Fraser Simmonds is 8 years old and lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition which causes muscles to weaken over time. He has never been able to walk and uses a powered wheelchair. Mum Shelley explains that they have had some horrendous experiences of disabled toilets over the years:
“Often they are dark, dingy and smelly. As they house baby changing facilities, dirty nappies are left to fester and overflow which is really unpleasant. Fraser needs help removing his clothes to use the toilet and I have to kneel on the floor to support him with this; I dread to think what I’ve knelt in over the years, but what other choice is there? Regular disabled toilets are often far too small and we find ourselves in all sorts of positions trying to navigate the space! Usually I take anti-bac wipes in with us as we rarely find a clean disabled toilet because they are disrespected so much.”
Changing Places have been a vital addition to the lives of the Simmonds Family when out and about. “We like to explore different places and have lots of adventures and Changing Places allow us to do that without the stress of wondering what the loo will be like” Shelley explains. “It makes such a difference to open the door of a Changing Places and find a bright and clean space waiting for us! Changing Places make disabled people feel like they matter; going to the toilet is a basic human right and everyone deserves the same dignity.”
The Simmonds Family are passionate campaigners of Changing Places - a couple of years ago Fraser featured in a campaign with the Department for Transport highlighting the importance of the adult size changing bench and hoist and Shelley joined other campaigners at the “Looathon” event at Baker Street a couple of years ago where she got her “pants down for equality”!