Space to Change Champion in Northern Ireland, Claire Smyth had an amazing opportunity to raise awareness of the Space to Change Campaign at the Northern Ireland Region of Shopping Centres - AGM held in House of Fraser, Belfast on Friday 27th June 2015.

​Claire had been invited to speak at the AGM by Peter Murray, Centre Manager at Buttercrane Shopping Centre in Newry.

Peter has forged ahead with improvements to Buttercrane Shopping Centre following the launch of the Space to Change campaign by providing Green Level Space to Change for families with children who have toileting needs.

Buttercrane Shopping Centre added a large changing mat to their largest disabled toilet facility while they worked on further improvements to provide Orange Level Space to Change, which will include a height adjustable changing bench. Peter was keen to help raise awareness of the Space to Change Campaign and invited Claire, as a local Space to Change Champion, to the AGM of the Northern Ireland Region of Shopping Centres (NIRSC). NIRSC represents and promotes the shopping centre industry in Northern Ireland.

Claire spoke to the group of shopping centre representatives about the difficulties she faces when changing her disabled son Daniel, aged 6 on family days out and shopping trips. ‘My aim was really just to encourage the people I was talking to to think about some of the challenges that special needs families face and to ask themselves if there was something they could do within their shopping centres to make life easier especially around their toilet facilities.’

Claire also used the opportunity to raise awareness of the Changing Places campaign.

As a Space to Change Champion, Claire has focused on the venues that she visits with her family but as the Space to Change Campaign has grown and interest is growing Claire is being invited on a regular basis to talk about the campaign.

To help her do this the Firefly Garden would like to recruit more Champions across the country.

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Space to Change Champion email us at [email protected] or use this form. For more information about the Northern Ireland Region of Shopping Centres

Visit our campaign pages to find out more about Space to Change.

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