2016 has been an interesting year.
I had been on the fringes of campaigning for Changing Places toilets for some years but didn’t really know how to make a difference by myself.
But just adding my support to Facebook pages and petitions wasn’t making a big impact and NOTHING was getting better in Cornwall. My darling boy and all the other children I care about are getting bigger but their world is shrinking.
So I started writing letters, sending e-mails and trying to get people to care.
It doesn’t come easily to me, I am not a particularly argumentative person, I am not comfortable in front of a camera and I don’t like publicity.
Yet I have been on local radio and in the local press to celebrate the great work of Cornwall Services in being possibly the fastest business in the UK to respond to a request for a hoist assisted toilet facility. I have also been on local TV news to highlight the poor response from one attraction and on Channel 4 news to raise awareness of why Changing Places toilet facilities are so important.
Unlike me, Adam loves to see himself in the newspaper. Every week, when the local paper arrives, he asks if he is in it!
Cornwall Services really is a fantastic business and I am very thankful to have worked with them and to have become friends with the manager and his wife. Both of them are now active supporters of the Changing Places campaign, as are their children. Cornwall really does have some amazing people.
More amazing people have been found at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. They had already been aware of the facilities but made a lovely comment that reading my blog had made them realise the importance of them and they immediately started working towards installing one. It should be open within a few months and Adam and I feel very excited about being able to go and enjoy Heligan with our friends.
I have also been in touch with a representative from Truro Chamber of Commerce and they want to make sure the city centre is accessible to all. That lovely lady from the Chamber saw one comment from me on a Twitter page and immediately asked for more information. Quite different to the response from the City Council!
The Royal Cornwall Show organisers have promised to hire a mobile Changing Places toilet facility for the 2017 show. They told me that they didn’t know about the need before as nobody had asked.
Many will be aware that I had some stressful discussions with Lands End and The Hall for Cornwall, both of which are now committed to installing accessible toilet facilities.
I had the pleasure of meeting two lovely gentlemen from Lands End at an accessible tourism event. They were keen to stress that they did not know about these facilities until I asked.
They had sought general accessibility advice from a disability organisation just a few weeks before I contacted them, but they had not mentioned the toilet facilities being below standards. I can now understand their response better and they are in touch frequently to try to move forward.
A couple of other places in Cornwall have said they are interested and I shall be getting back in touch with those places next week.
So one person can make a difference.
Imagine the difference hundreds of us could make?