Gracious Street Methodist Church in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, comprises a nineteenth century hall and an adjacent modern church. It is a beautiful historic site that serves the town and its surrounding area. A movemanSKG platform lift ensures the church is accessible to less able visitors.
The church carried out a £1.4m refurbishment and modernisation project to open its premises up to the community. It installed a large fully-fitted hygienic kitchen, added new wheelchair-accessible toilets, and built an amalgamating link between the two buildings called ‘The Bridge’.
The Bridge is a large open plan area with informal seating, a meeting room, vestry and an office. In addition a new purpose-built public coffee bar offers food and beverages three days a week.
The Bridge connects the hall and the church but the two buildings reside on different levels, which people move between via a short flight of stairs. Stairs obstruct wheelchair users as well as others with mobility problems, and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires service providers like churches to provide alternative access routes.
Gracious Street Methodist Church consulted movemanSKG, which has over twenty-five years experience in the platform lift industry. It recommended Prestige, a highly popular model that lifts 400kg up to thirteen metres. This newly installed unit travels between the hall, and The Bridge’s upper floor where visitors can find a Changing Places toilet and other meeting rooms.
"Prestige has an attractive cream finish, which means it blends handsomely with the surroundings" says Eleanor Borkett, Property Officer at Gracious Street Methodist Church. "Some of the more mature members of our congregation were very nervous about using the lift to start with. However, its user-friendly nature and super smooth ride soon overcame their fears! We are trying to encourage members of the community to use the premises more often and welcome less able visitors. Prestige allows wheelchair users to move around the building independently."
The church’s lift stands in its own integral shaft and features a large platform, which has room for a wheelchair user plus two carers. CE approved, it meets all European safety regulations and has tactile illuminated control buttons that people can operate independently.
Prestige is Local Authority National Type Approval Confederation (LANTAC) accredited, which means it complies with building regulations. This eliminates red tape associated with obtaining planning permission from town and county council’s - a real timesaver for architects and building contractors! Prestige comes with a twelve month guarantee and three inclusive service visits in the first year of ownership.