The changing places campaign is now in its 13 year, but there are still only 1104 facilities across the UK and only a handful in other countries across the globe.
And last week I joined many other parents & carers in London to raise more awareness and take this campaign to the next level.
We’ve had enough of being ignored or having our requests ‘managed’ by promises of trials (Tesco I’m looking at you) and the time has come for major change.
My son, William, is now 9 and he’s getting heavier by the day. If he needs the toilet when we are out and about it is a major ordeal.
I need somewhere to lay him so I can remove his clothing & nappy and some help in lifting him there & then onto the toilet. But that help doesn’t exist.
In the 10 miles around my home there are 2 changing places toilets so in some ways you could call me ‘lucky’ but they are both in the main town, which doesn’t help when we want to visit our supermarkets or go to the cinema.
A great friend of mine, Sarah Brisdion, organised a sit in with a twist as she called on campaigners from across the country to join her on Baker Street to sit on the loo all day.
The day started with me forgetting to put on two pairs of pants, not ideal when I was meant to be taking one pair down to sit on the loo!
And then my train got cancelled which left me over an hour late!
Luckily everyone else was far more organised than me and had come fully prepared!
Extra pants were on hand, there were amazing costumes and even cake representing the Bristol Stools chart (if you know, you’ll know!)
The event was great, passers by seemed rather confused at first but were soon educated about the issue and agreed to sign petitions, share photos and use the hashtag #PantsDown4Equality to help raise more awareness.
We were joined by press & news crews who interviewed campaigners and the event was even tweeted about by Adam Hills of The Last Leg fame.
By the end of the day we were all shattered but on a complete buzz, knowing we had done a great job of spreading the word and making people think, not to mention meeting some other amazing people we’d only had the pleasure of speaking to online for the last few years.
Who knows, but the more people who know about how the lack of changing places toilets, with adult sized changing tables and hoists, the better.
But on a national scale, what we really need now is government intervention. We need building regulations to be amended so that these facilities are compulsory in large buildings. We need big brands such as Tesco & Sainsburys to stop making excuses, we need cinemas to stop shirking responsibility and we need Joe Public to get behind us and demand equal rights for disabled people.
Here’s how you can help:
If you want to see more about the event, I hosted a facebook live from the event which you can watch here
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