THERE are a group of people out there who get very excited about toilets…
But it’s nothing sinister!
Changing Places are an organization that campaigns for a place to change disabled children and adults with dignity.
They say: “It is estimated that there are over 230,000 severely disabled people in the UK who could benefit from Changing Places.
The Changing Places Consortium is a UK wide collective comprised of MENCAP, PAMIS, The Scottish Government and many local councils.
“The Changing Places campaign is working to highlight the desperate need for Changing Places toilets across the UK.”
Right now, the majority of people who need to use these facilities are forced to have their continence pads changed on the floor of standard accessible toilets. This puts the career and the person they care for at risk of injured backs, bruises and possible infection from dirty toilets.
A Changing Places toilet is different to a standard accessible toilet – it includes a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, hoist and enough space for a wheelchair and two careers.
Changing Places believe these spaces should be provided in addition to standard accessible toilets
There are currently 118 Changing Places in Scotland, and 741 across the whole of the UK.
This is an issue that’s never discussed; people with disabilities are often invisible in our society, so why would we even think about whether they can get changed comfortably and with dignity?
Changing places do a great job of cutting through the squirm factor when discussing such an awkward issue. Let’s face it. Nobody wants anything to do with anyone else’s toilet habits. But. It’s important. They post selfies and breathless statuses, raving about the cleanliness of public toilets, and it’s actually pretty heartwarming.
There’s an interactive map on their website that guides those interested to safe spaces. They post reviews of toilets (!), discuss etiquette – is it ok to ‘just pop in’ if nobody needs to use a disabled toilet? – and have lively, animated discussions on their site
The reality is, careers and parents are often forced to change their wards on dirty toilet floors, or use filthy, outdated equipment. Changing Places and their advocates want this to stop.
They’re campaigning for an issue that might be embarrassing to talk about and slightly uncomfortable, but they’re doing it with cheer and good humor.