Complaint made to Southampton FC about discrimination

So, the end of the football season is here. And what an end it has been, with Southampton qualifying for Europe. Brilliant performances from everyone on the pitch. I have one very happy family of Saints’ fans. Including Hadley, who is so excited about the success of his football club and wears his red and white with pride!

saintskidsBut off the pitch is a very different story.

Still we have no news at all from Southampton FC about installing suitable changing and toilet facilities for their disabled customers. Which I find more than disappointing. To sit and watch my little boy sob because he can’t go and watch his team live at St Mary’s stadium, is heart-wrenching!  He endures so much, more than any five year old child should have to cope with. All he wants to do is be able to go and watch his team with his friends and family, just like any other footie loving kid.

And why shouldn’t he? Because of a loo. That’s crazy isn’t it? For the sake of a few quid and a different type of toilet, a multi-million pound football club are basically saying he is not welcome. Is this really the world we live in? Do they really have no compassion?

13151830_10208618530236979_6997692196118743785_nFootball is about being together as one because we all love the same thing right? Well apparently not if you have a severe disability. We are not currently part of that wonderful family. We don’t matter.

The clock is ticking now. We need a Changing Places facility at St Mary’s stadium for the start of next season. The club needs to say yes and get on with it. It’s urgent!

It pains me to have to make it formal, but I have had to make an official complaint now to the club about discrimination. That’s a big, bold statement. But one that I feel is justified.

I want to be able to tell my gorgeous little boy that his dreams can come true and he can go to St Mary’s with his grandparents, his nephew, his uncles, his sister and me, and watch his heroes.

Today I sent this letter to the club. On behalf of Hadley. But also on behalf of every Saints fan who needs these facilities. We are not alone in this. There are loads of us and our voices will be heard!

Dear Mr Rogers

FORMAL COMPLAINT

Please accept this letter as a formal complaint of discrimination arising from disability and a failure to make a reasonable adjustment by Southampton Football Club.

Further to my letters to the Chairman, dated 8 January 2016 and my subsequent letter to which I have never had a reply, dated 22 February 2016, and previous letters and emails dated 15 Jan 2013, Apr 12 2013, 27 Jun 2013, 26 Aug 2014, 11 Sep 2014, 6 Jan 2015, 19 Jul 2015 and 15 Sept 2015 from my fellow football supporter Mr Tony Clough, pointing out the urgent requirement for ‘Changing Places’ facilities at St Mary’s Stadium, you have failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your disabled supporters/customers.

Currently without a Changing Places toilet facility (with adult-sized adjustable changing bench and hoist, space for carers and large mobility equipment) my son Hadley, who is registered disabled and has Cerebral Palsy, has been forced to lie on urine-soaked toilet floors to have his nappy changed when visiting St Mary’s Stadium. He has also had to be dangerously lifted from his wheelchair manually in order to do so. Now that he is too heavy to lift in this manner, he is being forced to stay away entirely and is not able to visit to watch a live match at all, because you do not provide a suitable toilet and changing facility for him. This is extremely distressing for both Hadley and myself, as his mother, and is causing a tremendous amount of stress on both of us.

You provide toilets within St Mary’s Stadium for all other supporters/customers and so are not treating all customers equally. Not making reasonable adjustments and adding suitable facilities for those with more complex needs is discriminatory. Due to the length of time that you have been aware of this dangerous situation (over 3 years) and have not found a suitable solution, I feel the only way to progress now is to make a formal complaint.

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) states my son is protected against unlawful discrimination by you as a service provider because of his disability.

Discrimination arising from disability is defined in the Act as:

  • Unfavourable treatment, because of something arising in consequence of that person’s disability, and
  • It cannot be shown that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (‘objective justification’).

The way in which my son has been treated cannot be objectively justified as reasonable adjustments were not put in place for him.

Under the Equality Act 2010, as a service provider, not only do you have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for an individual who is at a substantial disadvantage at that time due to their disability, you also have to take positive steps to ensure that you anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers before they access your service.

It may be that you:

  • Change a provision, criterion or practice
  • Change a physical feature, and/or
  • Provide an auxiliary aid.

If it is reasonable for you the service provider to make an adjustment then it must be made. A failure to comply with this duty could be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

The adjustment which I consider that you have failed to make, is the installation of suitable toilet and changing facilities for disabled customers at St Mary’s Stadium; specifically an adult-sized changing bench or trolley, hoisting equipment and adequate space in order to undertake personal care and toileting needs for those with complex needs.

I would like you to respond to me in writing within 7 days from receipt of this letter with a view to resolving my complaint. In your response I would also like you to explain why you failed to make the reasonable adjustments and confirm that a suitable factiity for disabled supporters will be available for the start of the 2016/17 football season.

 

Yours sincerely

Mrs Sarah Brisdion

On behalf of Hadley Brisdion.

 

 

It’s not difficult to be inclusive

I don’t like to rant and rave too much, but sometimes….. The next time a multi-million pound retailer, business, sports venue, tourist attraction, local authority, NHS trust etc tells me it’s too difficult to install a changing facility to cater for disabled visitors or customers, I’d like to say (shout) this to them.

“It’s not difficult! Yes it takes a bit of investment (but not huge) and consideration. And yes sometimes that takes time and it may inconvenience you just a tiny bit, for a short time. But it’s really not that difficult. 

Difficult is having to sit in your own bodily waste or lay in somebody elses to have a nappy changed.
Difficult is having a disability or illness that prevents you from doing the things you love.
Difficult is having to manage your health or somebody elses, keeping them alive with medication and equipment when you are not even a doctor or nurse.
Difficult is living in a world where society doesn’t appreciate that you cannot help that you have a few extra needs, even though you would love to be able to change that.
Difficult is having to keep quiet about this stuff because you are too embarrassed to discuss your toileting needs in public with perfect strangers or never going out because you fear the state of the facilities you will be faced with.
Difficult is having a disability or illness that restricts or shortens your life.
Difficult is watching somebody you love have to endure any of this.
Difficult is what hundreds of thousands of people living with disabilities face every day and they very rarely complain about it.

It’s easy actually. In the big scheme of things.

‪#‎spacetochange‬ ‪#‎benchandhoist‬ ‪#‎changingplaces‬ ‪#‎flushdiscrimination‬‪ #‎weallneedtopee‬

If the Chairman of Southampton FC had a disabled child, would I even be writing this?

hoDZYhEOkAOnJvh-800x450-noPadWe have had a tiny slither of success at St Mary’s Stadium (Southampton FC). The supporter relations team have confirmed that the first aid rooms are being made available to anyone with additional needs for changing purposes. They are located in all stands, except the Northam I believe. This is a little step in the right direction, but of course only of use to those who can be transferred to a changing bed without a hoist.  Don’t get me wrong. It is a positive move, but it’s sadly nowhere near enough.

I believe that a multi-million pound business like a Premier League Football Club with a huge disabled supporter base, has a moral obligation to do way more and that they should be installing a Changing Places facility, with full sized changing bed, ceiling hoist and peninsular toilet, during this close season, making a firm commitment to all disabled supporters, not just some. And more than that. That they should want to, to show they really do care. Why stall? It’s an easy thing to do (in the close season) and it can only make them look good, attract more fans and leave them less likely to end up with an insurance claim should somebody get injured having to be dangerously lifted at the stadium. I honestly don’t know why they would want to wait. If they are actually going to install one, why not tell us and get the credit they would deserve, rather than constantly ‘fluff’ around the subject, hinting that they may in one breath and then saying that they cannot confirm when or if they will, in another.

So what are they not telling us? Is the club about to be sold perhaps? Or is the lack of commitment simply a case of them really not understanding how wide and urgent the need is?

I wonder if the son or daughter of the Southampton chairman, owners or stadium manager, were severely disabled, if we would even be having this conversation? We probably wouldn’t be would we?

If this were the case, I’d put money on the fact that we would be the most accessible stadium in the Premier League. Because they would understand the tears, the heartache, the lack of public awareness, the lack of support from a government that also does not care about society’s most vulnerable. They would understand how hard it is as a parent to not be able to take away pain, frustrations and medical problems, that make the simple every day things we take for granted, like going to the toilet, a huge challenge. They would appreciate that being able to do the things you love with your family and being included, makes all the difference. And they would be standing beside me, shoulder to shoulder, saying: ‘Hey, this isn’t right! We need a Changing Places at St Mary’s stadium. ASAP! We can’t expect people to lay on floors or be dangerously lifted, or for them to have to sit in their own excrement. Not in 2016!’

 

 

M&S not inclusive.

A wonderful campaigner friend of mine has written this, it’s an open letter to Marks and Spencer. I’m right behind her. I hope you are too. x

Dear Marks & Spencer.

With 852 stores, you are one of the biggest retailers in the UK, you have a store in most of our towns high streets. Most people in the UK have shopped in Marks and Spencer’s at some point in their life and most people I know visit at least once a month.

We all love Marks and Spencer’s for its great quality clothes, gorgeous underwear, comfy shoes. We love to treat ourselves to your food on payday and spend time with friends and family in your cafes.

We love how you change to meet the latest trends and have even recently added adapted clothing to your children’s ranges for those with special or medical needs.

It’s all those things that make you the UK’s favourite retailer.

So let me ask you this…

Why is it perfectly acceptable to you that your loyal customers have to lay their disabled loved ones on your toilet floors to meet their continence needs?Disabled person lying on a toilet floor

Why do some of your customers have to cut their visits to your shops short because they can’t use the toilets you provide?

Why aren’t you making your stores inclusive for EVERYONE?

We’ve been asking you for years to make changes to allow your disabled customers to be able to use ALL of your facilities but you’ve still not changed a thing.

A shocking 75% of disabled people have left a shop or business because of poor disability awareness or facilities, including toilet facilities. That’s 3/4 of your customers!!

We’ve been fobbed off with excuses and false promises for long enough now. It’s time for change.

Marks and Spencer’s do you realise that the UK has :

– 1.5 million wheelchair users

– One in 10 people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence (around 1.2 million people aged 65+affected by faecal incontinence)

-1.5million people with a learning disability

– 1.2million people living with stroke

– 62,000 amputees

– 30,000 people with cerebral palsy

– 13,000 people with acquired brain injuries

– 8,500 people with multiple sclerosis

– 500 people with motor neurone disease

– 8,000 people with spina bifida

All of these people are potential M&S customers. And ALL would benefit from a Changing Places or Space To Change toilet facility in your store.

The UK’s 11.9 million disabled people are said to have disposable income collectively worth £80bn!

By not providing these facilities what you’re really saying is that you don’t want us to shop with you. That our money isn’t good enough for you and that you will only provide facilities for those that it’s easy to cater for.

Times are changing, it’s 2016 and it’s time you changed too, you’ve already shown you can by adding adapted clothing to your range so let’s take it a step further.

In an ideaChanging Places logo JPEGl world, we would always prefer to have a Changing Places facility and we believe
there is no excuse not to install one in your bigger stores and in all your newly built stores, but at 12m sq not all your existing stores have enough space to accommodate one and we accept that.13007285_1737983249792437_8067044725675004600_n

At 7mt sq, Space To Change offers a great alternative to those stores with space constraints, in fact some of your current disabled toilets could easily be changed to a Space To Change facility simply by adding some equipment…no building work necessary.

By providing this you will be making your stores far more appealing to thousands of customers who like your products, enjoy your food and want to spend time with their loved ones in your cafes.

Your ‘SOMETHING GOOD IS HERE’ campaign states “We believe in doing the right thing, not just saying it.” So please don’t make excuses anymore. The time for change is now, its time to do something good!

What do you say Marks & Spencer’s? Are you in? Do you want to be the UK’s first and only fully accessible and disabled friendly retailer?

Because that’s what we want from you!

#M&SForAll  #ChangingPlaces #SpaceToChange

Everyone is entitled to a #spacetochange

Enjoying time away from home is being made easier with the launch of a new solution for accessible toilets- Space to Change.

Space To Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places toilet facilities.

The concept has been developed to ensure that the personal hygiene needs of up to three million British children and adults* who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal care are met when away from home, as much as possible. It encompasses a 7m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.

12670878_831294093642939_7418528948173698631_nThe concept of Space To Change toilets is the brainchild of leading Changing Places campaigners. Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away, has been instrumental in developing the Space To Change toilet layout, and working with campaigners and Firefly Community to promote the concept. Firefly Community, an online special needs resource, will drive the movement, supporting campaigners and raising awareness of the need for accessible toilets that include a height adjustable changing bench and hoist.

“So often, venues and organisations say they understand the need for a Changing Places toilet, but, in existing buildings, as it should be provided in addition to other accessible toilets, they haven’t the extra space- 12m2– or cannot afford the cost of potentially extensive building works to create the additional space, and the ancillaries and equipment,” explains campaigner Tony Clough.

Adds fellow campaigner Sarah Brisdion, “In an ideal world, we would always prefer to have a Changing Places, but Space To Change gives a viable alternative for providers constrained by space and/or money. It gives those places the opportunity to meet our needs, so we can relax when we do even routine things that most people take for granted- going into town, doing the weekly supermarket shop….

“Without these facilities, we either have to lie our loved one on the toilet floor- which you wouldn’t even expect to do with a baby- or we have to cut our trip short, or not go at all. Many wheelchair-accessible toilets are already big enough, so all that is needed to create a Space To Change, which gives everything needed, is the addition of the changing bench and hoist! Hopefully this new option will mean we will see many more venues we can access safe in the knowledge we can enjoy our visit like anyone else as there are suitable toilet facilities.”

Full details of the Space To Change concept, plus technical support, CAD blocks etc, can be found at www.clos-o-mat.com and http://community.fireflyfriends.com/campaigns/space-to-change .

——-

* Potential users of a Space 2 Change toilet:

  • 1.5m wheelchair users
  • One in 10 people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence (around 1.2 million people aged 65+affected by faecal incontinence)
  • 1.5million people with a learning disability
  • 1.2million people living with stroke
  • up to 100,000 amputees
  • 30,000 children with cerebral palsy
  • 13,000 people with acquired brain injuries
  • 100,000 people with multiple sclerosis
  • 350,000 people with with a neural disease that means they need help with daily life
  • 75,000 people affected by spina bifida

 

Longdown Activity Farm Opens Changing Places facility.

It’s open, and it’s changing lives already!  We had the honour of opening the facility at our beloved Longdown Activity Farm in Ashurst, on 12  March, which, rather fittingly, was Disabled Access Day.

Hadley cut the ribbon, alongside Sam Burnage, aged 9.

_MG_0206

For those who have not been following the progress of the facility, it’s been a labour of love for all concerned. Hadley’s family, friends and friends of the farm have all played a huge role, from helping us to shovel manure to raise funds for the facility, to physically painting and building it!

There are so many people to thank, including everyone who has bought a raffle ticket (or ten!), the member of the Dung Heap Challenge Teams and their families and friends who sponsored them, Storage Onside Solutions in Marchwood for providing the container free of charge, The Saxon Inn in Calmore for raising over £1800 towards the cost through various events, Crown Paint in Millbrook for providing all the paint, brushes and equipment we needed, the plumber, builders and electricians for all going above and beyond, providing work free of charge wherever possible…

IMG_3373…Hadley’s grandparents and other family members, for all picking up brushes and painting, helping with prizes and selling tickets for raffles like their lives depended on it, my brother for making the bespoke door for the unit and making sure it was ready in time and Pete, my step-dad and Hadley’s grandad, for working non-stop to convert the container and making it into an incredible room as well as fixing every problem we came up against in his usual ‘laid back, nothing is too much trouble’ style.  To the lovely Nina Lazarski, for pulling off a wonderful piece of art for the inside at such short notice (and for the future murals she is going to paint),  Kelvin at Clos-o-mat for supplying the kit inside and sharing in the sleepless nights and worry of getting this finished in time and of course Bryan and Dawn the owners of the farm,  for their commitment and support of this project, despite the huge financial investment. Everyone has been incredible and the result is something very special that will always be the very first Changing Places facility that I personally helped to create. There are so many more people I need to add too that have donated anonymously or supplied prizes, provided advice and asked favours, the list is endless and you will always be remembered.

_MG_0264

The responses on the Longdown Activity Farm Facebook page say it all. I’ve never seen so many people say thank you for a toilet! And to read about families who can now attend the farm who previously were unable to answers all of my prayers and just confirms why we do this.

Thank you Longdown Activity Farm for leading the way and showing others exactly how it is done!

 

 

Longdown Activity Farm Opens New Changing Room Facility for Visitors with Disabilities and additional needs. 

Having been approached by local campaigning mum Sarah Brisdion, Longdown Activity Farm will be opening a state-of-the-art changing room and toilet facility on 12th March for visitors and staff with disabilities and additional needs. The date ties in with Disabled Access Day, launched by New Forest Access For All in 2015.

Changing Places facility
Photograph: courtesy of Clos-o-mat

The changing room facility will include an adult-size, height-adjustable changing bed, lifting hoist, carer accessible toilet and height-adjustable sink, as well as plenty of additional space for carers and mobility equipment.

Sarah’s 5-year old son Hadley, who has Cerebral Palsy, is often faced with the undignified and unsanitary situation of being changed on urine-soaked toilet floors because standard accessible toilets simply don’t meet his needs. As a result, Sarah is campaigning for better accessible toilet and changing facilities in public places on behalf of Hadley and millions of others in the UK with disabilities.

Sarah has been working closely with Bryan and Dawn Pass, owners of Longdown Activity Farm, organising a fun ‘Dung Heap Challenge’ which raised an impressive £4,000 towards the facility, through the efforts of local sponsors and friends, and advising on equipment and housing.

Sarah states: “Standard disabled toilets usually only meet the needs of independent toilet users, therefore excluding anyone with more complex needs requiring extra support. It is a fact that very few people are aware of unless they directly face incontinence or mobility issues. I am very grateful to Bryan and Dawn Pass; this additional facility will add to the sterling visitor experience that they already offer to individuals with additional needs.”

Bryan Pass, owner of Longdown Activity Farm added: “We care deeply about being as inclusive as possible and so we are excited to be able to offer such an important facility to our customers with additional needs. We are one of the first attractions in the New Forest area to install such a comprehensive and inclusive facility for its visitors and that’s something that we will be very proud of.”

The changing room facility will be open from 1pm on 12th March 2016. 

Response from the Chairman’s Office at Southampton Football Club

hoDZYhEOkAOnJvh-800x450-noPadHere’s the letter I received from the Chairman’s office at Southampton FC last week. I hope we can move forward from this and get some real commitment. I will as ever, keep you all posted.

Thank you for your continued support in showing that this is about more than one little boy and one match and in helping me to achieve a Changing Places facility, for everyone with additional needs who would like to attend matches at St Mary’s.

—–

Dear Mrs Brisdion,

Thank you for your patience in being able to respond to you and I am delighted to hear your family are season ticket holders of the Club.

It is very much appreciated in the time that you have taken to inform me of the work and problems you are facing at our stadium for your family.

There are many areas that we would like to be able to implement immediately to assist in fans being able to come to games. The game is a great environment for families to come to and we look to encourage this wherever possible. As you have experienced unfortunately certain areas of improvement take a longer period of time to implement than we would wish.

I am kept informed regularly on updates from our customer service team and the meetings they have with SDSA, as a club we looked to ensure that all areas of the stadium meet regulations and where possible are excelled in.

We are looking to install a Changing Places facility however at present we are unable to action with immediate effect. We understand for some of our fans, such as your son Hadley that this is imperative and therefore this is important to us to action as soon as we are in a position to do so. We are currently undertaking a full review of accessibility at St Mary’s, I hope that you will start to see some of the changes we are making to provide for as many disabled fans as we can – such as the new automatic doors installed in the Megastore.

The work through your campaigning for the facilities is extremely positive to hear and I hope that the results will show through in many areas.

Please be assured that any areas of improvement and problems that our fans are facing are reviewed and actioned when we are able to as soon as we can. I appreciate this is not the speed that you or I would like in certain areas. Unfortunately I cannot promise a time scale to your request however I can assure you that we are looking to improve all disable facilities to help our fans.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to Katharina and I personally.

Our customer services team will continue to support you in the meantime where they can.

Regards,

Chairman’s Office

—-

Dear Mr Krueger,

Thank you for your reply. Whilst I appreciate that this issue may not be top of your business agenda, I’m very disappointed that the club is making no real commitment to providing these essential facilities, other than saying that you are looking at installing one.

You say that you are not in a position to ‘action with immediate effect’ and that you will ‘action as soon as we are in a position to do so’. But please can you help me understand what position it is that we are waiting to be in? And what timescales you anticipate? Surely an audit of accessibility is not that time-consuming. Perhaps there is something that I’m not understanding. One would presume it could not possibly be we are waiting to be in a better financial position?

So if it is space and location you are worried about, I can help you with that and would be delighted to visit and advise those working on the accessibility audit. I am working closely with a nationally recognised company to install facilities at Longdown Activity Farm and the New Forest District Council. I know they would be very happy to attend a meeting, with no obligation on your part, to help ensure you locate the facility in the right place and explain exactly how easy and how quickly something can be installed.

Incidentally Changing Places can be mobile, where building issues get in the way, and so are pretty immediate. Our facility at Longdown is actually a shipping container and takes up no more space than a large burger van. We will have turned it around in just over a month from start to finish! Another point of note: The Old Trafford facility only took 6 months from when Manchester United first started looking into it, until the opening day of the facility.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you further.
Best regards
Sarah

Changing room at Longdown Activity Farm is underway!

12654690_10154044338291454_1687623498921226325_nIt’s underway!! Our wonderful changing room and accessible toilet facility at Longdown Activity Farm…it doesn’t look much right now, but just wait until you see what we do with it! Going to be such a special moment when this is finished and up and running. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far, physically and financially. It’s not wonky btw! That’s my terrible photography on a very windy day!

 

Open letter to the owners and Chairman of Southampton Football Club

Dear Ralph and Katharina

I hope this finds you well. I would like to draw your attention to something, in the hope that you can help me and the many disabled supporters our wonderful football club has.

Manchester United announced recently that they have now installed a Changing Places facility at Old Trafford, along side the brilliant facilities already at Arsenal, Liverpool and Wembley. Whilst I appreciate they are ‘big’ clubs and stadia, I thought we had the same ambitions?

My son Hadley, along with many other Saints supporters with disabilities or additional needs, is simply not catered for by our club, as he requires a ‘Changing Places’ facility when away from home. He has Cerebral Palsy, is a wheelchair user and is incontinent due to his disability, so must wear nappies. A changing place is a special toilet facility that includes a height-adjustable changing bed and ceiling tracking hoist, as well as additional space and a peninsular toilet with space for carers either side. Whilst this might seem excessive to many people, to families like ours it is nothing short of vital and essential for using the toilet – a basic human need and activity that most of us take for granted.

12011146_10153741701576454_6793363482589797073_n

Without a Changing Place type facility at St Mary’s stadium, children and adults with Hadley’s needs simply cannot attend matches, or they are faced with the indignity, unsanitary and I believe inhumane reality of having to be changed on a dirty toilet floor, or having to sit in their own bodily waste for prolonged periods of time. Would you lay on the floor of a toilet at a football match? I can assure you it is heart-wrenching as a mother to subject my son to such circumstances, which is why we currently cannot attend matches of the football club that I have adored since childhood myself. (I was a season ticket holder until I had my son!)

We are a family club, something that I and my family have always been so proud of. But currently one of  the most cherished members of my family is being excluded. Just to give you an idea of how much we adore our club, here is a list of approximately how much money the 10 season ticket holders in my family alone, spend per year with the Club!

£7,000 per year on season tickets and other match day tickets
£1,100 per year on refreshments
£300 per year on programmes
£750 per year on shirts 
£750 per year on merchandise from the Club shop
Four of these family members have been season ticket holders for life!

I have been liaising in the past with your customer services team, who have offered the use of the first aid room for changing my son at a match. Whilst it is a appreciated and a thoughtful gesture, and they have been very friendly, it does not solve the problem! This would only help my family, for one match. Which is really missing the point don’t you think? What about all the other supporters who already attend matches (or who wish to) who have these needs, who would require a hoist to be lifted for changing or toiletting?

I understand that a Changing Place has been “on the table” for some years now and so I am hoping that you agree that the time is now right to put this in place, as our club continues to strive for bigger and bigger success.

You may or may not be aware that I am heading the campaign for these facilities in our area and have been on BBC Radio Solent and in the Echo recently, discussing these issues and facilities. Public awareness and support is very much increasing. Even our local activity farm is currently in the process of installing a Changing Places facility, and I can assure you its turnover is significantly smaller than SFC!

So many people do not realise that these issues even exist, which is completely understandable if you have never had to live with them. But I feel very strongly that businesses and large public venues, particularly those that charge substantial prices for people to enter or use, have a responsibility to ensure that all of their customers are included and welcome.  I believe Southampton Football Club, and St Mary’s Stadium, comes at the very top of that list of those who should and must provide one of these facilities in order to fulfil their responsibility to those customers.

There is a lot of information I can provide you with. I have a personal campaign website www.hadleysheroes.co.uk and the national campaign is www.changing-places.org, but perhaps most noteable is the following:

The Equality Act 2010 replaces the Disability Discrimination Act. Under it, service providers are required to make reasonable changes – including to the built environment – where a disabled customer or potential customer would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage. I believe having to have a nappy changed on a dirty toilet floor is more than a significant disadvantage, don’t you?

The Equality Act 2010 also requires: that ‘service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people’ and that they ’should not wait until a disabled person experiences difficulties using a service’

BS8300:2009 The Design of Buildings and their Approaches to Meet the Needs of Disabled People – Code of Practice was published in 2009. It recommends that Changing Places toilets should be provided in larger buildings and complexes such as:

a) major transport termini or interchanges, e.g. large railway stations and airports
b) motorway services
c) sport and leisure facilities, including large hotels
d) cultural centres, such as museums, concert halls and art galleries
e) stadia and large auditoria
f) shopping centres and shopmobility centres
g) key buildings within town centres, e.g. town halls, civic centres and main public libraries
h) educational establishments
i) health facilities, such as hospitals, health centres and community practices.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You are very welcome to contact me at any time to discuss and I will help you in any way that I can. I will be only too happy to provide you with details of the type of equipment and supplies that would be suitable for a facility and can put you in touch with trusted suppliers that I have met throughout my campaigning. And I would welcome the opportunity to meet you to discuss this in person.

The club is great at PR and liaising with fans, but I would really appreciate your personal thoughts and plans on this. I was very sad to learn that a fellow campaigner of mine has been speaking to the club for over two years about these issues and has not even been getting replies to his messages of late.

I hope to hear from you very soon.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs Sarah Brisdion

Please sign the petition