We all know that i’m a sucker for a good toilet story and by far this is probably one of the most heartwarming and yet at the same time a heartbreaking one. Of a young man that just wanted his independence.
last year I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing lady called Angie. She is the driving force behind MK Snap – I was in awe of the incredible passion that she had for making a difference and making other people’s lives more independent, by showing Society that it doesn’t matter what your disability is you can still be a part of society and show your worth.
So who are MK Snap they’re based in my home town of Milton Keynes The land of the concrete cows and roundabouts! – Established in 1992; MK SNAP is an award winning local charity that provides life skills, education and work training for adults with learning disabilities. Their vision is to transform the local community through the promotion of independence, inspiration and opportunity.
A ‘safe space’ two very easy words to say out loud – yet not quite as easy to find. Now when I say the ‘safe space’ for myself and thousands of others it’s being able to use a toilet – i’ve been very vocal with my struggles when it comes to using an accessible toilet but this isn’t my story, this is the story of Nick.
Nicky is a learner at MK snap that has a real passion for photography and wanted to learn more but there was one thing holding him back. And no, it wasn’t his disability it was because he couldn’t stay at the center all day. Why because there was no where for him to go to the toilet safely, his complex needs mean he needs a hoist to be able to keep him safe as well as his caregivers.
One day Nicky decided to tell Angie and the team at MK snap why he couldn’t stay all day and he asked them for help to make his dream come true and they did just that they built a Changing Places Toilet.
It was truly an honour to be invited to not only see the incredible work the staff and Angie do at MK snap but to see the joy and sheer excitement on Nicky face opening something that is going to change his life and means he also gets to keep his Independence when he’s left his home.
Nicky said ‘For me and everyone in the community having these new facilities means I can stay at MK snap longer, this is very important to me so thank you’.
But. The centre is so much more than just the new Changing Places Toilet. For Nicky and so many others in the future having access to a Changing Places toilet is life changing being able to make the choice of staying to use the center all day or just spending a few hours.
When I was being shown around I had the pleasure of meeting some of the learners who couldn’t wait to tell and show me everything they had been up to – from growing and picking the fruit and veg they had all grown themselves in a beautiful working garden filled with raised planting beds and greenhouses – the incredible art work that I just wanted to bring home!
You can even enjoy a beautiful garden tucked away, it even has a little pond – as your sitting on the large decking area. They do also have a café but unfortunately right now it’s closed for obvious reasons!
MK snap has a real sense of family belonging you can feel it in every corner as soon as you walked/wheeled through the doors. Just speaking to the staff you can tell they love the job they do, I would even go as far to say they probably don’t even see it as a job.
It’s places like MK snap that just proves it doesn’t matter whether you have a disability you’re not if you just give someone the chance and allow them to believe in themselves and have the independence that they deserve they will flourish and show the world just how incredible they can be.
I can’t wait to go back when the cafe is up and running again just to see the learners in full flourish – if you live in Milton Keynes I would definitely say pop in and say hello they will definitely open their arms and welcome you ‘when the café is open’. Their little shop that’s been built on the decking ready to sell their hard work, fingers crossed it’s the fruit and veg they have been growing because that looked yummy!
To end I want thank the staff at MK snap for showing us around we loved every minute – and thank you to the all the learners for sharing their time and talking to me and showing me their work.
Until next time!
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