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12 December 2017

Changing Places Olympic Legacy

In the run up to London 2012, the Changing Places Consortium campaigned for the installation of Changing Places toilets in the Olympic Park and within London’s transport system. This would give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Lloyd Page is a volunteer on the Changing Places campaign and was a member of the Disability Community Engagement Team (DCET). He said:  “In May we had a celebration to say thank you to everyone who was involved in the Disability Community Engagement Team (DCET) for their hard work. It was at the London 2012 shop at Westfield in Stratford. Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson spoke at the event. We also had the last meeting of the DCET in Canary Wharf.  We talked about Changing Places toilets being at every venue. I am proud that I was involved with making the Games accessible to more people.”
There are now a number of permanent Changing Places toilets in the Olympic Park, including three in the Olympic Stadium. These will stay as long as the park does. There are also Changing Places toilets in a number of railway stations, including King’s Cross St Pancras and Paddington.
Lorraine Bellamy spent a day at the Olympic Park and describes the atmosphere: “On the way to the Paralympics I went on the Javelin speed train from St Pancras, I met a family with two young children, they were so excited about going, it made me even more excited. Once we got into the Olympic park I was so impressed by the scenery and the different buildings I kinda wandered off and got lost, luckily I spoke with someone that I went with who helped me get back and join the group. Once we got into the Aquatics Centre I felt like I had walked up about 1000 steps to get to my seat, it was a lot!! But it was worth waiting for, the atmosphere was brilliant. The only other time that I have been in an atmosphere like this was when I went to the 02 to see West Life, but I have to be honest, this was better. We saw lots of Paralympic records being broken, which was excellent!! I did not stop cheering the whole time, my voice was a bit sore and I got a little emotional by the end. But I have lots of photos to remind myself how brilliant it was. Come on team GB, bring home some Gold Medals!”
The Games also raised general awareness of the Changing Places campaign. There were signs for the toilets within the Olympic Park and the mobile Changing Places toilets were with all the other toilets – so, they were clearly visible to the public. Some disabled people were even introduced to the toilets for the first time.

Beverley Dawkins, Mencap’s policy manager for PMLD and member of the Changing Places Consortium said: “Having Changing Places toilets at the Games enabled many people with PMLD and other severe disabilities to be part of something amazing. Now they will go away and realise that it is possible to go to such things and are more likely to do so in the future. We will be working to get more toilets as a legacy of the Games. And we will be making sure that as many mobile toilets as possible are turned into permanent features.”
 We would like to thank Pressalit for their support and generosity in allowing many of our volunteers and supporters to attend various events at the Paralympic Games.
The Changing Places Consortium is now lobbying the London Legacy Development Corporation to get the Olympic Park Changing Places toilets registered on the national website.
More information can be found at: www.londonlegacy.co.uk
The Changing Places campaign acts on behalf of the thousands of people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and their carers, as well as many other disabled people. They need Changing Places toilets with enough space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.
The Changing Places campaign calls for more Changing Places toilets in public places, so that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and others who need extra support can access the same opportunities as everyone else.


Copyright 2017 Changing Places