FOR the parent of a disabled child, one of the worst nightmares is their child having an accident in a public place and needing a change of clothes.
This isn’t because it’s embarrassing, or even because it might be humiliating for the child – but because the facilities for their child to be changed don’t exist.
For these parents, there are two choices; take the child home or try and change them in a cramped disabled facility.
But now the parents are taking a stand, and fighting for something to be done to properly cater for them.
The Changing Places campaign has been steadily gathering steam in Gosport as parents rally for their pleas to be taken seriously – and are starting to see success.
One of the mothers who joined this campaign is 28-year-old Hana Young.
She says that finding somewhere to change her five-year-old daughter, Tilly, is almost impossible in the town – and says disabled children are being ‘forgotten about’.
She said: ‘My daughter is disabled and I genuinely cannot take her anywhere in the town in case there is some sort of accident.
‘The only option is to change my daughter on a toilet floor – which is something no parent should ever have to do.’
Now, although a changing place will be installed at Gosport Discovery Centre as part of the building’s renovation, Hana says there is a long way to go before the needs of disabled children are truly understood and catered for.
She said: ‘The one at the Discovery Centre will be the first one in Gosport – I would say it feels good but at the same time it makes me sad that this will still be the only one in the whole town.
‘It has taken far too long and disabled children have just been forgotten.’
Now that the campaign is starting to get recognition, Hana hopes that places will soon become more accessible to disabled children.
She said: ‘It would be great to have places like Gosport Leisure Centre, the high street and so on get on board with the Changing Places campaign – that would open up so many possibilities for parents and for children.
‘If things carry on in the direction they’re going, our worries could become a thing of the past – and that would mean the world to me.’
Privett ward councillor Sean Blackman has also given his backing to the scheme, and urged others to join him
He said: ‘I believe the team at Changing Places have an excellent case and is one which every political party in the borough council can get behind.’