This is my fight song!

Recently I heard a suggestion that I had “forced” a local theatre into agreeing to include a Changing Places toilet as part of an £18.3million refurbishment project.

Really?

They are gutting the place, increasing the number of seats as well as the number of spaces for wheelchair users, purchasing new equipment and probably buying new artwork for the walls but they didn’t really want to install a toilet which they had been told makes the difference to whether some people can visit at all.

Grant money from many organisations, including the local council, will be used to fund the enormous planned works.

I asked, I pleaded, I attended a meeting where they were asking for people to identify the barriers faced by local families to attend the theatre and I added to the consultation information.

I wrote a heartfelt open letter to them.

I cried. I lost sleep. I felt awful.

Eventually they said that they did plan to include one.
But it didn’t feel like a “victory”.

It was a battle which should not have been needed.
This was about inclusion and equality.
They should have wanted to be as accessible as possible.

Another local mum has asked them again recently and had a non-committal response. So I sent an e-mail asking for an update, hoping for them to simply say that whenever the refurbishment happens, a Changing Places toilet will be part of the plan.

“There is still no news as to whether the redevelopment will go ahead and at the moment, we are programmed through until March 2018.

We are still awaiting some major funding decisions before we move to the next stages of the project.

As soon as we have a clear timeline, I will ensure that I let you know and as originally discussed, we will be wanting to invite you and other access groups in for further discussion.”

They know it is needed. They know that people are excluded without it.

I will attend discussions and I will make my point very clearly.
But I will not lose any more sleep over it.
I will not cry any more tears over it.
And I will not feel bad for any of it.

My son and I love the theatre and we look forward to it being refurbished.
I will book tickets when they open.

If my son cannot use a toilet once there, we will simply use the Equality Act.

These facilities are already recommended in the building standards for this type of development. The recent report from the Women and Equalities Committee recommended that they be made mandatory.

I am done with pleading for inclusion.

Disabled people deserve better.

This is my fight song!

21 thoughts on “This is my fight song!

  1. They have to be forced, they have to be begged and humiliated because no one seems to care that these facilities are as vital as a door to let people in and out. The person who made the suggestion needs a wake up call… what do they expect to be excluded from on a daily basis? Probably nothing because those who have it all cannot appreciate how difficult it is when you have next to nothing. It’s about time it was written in law that new builds and refurbishments MUST include a changing places toilet. For those who don’t hear how ridiculous they sound when making narrow minded comments… we all grow old and may need carers, adequate disability facilities etc, will you only learn when your own dignity is non-existent?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Totally agree with you. Don’t see why there should be a problem if they are refurbishing the place. Still amazes me that ‘standard’ disabled toilets cannot be used by all disabled people. Crazy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so right. Everyone has the right to go to the toilet with dignity, no matter their age or disabilities. I don’t understand why they are making life so awkward instead of celebrating the opportunity to do something wonderful to ensure inclusion

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  4. How frustrating! I never understand why so many places don’t want to be inclusive even when they could. Good on you for fighting the fight and staying so positive through it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some days I struggle to be positive but I have decided to stop crying about things and pass it on to a legal expert. Thank you for your kind comment.x

      Like

  5. I like your fighting song! I would be livid. From your post it sounds as all the regs are on your side. I hope they do the right thing. But if they don’t then well done you on your attack plan. I know it’s wrong I know you shouldn’t have to but at least you are not taking it lying down. Hope it happens and hopefully one day you won’t need your fight song. One day it will just be included fact. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s unbelievable that they still won’t fully commit to putting in a Changing Places toilet. That’s absolutely disgraceful. They are discriminating against a section of the population who would love to enjoy the theatre including your son and its not on. I commend you on trying to push them to where they really should be and enjoyed your fight song post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How have they found extra room for new seats and a lovely new refurb, but no room for a bathroom that’s accessible for everyone. It’s such a shame that they didn’t really listen to their local customers. Love your positivity though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly!

      Which is why I am not arguing it personally any more. If they build it without the facility I will book tickets and we will go. And then we will put it in the hands of our legal team.

      Like

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