It is not widely known, but Santa is an equal-opportunities employer. Every Elf is encouraged to fulfill their full potential and every Elf is valued equally.
Which is why Santa has been rather cross to read some online comments recently – comments which relate to the value of disabled people, in particular, those who require Changing Places toilets.
A story hit the media, where a mum, my dear friend Mum on a Mission had expressed her hurt that a big store, John Lewis, had spent £7,000,000 on a Christmas advert whilst doing nothing at all to help disabled people who require toilets with a hoist and changing table to access their stores and restaurants with dignity, despite having been asked to for many years. These are just a few of the comments which have left Santa wondering what happened to the Christmas Spirit.
Santa was not happy with comments like this. Christmas is a time for caring, for compassion, for high hopes, kindness and good behaviour!
Then there were ones like these.
Rudeness and unkind words to a mum who made a very valid point that facilities in many of our biggest retail stores, ones which encourage shoppers to eat, drink and stay for lengthy periods, are not suitable for all people. And she called out one particular store on this occasion because they have ignored the need for years. This isn’t the only store she has ever called out for failing to meet the needs of all people, it is just the one the media noticed.
So Santa has sent one of his most trusted elves, Alfie, to stay with us whilst he helps Santa with some Christmas shopping. Alfie is a full time wheelchair user who requires hoisting for all transfers, including for his toileting needs.
Santa is hopeful that Alfie will help people understand that equality isn’t just for some, equality is for all.
One final message from Santa for Swing Low, Messi Britain, Summer Sun, Lineman, Reasonableman (really???), Someone88, JG66 and Captain Trunch – you are all on the naughty list!
Over the next few weeks we will be assisting Alfie with Santa’s shopping requests and sharing Alfie’s experiences. As you go about your Christmas shopping, or attend pre-Christmas meals and drinks out, ask yourself if an Elf like Alfie could join in too. Maybe you will see us there!
Finally, in the words of another famous Elf, ‘there’s room for everyone on the nice list’, so be kind, support others and remember that equality means nothing unless it is for all.
If you are unsure of what Changing Places toilets are please check here.