Looking back on 2018...
As we reach the end of the year we wanted to look back on some of the achievments of the last 12 months and thank all the incredible Changing Places toilet campaigners out there who have made the campaign such a success.
Where are the toilets?
This year we have registered 169 new toilets. Some high profile installations include:
Tourist attractions: Thorpe Park, Legoland, V&A Dundee, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Waddesdon Manor and West Midland Safari Park.
Shopping and retail: IKEA, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury and intu stores.
Transport hubs: Inverness, Aberdeen, and Glasgow Airports, Crewe, Bridgend and Birmingham New Street train stations and seven service stations.
Hospitals: Morriston, Heartlands, Colchester General, Southampton and Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.
Stadiums and arenas: SSE Arena Belfast, Stadium MK, Middlesbrough Football Club and St James Park.
Thank you to the campaigners who helped make these toilets possible!
Meanwhile, the Mobiloo team have continued to travel up and down the country to make more venues and events accessible over 2018 and we are sure they will continue to do so in 2019!
The past 12 months
The past year has been an exciting one for the Changing Places toilet campaign. We have tried to capture some of the highlights in this story…
The New Year started off with some successes for the “Art of incLOOsion” Museum Campaign which Alison Beevers started; Yorkshire Sculpture Garden opened its Changing Places toilet, as well as the John Gray Centre of East Lothian History. The Glan Clwyd Hospital also opened its Changing Places toilet, adding to the important provision of Changing Places toilets in hospitals.
In February, Lorna Fillingham submitted her petition to include Changing Places toilets as mandatory in building regulations for larger new builds to parliament. Lorna also used the opportunity to meet with MPs to discuss the need for Changing Places and to get their support for her work. Her efforts were supported by Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike. Lorna’s petition led to the 3rd Changing Places Early Day Motion in Parliament which was supported by 41 MPs.
Noteworthy Changing Places registrations in February were the University of Kent Library which makes another higher education institution accessible for more students. Meanwhile, Birmingham New Street became another major train station to provide a Changing Places toilet.
Alison Beevers’ “The Art of IncLOOsion” campaign ledto the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery installing a Changing Places toilet. Alison also launched some new campaign posters which showed famous art works sporting the Changing Places selfie glasses. The Deep Aquarium in Hull opened a very colourful Changing Places toilet, much to the delight of many families who can now enjoy a day out at the Aquarium together. The National Museum in Scotland also became more accessible by opening its Changing Places toilet. The Royal Priors Shopping Centre in Leamington Spa opened a Changing Places toilet with a beautiful mural, thanks to the tireless campaigner Emily Naismith.
In April, Clare and Marion from the Changing Places Consortium at Muscular Dystrophy had a productive meeting with the Department for Transport, talking about the need for Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations. A big Changing Places toilet opening in April was the new toilet at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, allowing all those in the Midlands who use Heartlands Hospital to go to the toilet in comfort.
Sarah Brisdion organised the Looathon, a huge awareness raising event on Baker Street in Central London (arguably the most memorable Changing Places moment of 2018!). Dozens of campaigners from all across the country came together to take turns sitting on toilets outside the Bathstore’s Baker Street store to raise awareness of the vital importance of Changing Places toilets #PantsDowns4Equality. Sarah got the media’s attention once more and the Looathon was featured on ITV and the BBC.
Adam George served Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall court papers for not providing a reasonable adjustment for visitors who need Changing Places toilets. This is an important test case on whether Changing Places toilets can be considered a “reasonable adjustment” in the language of the Equality Act and received a lot of media attention.
PAMIS received a confirmation from Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, that the Scottish Government has begun working on introducing Changing Places toilets into Scottish building regulations for certain types of new buildings. While it will take a few years for this process to make it into law, it is a great step for the campaign goal of having Changing Places toilets made mandatory in building regulations.
Thanks to Tony Clough MBE’s campaign work, Thorpe Park registered its Changing Places toilet in June. Other noteworthy registrations in June included two motorway service stations with Welcome Break Keele and Cairn Lodge Services, as well as Morriston Hospital and Bridgend train station.
At the end of June, Paula Sheriff MP presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons which proposed to include Changing Places toilets as a mandatory provision in building regulations for new builds of a certain size. The Bill passed the first reading and has its second reading scheduled for November 2018. This is a really positive step forward for the campaign.
July 19th marked the third annual Changing Places Awareness Day! Campaigners across the UK and around the World came together online to raise awareness of all things Changing Places toilets! A particularly memorable part of the day was Jane and Gillian, from Access for all, who climbed Mam Tor mountain in Derbyshire with a portable Changing Places toilet!We also announced the winners of the People’s Choice Award sof which Sandcastle Waterpark claimed the overall prize of “Best Changing Places toilet.” Who will win next year? You decide!
Towards the end of July we were thrilled to announce that the Department for Transport’s Strategy includes a commitment to provide £2 million for the purpose of getting more Changing Places toilets installed at motorway service stations in England. This followed a number of meetings with the Department for Transport but was also a huge credit to the hard work of campaigners who had been calling for better provision at service stations for years. Particular recognition and thanks must go to Tony Clough and Zack Kerr who have both launched successful petitions and awareness campaigns on this issue.
Some exciting registrations in July included Waddesdon Manor, the University Hospital of Wales and Annandale Motorway service station (the first motorway services in Scotland to have a Changing Places toilet!). Wimbledon also provided a Changing Places toilet for the first time!
Emma Spagnola, aka the Norfolk Loo Lady, took on the PantsDown4Equality challenge once more when she was driven round the Cromer Carnival on the back of a Morris Minor pick up sat on a loo to raise awareness of the need for more Changing Places toilets in Norfolk. This is just one example of the fantastic campaigning Emma has been doing!
In August we also registered 19 new Changing Places toilets including at Stonehenge, Bolton Interchange and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which was opened by Rachel and Adam George.
We launched our Changing Places surveys for campaigners and venues. It is an important opportunity for us to gather feedback and stories to strengthen our campaigning moving forward. The surveys are remaining open into the New Year so please keep sharing and take part if you haven’t already.
The memorable registrations this month included IKEA Bristol, V&A Dundee and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
In October amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill were accepted at Stage 2 in relation to Changing Places toilets in Scotland (see pages 21-22 within 4th Marshalled List of Amendments, 24th October 2018.) Developments such as new build schools, colleges, universities, community centres, sports and leisure centres, hospitals, retail outlets, cultural centres, stadiums, transport termini and motorway service facilities will be required to include a Changing Places toilet in order to be granted planning permission. If this bill is enacted it will be a huge step forward for Scotland in terms of Changing Places toilets.
Muscular Dystrophy UK hosted their National Conference in October and Fiona Anderson was named campaigners in the year in the President’s Awards for all her work in raising awareness of and campaigning for Changing Places toilets. Campaigner Luke Nash also launched his campaign report following an in depth survey into the impact of Changing Places toilets.
October also saw 27 new Changing Places toilets registered including three Asda stores, IKEA Belfast and University of Essex.
We said a sad farewell to Marion who had been the Changing Places Development Officer since February 2018. We have a new Officer due to start in the New Year and look forward to introducing them to everyone!
At the end of November it was announced that Consortium co-chairs Muscular Dystrophy UK would be partnering with the Department for Transport to allocate the £2 million of funding for Changing Places toilets to be installed at motorway service stations across England. We are looking forward to sharing details of the funding scheme in 2019 and to seeing the motorway network in England open up for more people due to the wider availability of Changing Places toilets.
The big registrations in November included Stadium MK, Glasgow Airport and Gloucester Services. We also had meetings with representatives at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, including Rishi Sunak MP, and held a joint APPG between Disability Rights UK and Trailblazers.
We ended the year on a high with lots of festive themed campaigning! Particular favourites were the resurrection of Sarah’s Brisdion’s fantastic LooAdvent and some excellent awareness raising from Elivis and Alfie the Elf! December also saw the UK's first Changing Places toilet in a dedicated cinema officially open at Bromley VUE. We really hope this results in other cinemas following this example and installing so that people who need Changing Places toilets are able to enjoy trips to the cinema more and more in 2019 and beyond!
Although this has been another year of great progress, we know there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that everybody who needs a Changing Places toilet is able to access one with ease. There are some exciting announcements coming soon which will have a huge impact for the campaign- we look forward to sharing information with you as soon as possible. We would like to end by saying thank you to everyone who has made 2018 such a positive year for the Changing Places toilet campaign- we couldn’t do it without your passionate support. We look forward to continuing the fight with you in 2019.