that not everyone with mobility challenges uses a wheelchair so we hope that our new facilities appeal to a variety of people who may wish to avoid stairs.
Some of our clients in wheelchairs have independently accessed the salon, however others have been accompanied by a companion or carer.
In conversation with Mike O’Brien and others who receive or provide care, our new ground floor facilities provide the opportunity for both people (carer and ‘caree’) to enjoy a visit to a salon in the same environment and share the experience.
We are unaware of another salon in Cardiff city centre which has the choice of facilities we now offer. We believe that we not only provide something that is arguably unique but also something that other salons may wish to emulate.
To find out more about Lazarou Salon & Barbers and book an appointment please visit www.lazarouhairsalons.co.uk