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Changing Places with the Paralympics
Wednesday 19 September 2012
The London 2012 Paralympic Games have created a lasting legacy for the Changing Places campaign
The Changing Places campaign, which is sponsored by Clos-o-mat, acts on behalf of the thousands of people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and their carers, as well as many other disabled people. They need Changing Places toilets with enough space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.
In the run up to London 2012, the Changing Places Consortium – of which Mencap is a member – campaigned for the installation of Changing Places toilets in the Olympic Park and within London’s transport system. This would give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the Olympics and Paralympic Games.
As a result, there are now a number of permanent Changing Places toilets in the Olympic Park, including three in the Olympic Stadium. These will stay as long as the park does. There are also Changing Places toilets in a number of railway stations, including King’s Cross St Pancras. It brings the total number of toilets to 446.
The Games also raised general awareness of the Changing Places campaign. There were signs for the toilets within the Olympic Park and the mobile Changing Places toilets were with all the other toilets – so, they were clearly visible to the public. Some disabled people were even introduced to the toilets for the first time.
“Having Changing Places toilets at the Games enabled many people with PMLD and other severe disabilities to be part of something amazing,” says Beverley Dawkins, Mencap’s policy manager for PMLD and member of the Changing Places Consortium. “Now they will go away and realise that it is possible to go to such things and are more likely to do so in the future.
“We will be working to get more toilets as a legacy of the Games. And we will be making sure that as many mobile toilets as possible are turned into permanent features.”
You can help build the legacy by joining the Changing Places flash mob at London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square on Thursday 11 October. If you would like to come along, contact Mark Grainger on 07789 720 406 or firstname.lastname@example.org