Changing places and why I started campaigning!

In aid of Changing Places Awareness Day 19th July 2019

This will be my 3rd year celebrating the world of changing places, it’s definitely been named by my husband, family and friends as my favourite subject to talk about!

I kinda fell into Campaigning about changing Places toilets by mistake after reading an amazing blog by one of my now truly incredible friends Carrie via life on the slow land. Carrie had me hooked I’d never heard of these changing places toilets before now, why!? We’ve been struggling for years with a standard disabled toilet. Reading about these life changing toilets I didn’t understand why there wasn’t more.

 

Photos ~ Left is a changing places toilet. Right a standard Disabled toilet. 

My life is either holding it in till I get home and yes there has been many accidents which lets face it in your 30’s that embarrassing, limiting my fluided intake to a few sips of water or just never going out what kind of life am I really giving myself, I’m either putting my health at risk if I dared to wheel out the door or living in the same four walls.

It can totally mess with your mental health which ever you decide to do, and that’s on both myself and my husband he worries just as much as I do on the what IF’S. The scary thing is it become apart of “normal” life worrying about whether your able to use a toilet when your out.

I’ve found it easier over the years to talk about and share my story, why!? because Why should I be ashamed of my disability and the life it’s given me, plus I’m not alone there are 1/4 million disabled people that’s are in similar situations like me. Whether it’s a husband, wife, parent/s or carer their all struggling with a standard disabled toilet, a grab rail and Red pull cord with no room to swing a bra let alone fit a Wheelchair and carer in with out a sink in the chest, baby changing table in the head then trying to close the door behind you. I’m definitely no contortionist!

Why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy the freedom of going to the sea side, museum, amusement park, zoo, music concert (the list is endless) as much as everyone else gets to. I want to live my life as much as an able-bodied person, I have as much right to go to the toilet as the next person so why should me being in a wheelchair be such an issue!

After researching more about Changing Places, and going to my local Muscular Dystrophy Muscule meeting there was a talk about how Muscular Dystrophy Uk had taken over the running the Changing Places Consortium, and there is where my journey into the world of campaigning for Changing Places started.

Since my very first post about changing places I’ve been extremely lucky working with some amazing people, and been involved in some amazing projects from news articles with The Independent, speaking at my local muscle meeting for muscular Dystrophy Uk, BBC Radio Oxford, ITV Anglia News and working with Tesco’s where they built 35 changing places toilets within there stores around the UK, to be apart of such an amazing project was truly a pleasure seeing from start to finish what goes into building these life changing facilities is a campaigners dream (well mine anyway!).

 

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What is a changing places toilet

Each registered Changes Places toilet includes:

  • Tracking hoist system or mobile hoist
  • Height adjustable adult size changing bench
  • Centrally placed toilet with plenty of room either side
  • Screen or curtain for privacy
  • Adequate space for a disabled person and at least two careers
  • Non Slip floor
  • Large waste bin for disposable pads
  • Wide tear off paper roll to cover the changing bench

 

I will continue to keep fighting for more changing places toilets as everyone has a human right to use a toilet, no one should be laid on a dirty toilet floor to be changed. I don’t want it to be that in 10 years time someone like me is in the same situation as I am right now!

Kerry x

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