Today has been insightful, emotional and exhausting.
It has also been fabulous and will hopefully help to enlighten many more people as to just how vital it is to have fully accessible toilets with a bench and a hoist.
Without these facilities many people, including Adam, simply cannot use the toilet.
What impact would that have on you?
Or on your child?
Somehow, it always hurts more when it is your child, doesn’t it?
I was contacted by Channel 4’s No Go Britain team and asked if we would like to take part in a show highlighting the need for toilets with a changing bench and hoist.
I immediately said YES!
Then ran to hide somewhere to question whether I could actually do it without crumbling into a tearful mess or ending up unable to string a small sentence together!
There must be so many more people who are much more able than me to put this message across?
After all, there are people who are paid to work on increasing the number of Changing Places toilets and to raise awareness of the importance of these facilities. People with years of experience.
But are any of them as passionate as me?
I may be “just a mum” but I am a woman who loves her family more than anything else.
I may be seen as “just as carer” but I care with every ounce of my being.
I may not be a salaried “professional” but I put so much of my time into making life better for my son. My waking hours creep into the hours where I should be sleeping, my work never did that when I had a paid job.
I admit it, I spend way more time than is healthy just thinking about toilets! You do when they determine your daily life.
So, with jelly-like legs (and more bathroom trips than usual) I welcomed Daniel and the crew this morning and we got on with it.
The whole team were fabulous and did everything they could to put us at ease, (although I did discover that having a giant camera pointing at me whilst I drive makes me lose all knowledge of where I am going!) and I spent the whole journey hoping I didn’t take a wrong turn whilst convinced I had gone the wrong way.
Alex from Cornwall Services was great. He was brilliant at putting across just how easy it was to sort and install the equipment as well as how reasonable the price was. He is a man who is passionate about an inclusive society and would clearly do all he could to help any child.
He had been donated an awesome piece of art to decorate the ceiling of the Space to Change toilet. Thanks to GMS Cornwall for your kindness. Adam was thrilled with it as it reminded him of a scene from one of his favourite episodes of Power Rangers!
In the first week of being open, 14 people have used the facility.
14 people who would not have been able to eat, drink and use the toilet elsewhere. Many of them have told Alex that they only stopped because they had heard about the Space to Change toilet. So they ate, drank, shopped and used the toilet, just like everyone else does, only these people knew how much it mattered.
14 people felt that they mattered!
And to Cornwall Services, that matters.
It should matter to everyone.
One day it may be you who needs these facilities.
One day, it may be your child.
Speaking with Daniel, the presenter, really opened my eyes to the future. As he told me about just one of his awful experiences at a hospital appointment and the degrading state he was left in to travel home (all caused by a lack of the correct hoist) I simply couldn’t hold myself together.
I cried for him. I cried for his mother. I cried at the sheer awfulness of the situation. I cried for the future and I cried because one day I will be that mother.
NO, I WILL NOT!
Listening to Daniel today opened my eyes even further to the scary future, to more of the inequalities and to the sheer ignorance and lack of care shown to people with disabilities.
When I approached Cornwall Services asking if they had suitable toilet facilities, it was not part of any campaign to make the world better. It was just a mum trying to ensure her child could join in with his friends once a fortnight.
Alex Lawson’s response and then the response from the management team at Cornwall Services showed me that this is how it should be.
Maybe this is how it will be with many more?
I hope so.
My son’s future depends on it.
So what does one wear to be on TV?
Well, it turns out that there isn’t actually that much time in the morning, so trousers and the first top I laid my hands on whilst hastily brushing my hair just had to do!