Protesters from advocacy charity Speaking Up and Mencap gathered outside Cambridge City Council's headquarters to call for better public toilet facilities for the disabled. Forty people took part in the protest, which took place during Learning Disability Week.
Why the protest?
Mencap recently published research that found nearly a quarter of a million disabled people in the UK are being denied access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs. This forces carers to change disabled people on toilet floors, leading many to decide not to go out at all. Mencap is calling for more 'Changing Places' toilets to be made available, which are different to standard accessible toilets. They include an adjustable changing bench and a hoist to allow people to use the toilet with assistance or have incontinence pads changed. Cambridge City Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth has backed the campaign and will be writing to the chief executive of the city council to express his concern that there is no Changing Place provision in the county.
How did the media cover it?
The demonstration was featured on Anglia News and on Cambridge Evening News. Members of the High Support Needs Committee attended the Houses of Parliament to deliver the petitions and attend a parliamentary reception on Changing Places. Paralympian Dame Tanni Gray Thompson was also present.