When I started writing, it was never intended to be solely about toilets.
After all, surely my life is bigger than that?
So I started to think about the places we have been to this summer and thought I could share those memories.
Turns out we haven’t done much.
We did go to Bristol Children’s Hospital – twice. It is a long journey to do in a day and they were very long days. The most joyous parts were being able to stop at 3 places along the way where they had accessible toilet facilities. So those days probably don’t count!
We did go to Heartlands with friends, TWICE!
There is a playground, although it is not great for wheelchair users, many interesting gardens to explore, a river to float toy boats and plenty of space to play with good friends. We chose it as a meeting place purely because they have a Changing Places toilet. We can stay as long as we like! We also highly recommend the carrot cake in the café. It is divine!
So we had fun. We brought toys, met friends and entertained lots of other children who came over to play too. That is the great thing about accessible games – EVERYONE can play. We took a break and headed to the Red River Café for some of that carrot cake I mentioned earlier. (oh yes, my mouth is watering as I type)
Inevitably, drinks lead to a bathroom break. Thankfully, here, we can “go” and return to play!
Except that we couldn’t. The hoist was not charged.
We had to leave.
It was annoying but I could see how it happened. Quite often, the hoist charging point is not obvious. This has happened to us before, most recently on one of those trips to Bristol!
So I got in touch with Heartlands, and suggested that a simple sign marking the charging point would be a big help. They apologised, even though I had made it clear that I understood how easily it had happened and only wanted to help make sure people kept it charged.
The following week we returned with our friends. We played, we ate, we drank and we popped to the bathroom with trepidation.
It was great to see that they did indeed care and had quickly taken steps to ensure that all users and staff knew how to keep it charged.
The boy knows how it works!
He was very happy!
Play continued, life continued, just as it should.
Did I say that my life was bigger than just toilets?
Perhaps it isn’t?
That is a sad reality for me. The only thing which makes it worse is that it is also the sad reality and future for my son.
Thankfully, the response from businesses in Cornwall is promising. We will soon be able to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan because they care!
I also have high hopes that a local theme park will ensure that people are no longer excluded due to disability. They seem keen to improve. I have to have hope.
Please CLICK HERE to sign a petition for these facilities to be a legal requirement in large organisations.