Over the past few months you may have seen temporary solutions popping up to ‘solve’ the issue of disabled toilets not being suitable for all disabled people.
From portakabins to mobile toilets and even toiles in tents, there are numerous options on the market now which provide a temporary, and mobile solution.
But families like mine are becoming increasingly concerned about these temporary solutions.
It seems to us that they are being promoted as the answer to all our problems and a "quick fix" within the places we want to visit.
The reason we are concerned is because they are not suitable for everyone.
A mobile changing places toilet, such as a MobiLoo has its place and is ideal for temporary events, it can park up and provide a toilet solution where there wasn’t one previously.
But when it’s gone, so is the toilet.
And we shouldn’t be planning our days by following a mobile toilet from venue to venue.
A temporary structure such as a MigLoo also has its place in the market and is ideal for a school fete or even a one day festival (although in both of those places, a MobiLoo would provide more privacy and a safer hoisting system).
These type of structures might even have a place as a temporary solution within a building while they are building a permanent Changing Places toilet.
But any building which can house one of these temporarily could, and should, provide a permanent option which would be suitable for everyone.
A portakabin also has its place and is perfect for buildings which don’t have enough space indoors but if a large building is providing toilets for everyone else inside, then why should a disabled person have to go outside (potentially in the rain) to get to the toilet?
A changing places toilet is essential to so many people because of the things it provides which you won’t find in other disabled / accessible toilets.
A ceiling track hoist, which covers the majority of the room.
An adult sized, height adjustable, changing bed which provides somewhere clean to lay but also offers the carer different height options to allow for their safety and prevent issues to their backs.
Space for the wheelchair user and carers, or children if the parent has more than one child which is very common but often forgotten.
And a toilet and basin.
Facilities with these things have recently been referred to as the “gold standard”, but to me this is the basic standard.
Because, without those 5 things, a changing places toilet is not usable by everyone who needs it.
It is great to see more people getting on board with the changing places campaign, and working hard to make changes for more than ½ million people who need them.
However, as a campaigner I feel as though these temporary solutions are simply watering down the campaign.
They are giving businesses cheaper solutions which are not suitable for everyone.
The businesses providing those cheaper options will end up realising that they aren’t suitable for everyone, or aren't being used, and will then have another excuse not to provide what we all really need.