Bethan and Lowri's story
What a difference a Changing Places toilet makes.
Lowri is 12 years old and has a condition called Rett Syndrome which means she is totally dependant on her family for all activities of daily living. In their powerful video clip Bethan explains the difference this makes to a family day out in Nottingham and why she believes Changing Places toilets have to be the next step in public toilet provision.
Mum Bethan and her two daughters Elin and Lowri were over the moon when they spent a girls' day out in Nottingham City Centre. Like many other families they went shopping and had lunch in a café, followed by an afternoon at the theatre. This may not sound like an unusual story, but for mum Bethan and her family it is the first time in years that this has been possible, thanks to Nottingham City Council's decision to install a Changing Places toilet.
Lowri has profound and multiple learning disabilities due to Retts syndrome. She is a wheelchair user with no independent mobility and needs complete 24-hour support with all aspects of her care. Lowri wears continence pads which need to be changed in a Changing Places toilet, like the one in Nottingham. The facility has plenty of space and provides a height adjustable changing bench where Lowri can be comfortably laid down, and a hoist to allow her to be lifted from her wheelchair on to the bed.
"We used the Changing places toilet on Saturday and it was brilliant!" Bethan enthuses. "Lowri was very comfortable when we used the changing bench and the whole place was spotless. I was able to take Elin and Lowri shopping for school clothes in the morning, have lunch and then go straight on to the theatre, just like anyone else would have done."
As Bethan explains, this is a far cry from the family's usual experiences:
"Without Changing Places toilets it is a nightmare. We try to plan our days around being home for mealtimes because Lowri needs to go to the toilet, meaning we can only spend a few hours away from home. We have a large mat which we carry around in case we have to change her when we are out. We put this down on the floor of ‘disabled’ loos and just muddle through – we have countless experiences at eye level of disgusting toilet floors."
Bethan and Lowri play a major part in our campaign nationally and are actively campaigning for more Changing Places toilets in local Country Parks and Hospitals so that their whole family can continue to do the things most of us take for granted.