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Accelerating Change: World Toilet Day 2023

17th Nov 2023

The 19th of November is an important date in our calendar here at the Changing Places Consortium - It's World Toilet Day!

Each year, we celebrate the United Nations’ World Toilet Day, in support of UN Water’s work to raise awareness of, and improve, toilet provision and sanitation around the world.

This year, the theme is ‘accelerating change’ and the symbol is the small but mighty hummingbird. We must say – this theme feels very pertinent to us! With government investment in Changing Places toilets over the past few years, we have certainly seen a very welcome acceleration in the number of Changing Places toilets being registered in England (and expect to see similar in Scotland as work on the Scottish fund continues). However, none of it would be possible without the strong voices of our small but mighty campaigners!

We know that sometimes, when it gets tough, campaigning can feel like a lonely task, and you can feel like a small voice in a big and noisy world - but we’re very fortunate to have a fantastic network of campaigners who are always more than happy to help each other out. We often refer to the ‘Changing Places community’, and it’s not a phrase we use lightly, many a friendship has been forged in the heat of the CPT campaign battle!

Nothing demonstrates this more perfectly than a recent reunion attended by founding Consortium member, Martin Jackaman. In 2003, after seeing the difficulties faced by individuals, families, and carers in the Nottingham area in using standard toilets designed for those with disabilities, Martin set up a project team to design a toilet that would truly be fully accessible. The project team targeted plans for the new public toilets that were due to open in Nottingham, and Martin successfully persuaded the Council to include the design for what would come to be known as a Changing Places toilet.

Recently, four core members of the original team reunited to celebrate 20 years since their first meeting. They took the opportunity to catch up, reflect, and celebrate what’s been achieved so far. Of course, no Changing Places meet up would be complete without a CP selfie, so the group headed over to Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall to check out their CPT and enjoy a quick photo op!

Martin Jackaman and members of the original Nottingham project team at their recent reunion

We’ll keep doing all that we can, and we know that you will too, to work towards an inclusive world and get the Changing Places toilet design included in all public spaces. There’s no contribution too small, even simply joining the conversation on social media helps to spread the message and raise awareness of how important Changing Places toilets are.

As a Consortium, we’re proud to continue our work here in the UK to make sure that our community isn’t forgotten when it comes to dignity, safety, and sanitation. Our call is to all public venues: install a Changing Places toilet and help to change lives.

As UN Water remind us in their campaign this year: Be the change you want to see in the world.