Downton School in Wiltshire is now able to accommodate children with mobility problems thanks to the installation of a new platform lift by the UK's leading supplier, Movement Management.
The lift was installed as part of the Governments Schools Access Initiative (SAI). A £100 million, three year programme which supports capital projects to help local education authorities throughout the UK improve access to mainstream schools for pupils with disabilities.
Changes in Government legislation means that schools are now included in the Disability Discrimination Act. The SAI was therefore created to make the necessary funds available to specific state schools such as Downton so necessary modifications could be undertaken to improve physical access.
Downton School which currently has 358 pupils was awarded funds for the installation of Movement Managements Companion Prestige lift.
Paul Howell, Contracts Administrator at Wiltshire County Council who was responsible for overseeing the project says: "Most of the buildings at the school are only one storey so access isn't a problem, however one of the buildings which houses classrooms and the library is three storeys high, which obviously necessitated the installation of the lift. We chose Movement Management to supply the lift, because after much research, we found that they were the only company able to supply a platform lift that could travel up to three storeys."
In order to save space, store rooms located next to a flight of stairs at the buildings entrance were converted to accommodate the new lift shaft. The platform lift is a totally self-contained unit, so the builders only had to cut out spaces in the first and second floors to accommodate the shaft.
Powered by a 240v power supply, the Companion Prestige can carry a maximum load of 400kg, and has a platform dimension of 1100m x 1500mm providing plenty of room for a wheelchair passenger and attendant.
Paul Howell says: "In addition to being the only company to provide a platform lift that can travel to three levels, we also found Movement Management products to be extremely good quality and very competitively priced. However, the most important deciding factor in choosing a Movement Management lift was safety. By specifying the Prestige we could rest assured that the lift met all the relevant European safety standards and codes, including Part M of the UK building regulations."
The Companion Prestige was installed at the school during the summer holidays, and Paul How ell was particularly impressed by the service provided by Movement Management.
"Movement Management provided a highly professional service from start to finish" he says "in addition to ensuring the installation was quick and trouble free, the companies engineers were also extremely co-operative to work with."
Mike Sparks, Headteacher at the school is also delighted with the new lift: "As the school was already fitted with ramps and disabled toilet facilities, together with a very old inadequate lift, we have been able to accommodate children with mobility problems" he says. "However, we are sure that the new lift will make a real difference and both pupils and staff are looking forward to welcoming even more children in the locality, who might not otherwise have had the opportunity of learning in mainstream education."