Some of you may have read a previous blog I did
about Changing Places toilets. Well, today is Changing Places Awareness Day
and it would be remiss of me not to post about my favourite campaign!
The campaign began over 11 years ago because families were fed up (understandably) of having to choose between staying at home, limiting outings or changing someone on a dirty public toilet floor. I think you'd all agree that’s not a choice anyone should face, but sadly for over 1/4 million people in the UK this is a daily reality.
Changing Places toilets provide the equipment (a bench and hoist) and space that thousands of people to need to use the toilet in safety and with dignity.
When the campaign began there were just a handful of Changing Places toilets across the UK. Today, we registered the 1000th (and on Changing Places Awareness Day no less- it's almost as though it was planned…)!
This landmark has been made possible thanks to the tireless work of passionate campaigners who fight so hard to make incLOOsion a reality for everyone. They are spurred on because they are also the people who have faced the challenging and avoidable realities of life without Changing Places toilets.
Because of campaigners, thousands of people’s lives have changed for the better. Suddenly people are able to get out and support their football team, go to a theme park with their family, or just pop to the shops without having to worry about where their nearest toilet is. Changing Places toilets have also gone international with Germany, America, Australia and Canada all taking inspiration from the UK’s success and creating their own schemes.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have worked on the Changing Places campaign for almost 7 years now. Although getting 1000 Changing Places toilets feels like a huge achievement and one worth celebrating, it is also a reminder of how far we still have to go. Over 1/4 million need Changing Places toilets with a bench and hoist. That means there is just 1 toilet for every 24 people who need one...and that's only if you happen to be in an area that has one.
However, I know that thanks to the support of Changing Places campaigners we will continue to see more and more Changing Places toilets installed across the country.
From parents and families, to individuals with profound physical disabilities and complex needs, Changing Places campaigners are some of the most dedicated and passionate people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. It is thanks to their hard work that there has been such unprecedented nationwide change, and I know their continued support will ensure that one day soon everyone will be able to get out and about with the dignity they deserve.
I look forward to the day when access to Changing Places toilets is a right, not a fight.