It would be pretty unusual if I didn’t talk about my favourite subject on today of all days Changing Places awareness day!
My journey with Changing Places started with a blog I wrote in 2017 it seems like such a long time ago but in reality, it was 3 years ago. After reading a blog written by my now beautiful friend Carrie Aimes from Life on the Slow Lane. That was my first introduction to a Changing Places facility where I quickly realised that the years of struggling to use a standard disabled toilet had come to an end. But then it dawned on me the lack of any of these facilities available in the UK from this I found I had a real passion for campaigning for disability rights. And here is where my ‘favourite subject’ begins.
I have been very fortunate within my campaigning work it has taken me in a direction I never thought it would.
With over 1/4 million disabled people and their families with complex needs a standard disabled toilet just doesn’t cut the mustard. With a toilet shoved in the corner of a space too small to move, let alone fit one carer and a wheelchair, a red pull cord and handrails make no difference. Standard disabled toilets are just frankly an out of date toilet that’s not accessible to all.
For me as campaigner when a new changing places facility is built it’s a huge win, it doesn’t matter where it has been built it is still a win and one more to add to the list. Why, because its not just about my needs it’s about how many disabled people’s live will benefit, for the better.
Today – Changes will be made to legislation to make Changing Places toilets mandatory in new, large public buildings in England. The announcement was made by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
More funding will be made available to install Changing Places toilets at 37 motorway services stations. This announcement came from the Department for Transport (DfT).
This incredible news and fills me with huge amounts of joy having access to more changing places toilets means ‘freedom’. For not just myself but the 1/4 million other disabled people and their families. Making a much-needed change the building legislation will make life easier and more fulfilling, having access to a safe space that most people take for granted on a daily basis I.e shopping, cinema and trips out just opens up a whole new world for everyone that needs these life-changing facilities. Having news like this It’s a huge boost to the changing places campaign there is still a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction with every new changing places facility that is built. When I started my campaigning journey myself and many other disabled people had a lot less freedom due to the relatively small amount of changing places available throughout the country.
All these changes are helping myself and thousands of others ”To live the life that we choose, not one that is chosen for us’
This has been long awaited it was first mentioned in June 2018 when Paula Sherriff MP shared my story along with a few others in the 10 minute rule bill in the House of Commons. As I’m sure you can all imagine not being able to shout this news from my wheels has been extremely hard. Plus being apart of something that is changing future lives, is as you know something close to my heart and one of the reasons I started campaigning. Along with every campaigner, I am ecstatic that this news falls on changing Places awareness day.
Below are quotes from MDUK CEO & Tesco property manager.
We are delighted with this news. The changes to legislation will improve the quality of life for 250,000 disabled people, and their families and friends. They will have much more access to enjoy what others take for granted – the basic human right of access to a toilet when they go out! This wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless campaigning of so many people. I am delighted for the campaigners, individuals and families that this will benefit.A quote from Catherine Woodhead – CEO from Muscular Dystrophy UK
I’m really proud to have been involved in driving this change, with changing places facilities now available in more than 75 Tesco supermarkets across the UK. A fantastic achievement and a credit to everybody that has played a part in delivering such an important initiative – yourself [kerry] included.A quote from Paul Shepherd – Tesco property programme manager
Come give me a follow and say hi.
Post you might like to read: