I’m so proud of my local council. A member of staff heard my first interview on BBC Radio Solent, talking about the need for benches and hoists in disabled toilets, and they straight away contacted me to find out more. Since then they have been brilliant, liaising with us to discuss layouts and equipment and working really hard to find a way to include these vital facilities in their toilet refurbishment plans. I’m very pleased to say that there will be two changing facilities opening soon in our local area, details of which have been released today. We are very grateful to them for their empathy and compassion and for committing to these facilities so quickly. We really hope other authorities take their lead.
This is what the Council has released today.
Council is Hadley’s Hero for new accessible public toilets plan
New Forest District Council has been named one of Hadley’s Heroes thanks to plans to replace public toilets in Old Milton Road, New Milton and Bath Road, Lymington with more accessible facilities. Work has already started in New Milton and both will be completed by April.
When Sarah Brisdion’s six year old son Hadley, who has Cerebral Palsy, is out and about with his family, he often faces the undignified and unsanitary prospect of being changed on the toilet floor, because standard disabled toilets do not meet his needs. Hadley’s condition means he uses a wheelchair, is unable to stand and wears nappies because he is not always able to control his bowel and bladder movements. When New Forest District Council’s senior streetscene supervisor, Stewart Phillips, heard about this heart breaking situation, he got in touch to see what the family’s local council could do to help.
Sarah, who now campaigns for more accessible public facilities through her online community group, Hadley’s Heroes, said: “Changing somebody you love on a toilet floor is soul-destroying and it can be very dangerous too, lifting somebody from mobility equipment and laying them amongst the thousands of germs present on a toilet floor. But without changing benches or hoists in accessible toilets, this is exactly what families like mine face every day, or we have to choose to not go out at all. Sadly there is very little public awareness of these issues and so most accessible toilets do not include these vital pieces of equipment. That’s something I’m working very hard to change.”
Thanks to conversations with Sarah, new public toilets at New Milton recreation ground and Bath Road in Lymington will have a dedicated changing facility with ceiling hoist and a height adjustable changing bed. Hadley’s Heroes has now named NFDC as one of their ‘heroes’ for its response to her campaign.
Cllr Sophie Beeton, New Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said; “We are very pleased to be able to support the needs of our residents and provide facilities that cater for every member of our community. These new toilets are a great example of how, by listening to and working with local people, we can make a big difference to people’s lives.
“We’re very proud to be named one of Hadley’s Heroes and grateful to Sarah for bringing this important issue to our attention.”
During the build the nearest alternative public toilets in New Milton will be in Spencer Road and in Lymington will be on the quay.