The day has finally arrived where I can share with the world, shout it from the roof tops… YES it’s true I’ve been keeping a big secret since June 2018,
As much as it was going to kill me to keep this secret I knew I had to, it was far to important to risk so sworn to secrecy i was for Tesco’s.
My Tesco secret
I received an email at the beginning June 2018 from Changing Places/MDUK asking if I would be available at short notice to join a meeting about a top secret project that Tesco where working on, all I needed to do was show up and share my Changing places story with everyone at the meeting.
I was introduced via email to Harty Long who was apart of the Property Leadership Team for Tesco, Harry and his team where presenting a proposal to the Property Directors in order to get investment and support to roll out 30 plus changing places facilities across selected stores in the Tesco estate.
Friday 6th June had arrived it was meeting day, I was a little nervous not going to lie this was my very first active changing places meeting just me on my own no one holding my hand, I didn’t want to mess up say anything blonde (as I have a tendency to do that when my nerves set in).
I was grated outside the Tesco Kingston store Milton Keynes then taken to the meeting room where everyone was awaiting my arrival.
With a room full of directors smiling back at me my nerves where in full swing, it was time for me to pull my wheels up, after everyone introduced themselves it was my time.
‘You got this Kerry, remember why your doing this for the 1/4 million disabled people that need these facilities’
Phew I did it, I can breathe again. the directors had a few questions after but that was ok by this time nerves where gone the directors definitely made me feel at ease, we then went down to the changing places toilet at Tesco Kingston Milton Keynes to show the directors why the hoist, high adjustable changing bench are so important.
After the meeting was finished I was presented with these thank you gifts.
Harry and the team graciously asked me if they could keep in touch, keeping me in the loop of how everything was going and if they had any questions along the way would I be happy to answer, of course I said yes this was massive they were trying to build 30 plus changing places facilities, it was never going to be a no I definitely wanted to be involved as much as I could in something as massive as this.
This is every campaigners dream come true (well mine anyway) to be a part of something as huge as this, it was Tesco one of the biggest companies possible say yes to a project that would change thousands of disabled/families lives.
For the next few months the emails and phone calls where flowing with update on how everything was progressing, it’s been a great learning experience to be able to see first hand just how much work and planning goes into creating not Judy one by 30 us changing places toilet.
The phone call then arrived we where a go everything was approved for 30+ changing places toilet to be built in different areas throughout tesco, I wanted to scream with joy down the phone but thought saving Harry’s ears was a better option!!
Next step getting the 30+ store managers on board with the project as they would be the ones taking the hit if people started to complaining about the possible disruptions building the changing places facilities in their stores. As a Campaigner this would be the furthest thing from my mind as I’m trying to get a company to build a changing places facilities so like I said before seeing this process first hand was an eye opener on just how hard it can really be getting all the pieces to fit together.
The plan of action was making a campaign video to show the Tesco store managers, like an excitable child the first thing that popped into my head was I get to wear my changing places t-shirt.
to be a part of this has been truly amazing and has been the best part of my year by far, it may have taken 9 months later where I’m actually allowed to talk about it but here I am able to say 35 confirmed changing places toilets are being built by Tesco’s. And I get to work with them again in 2019 just to see this project through is everything!
The press release from Opemed.