Fight to transform ‘undignified’ toilets

A GROUP of parents have launched a campaign to improve public toilets for disabled people in and around Worthing.

Laura Moore, 37, from Goring, says that at the moment, children and adults are having to lie on dirty floors so that they can be changed by their parents or carers.

Her own four-year-old, William, who has severe dystonic motor disorder, can only just be lifted onto a regular baby-changing table.

Mrs Moore said: “He is getting bigger and heavier and at some point in the not too distant future I won’t be able to lift him anymore.

“We are campaigning to get changing places style toilets installed in the town centre with hoists and large changing beds so that disabled children and adults are not subjected to choosing between lying on the dirty floor, if their carer can get them there without a hoist, or sitting in a dirty nappy or pad until they can go home to be changed.

“It is now accepted and expected that everyone has a right to live in the community, to move around within it and access all its facilities.

“The current facilities are outdated and do not provide the facilities necessary for a large section of our society.”

Mrs Moore said that thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities cannot use standard accessible toilets.

“They need support from one or two carers to use the toilet or to have their continence pad changed,” she said.

“Standard accessible toilets do not provide changing benches or hoists and most are too small to accommodate more than one person.

“Without Changing Places style toilets, the person with disabilities is put at risk, and families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their daughter or son on a toilet floor. 
“This is dangerous, unhygienic and undignified.”

Rowena Humphrey, mother to Finn, aged ten, said: “We do not go out as a family for than three hours at a time,as there is no where to change our son’s pad.

“Or we have to change him in the back of our car, with nearly no privacy.

“No-one would be expected to change their baby on the floor, so why is it okay for disabled children and adults?”

Samantha Buck, mother of seven-year-old Alfie, added: “If you are severely disabled or paralysed, you need carers to lift you out of the wheelchair and place you on a flat surface to have your continence pad changed.

“This is what I am forced to do with my son, I have to lay him on a urine soaked floor inside the disabled loo, with the second carer standing outside with the wheelchair having to pass to me the changing accessories through the open door for all passers by to view.

“This is one of the most awful experience and I have to go through this every time I change Alfie.”

A similar campaign is running in Horsham where more than 14,200 votes have been collected as part of a petition to present to the district council and West Sussex County Council.

Paul Yallop, leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “This was raised at the Adur and Worthing councils’ Joint Strategic Committee and I agreed we would look into it.”