Is 900 a big number?

Christmas shopping in the city centre has always been something I looked forward to. As a child it was a big treat to stay up late, go to Truro in the dark and see all the beautiful lights.

But I don’t take my son because it isn’t fair to take him.

To get a parking space on late night shopping evenings you have to get there early, which means we would have to leave before the lights come on. Just because Truro has no fully accessible toilet facilities.

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A short while ago a local newspaper published an article which stated that Truro had 43 coffee shops.

I read it as 43 coffee shops where an able bodied person like me can use a toilet in Truro.

Which led me to wonder how many other places I can “go”.

Turns out that there are a lot and counting them all would take an age.

At least 10 pubs in the City Centre, so at least 10 more toilets I can use.

At least 20 places which would term themselves as restaurants, so at least 20 more places where I can use a toilet.

Then places like the museum, theatre, cinema, cathedral, bowling arcade, hairdressers and nightclubs which all provide toilets for me, an able bodied person.

If each of these places just had 1 toilet each, that is 80. Most will have at least two (usually gender specific) toilets. The theatre alone has at least 20 female toilets, I have not been in the gents so can’t comment on those!

There are also public toilets in two areas of the town.

So at least 100 toilets I can use as an able-bodied woman. The real total is much higher because I know that many of the restaurants and pubs have more than one toilet and I have only counted places within the main shopping area.

So over 100 toilets I can use, yet NONE that my son can.

What makes me important enough?

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Then I thought about how this would play out nationwide.

In the whole of the UK there are currently less than 900 toilets my son can use – just because he needs a toilet with a hoist and bench. You might think that sounds a lot, but they are spread over the entire country and not all are in great positions.

Now consider that there are 2,618 toilets in Wembley Stadium alone. (I would like to add that one of those is a Changing Places toilet!)

Does that offer a little perspective?

2,618 toilets in one football stadium, yet less than 900 toilets for people with significant physical disabilities across the entire country! Suddenly 900 seems like a small number, doesn’t it?

The Changing Places Twitter page put out a Tweet today asking people to join the “fight for #incLOOsion”. I used to love the determination of that sentence but now it just makes me feel sad.

Because we should not have to!

People should not be “fighting” to be included in the everyday parts of life.

A simple trip to the shops, a visit to the cinema, a meal out…

Inclusion means participation in everyday life.

Without participation we simply do not have an inclusive society.

And that should make us all sad.

9 thoughts on “Is 900 a big number?

  1. Just ranted about this on my FB page. There are more costa coffee branches in the UK than there are toilets my son (and yours) can use in the whole country. Im sick of the celebrations around the ‘big wins’ for changing places. The whole time we celebrate a big number (eg 900th toilet) the more it looks like we have done it.. we’ve won the fight..we dont need to keep fighting and should be grateful we have 900 toilets we can use now! Even if the closest one to us is an hour away or more!! Get Real! Ok rant over!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! We are not “winning”, we are being offered crumbs from a banquet table and being expected to be grateful.

      My son wants to eat out, visit the cinema, go to the theatre, have a day out shopping and basically participate in his own life!

      If I have to “fight” for inclusion it suggests that places in the country don’t want us, otherwise they would be busy making it happen.

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  2. Am I right in remembering that the refurb at HFC will have an inclusive toilet….One is def not enough but a start….I rarely go to Truro as my condition is very painful and even my good powerchair shakes me too much on the cobbles….

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    1. Yes, they did eventually agree to include one as part of the £18.3million refurbishment but that has no planned date yet.

      Unfortunately, in 2017, Chris and Pui are doing a show there as is Justin Fletcher, who has a massive following among children with disabilities but many of them, including Adam, will not be able to go. It is heartbreaking.

      Cobbles are hard. I struggle to push Adam’s manual chair over them due to my back and wrist problems.

      I am saddened to learn that you struggle to go to Truro. I don’t think many people realise how limiting the physical world can be. A wheelchair enables people, the physical environment disables people.

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  3. I completely agree Rachel. I have sympathy with the position that the need wasn’t ‘known’ about, as I know I hadn’t thought about it before my daughter needed a changing places toilet, but in the last 10 years the need has been clearly identified, assessed, a solution agreed and entered into the british standard….so I am REALLY struggling to understand how this hasn’t been absorbed into the standard set of toilet facilities that all venues should have!!! How not to do that wouldn’t be classed as breaching the Equality Act!?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t believe there are only 900 in the whole country! That’s such a shocking statistic! I really hope things will change. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday X

    Liked by 1 person

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