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1st Jun 2021

We are a family of five from Oxfordshire. Our eldest daughter, Tamsin, is 16. As a full-time wheelchair user, we find many places are inaccessible to her. Three years ago, Tamsin had spinal fusion surgery. With titanium rods supporting the full length of her spine the world has become even more inaccessible.

Until Tamsin was 13, we managed to get by using regular disabled loos. This involved manually lifting Tamsin from her wheelchair and holding her in a standing position. However, as Tamsin cannot stand, this meant holding her entire body weight over one arm whilst using the other hand to remove her clothing. Then lifting her onto the loo and holding her in position (she cannot sit either). It was back-breaking and it was heart-breaking. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t safe and it wasn’t dignified. But we did it anyway, because what choice did we have….? Simple – the only other 'choice' was to just stay home!

Since her surgery, Tamsin understandably does not feel safe being lifted manually; she needs a ceiling hoist to lift her safely from her wheelchair and a height-adjustable, adult-sized, changing bench to be able to lie down to prepare for toileting. This was when we discovered Changing Places. Changing Places provide exactly the right space and equipment we need for our daughter to enjoy going out, but there simply aren’t enough of them to give her the quality of life she deserves.


Our “choices” for getting out and about now are extremely limited:

- Only visit somewhere with a Changing Places (hardly anywhere)
- Visit venues with no Changing Places and rely on stopping somewhere that does have one on the way there and on the way back (often not an option)
- Only go out for short periods and just hope Tamsin can wait until we get home (very risky)
- Don’t go out (you can guess how this “choice” makes us feel)!
​- We need LOTS more Changing Places. It is not fair that Tamsin cannot go out and enjoy socialising. Until Changing Places are commonplace, we have to do toilet research before we can visit anywhere new. All too often, research is fruitless; showing there is no usable toilet.

​Our daughter deserves better. We deserve better. No one should be denied the opportunity to go out simply because of a lack of accessible toilets – especially when the soLOOtion is so simple!