Monday, 22 June 2009
Learning Disability Week
If you read my blog last week you'll know that it's Learning Disability Week.
This year's theme is all about accesible toilets.
Research carried out by Mencap and the Changing Places Consortium found that 230,252 people, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, are being denied access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs, forcing carers to either change their loved-ones on dirty toilet floors or become prisoners in their own home.
Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets and include an adjustable changing bench and a hoist to allow people to use the toilet with assistance or have their incontinence pads changed. There are currently only 85 in the UK.
The learning disability charity is calling on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to change building regulations to make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new big public buildings. The charity’s call coincides with Learning Disability Week (22 – 28 June).
Mark Goldring, chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, said: “Every time a carer is forced to change a disabled family member on a dirty toilet floor is a stain on the conscience of our country. The government must take immediate action and make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new big public places, otherwise they will continue to let down a quarter of a million of our most vulnerable citizens”.
Julie Marriott whose 11-year-old son Toby has profound and multiple learning disabilities, said: “I am racked with guilt every time I lie my son Toby down on a dirty toilet floor because I know I am risking his health. But I have no other option. We can’t stay at home all the time. If there were Changing Places toilets in public places we wouldn’t have to cut short our family days out or face changing Toby on a filthy toilet floor. Our lives would be dramatically improved and we would be able to enjoy days out, just like other families.”
Follow this link to find out what action you can take this week.