LETTER: Life-changing new facility

Your views.
Your views.

At present there are over 250,000 people countrywide who require hoist assisted toileting or an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench when trying to lead a normal life outside of the home.

Their conditions could perhaps be cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease, autism, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy, to name but a few. One of those people is my 8-year-old son, Ryan. He is profoundly autistic with a significant developmental delay and learning difficulties and he is still in nappies. At present when accessing the community there are no adequate facilities if he needs changing as he is too heavy for the regular wall mounted drop-down baby changers.

So what do I do? I have no option but to lay him down on a public toilet floor and change him that way. Completely unhygienic, undignified and unacceptable. There is a solution though. They are called changing places, spaces to change or hoist assisted toilets. But they come at a high cost. It has taken me over 4 years to secure a location, secure the funding and have an appropriate facility built, but finally thanks to some wonderful people from The County Mall in Crawley, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and the All Aspex Group I will be so very proud to cut the ribbon and officially open The Ryan Box Changing Places Toilet on Friday June 16th from 10am-11.30am at The County Mall in Crawley. This facility really is life-changing for so many people who will be given their freedom back to engage in a regular activity of going into town, doing some shopping, having some lunch, which the majority of people take for granted and allow them to be toileted safely, hygienically and with dignity. No more laying on a toilet floor in Crawley town centre.

Maria Cook

Chairperson, Autism Support Crawley

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