The power of the people should never be underestimated.

This is especially true when it comes to campaigning for the provision of accessible toilets.

And we don't just mean toilets that are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

We mean toilets that provide two key pieces of equipment - a height adjustable changing bench and an overhead hoist. 

Campaigners up and down the country have faced every excuse possible as to why venues CANNOT provide these two key pieces of equipment.

Yet, they don't stop in their endeavours to ensure that their children's and relative's toileting needs are met away from home. Not just benefiting their loved ones but the hundreds of thousands people who need these two vital pieces of equipment.

Campaigning doesn't always mean taking to the streets with placards and megaphones. For these campaigners it's more about the effective use of social media, endless emails and phonecalls, shared experiences and photographs lots and lots of photographs. 

It's their tenacity that has resulted in some of the biggest wins in bench and hoist provision in toilets up and down the United Kingdom and for that they should be applauded.

So here's the low down on the famous faces in the world of accessible toilet campaiging.

1. Sarah Brisidon 

Sarah is based in Southampton and is mum to twins Hadley and Erica.

Hadley has cerebral palsy and through their blog Hadley's Heroes, Sarah and Hadley campaign for bench and hoist equipment to be included in public toilets as well as recognising venues that already do as a Hadley Hero.

Two of Hadley's most recent heroes are Longdown Farm and Portsmouth International Port.

Check out the Hadley's Heroes website or follow them on Facebook.

2. Laura Moore

Laura is better known as Mum on a Mission and you can catch up with her here or follow her on Facebook.

Laura is mum to William who has cerebral palsy and is passionate about the fact that disabled people shouldn't have their access to the world limited by the barriers non disabled people have put in place.

She has featured on Channel 4's No Go Britain, the Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror raising awareness of the need for bench and hoist equipment.

At present she is focussing her efforts on Marks and Spencer and Next.

3. Rachel George 

Rachel hit the headlines in 2016 with the remarkable transformation of an existing disabled toilet into a Changing Places toilet in Cornwall Services.

The willingness and speed at which this toilet was provided marked Cornwall Services as a standout example of what can be done.

Rachel blogs about her campaigning and life with her son Adam at Ordinary Hopes.

4. Lorna Fillingham 

Lorna's Change.org petition has almost 35,000 signatures. Her motivation for campaigning is her daughter Emily-May. 

She has focussed her efforts on making the provision of Changing Places toilets mandatory in buildings mentioned in BS 8300:2009. This includes: 

a) major transport termini or interchanges, e.g. large railway stations and airports
b) motorway services
c) sport and leisure facilities, including large hotels
d) cultural centres, such as museums, concert halls and art galleries
e) stadia and large auditoria
f) shopping centres and shopmobility centres
g) key buildings within town centres, e.g. town halls, civic centres and main public libraries
h) educational establishments
i) health facilities, such as hospitals, health centres and community practices

Lorna is a familiar face and voice on media and you can catch up with her on Twitter @Spamina1

5. Vaila Morrison 

Vaila is passionate about inclusive design. Her experience as special needs mum and as an architect has led Vaila to focus on raising awareness of the need for a better use of space with architects and building planners. 

Her aim is that the provision of toilets that include bench and hoist equipment on the agenda at the earliest possible stage in the design stage because architects and planners are fully aware of the need.

You can catch her blog Inclusive Home here.

6. Laura Rutherford 

Laura lives in Scotland and blogs about life with her son Brody who has an undiagnosed genetic condition at Brody GDD and Me.

Laura's writing has featured on a number of high profile blogs and newpapers including The Mighty, The Huffington Post and Mumsnet. She is a regular contributor to the Firefly Community Blog.

She also runs a campaign calling for retailers to sell nappies suitable for older children.

7. Martin Emery

Martin is the only special needs dad featured in list and is best known for his United Discriminate Campaign which seeks to highlight some of the issues disabled football fans face when trying to get to watch football especially in terms of their disabled toilet provision.

Martin, a lifelong Manchester United fan was motivated to begin his campaign when he was told that he would be unable to sit together with his 3 sons, one of whom, Jordan, is a wheelchair user as there was only space for one personal assistant. 

During the 2015/16 season, Old Trafford has seen the introduction of a family area to accommodate wheelchair users and their families, as well as the installation of a Changing Places toilet facility.

Martin Emery won the Social Justice Award in the SMK Campaigner Awards 2016.

8. Samantha Buck

#dontpassthebuck is a familar hastag amongst special needs campaigners and can be attributed to well known campaigner Samantha Buck.

Samantha campaigns on behalf of her son Alfie who has cerebral palsy. Samantha campaigns for inclusion in every aspect of life including toilets, sport, education, and family fun. 

You can follow Samantha and Alfie on Facebook. Samantha also has a Change.org petition which you can support here.

9. Karen England

To Pee or Not to Pee is one of the most recent campaigning pages and belongs to special needs mum Karen England who started her campaign after realising that a major redevelopment of her nearest shopping complex did not include a toilet that provided bench and hoist equipment.

Vital equipment to meet the toileting needs of her 13 year old daughter Tamsin when away from home.

10. Tony Clough MBE 

Last but by no means least, Tony who was recognised for his campaigning successes by being awarded an MBE in 2016. Tony's main motivation for campaigning is his sister Julie and he has had too many successes to mention. 

Tony is known for NEVER giving up and telling it how it is.

Are you a campaingner? Would you like to share your experiences comment below or email community@fireflyfriends.com

Things you might like

Check out the GoTo Seat

The product that started it all and changed lives all over the world

Find out more
Survey icon

Is changing your child on a day out a problem?

Other articles you might enjoy...

Special Needs

Tilgate Park provides Space to Change

Tilgate Park will become a must visit venue for special needs families.

Special Needs

Swedish home-ware giant provides Space to Change

I'm ridiculously excited by this news even though I don't live anywhere near…

Special Needs

Extreme Changing: Special Needs Families

We have become quite inventive my husband and I when faced with the need to tend…

Survey icon

Public Opinion…

Have you had to leave a venue early due to lack of suitable changing facilities?