Provide toilet facilities accessible for all in Stockport Town Centre/Redrock
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A week ago I emailed Stockport Council about making the town centre so that everyone of any disability can come and enjoy what it has to offer. With the huge amount of money spent on the arrival of Redrock I feel it is only fair to offer disabled facilities that aren't just a grab rail and a toilet. Realistically, we need a level access dressing table that is waterproof and has a high weight limit; a hoist; room for a wheelchair and other medical equipment, a sink (preferably height adjustable for wheelchair users). The changing places website states that Fred Perry house has a changing places however there needs to be one near the shops/entertainment complex for people enjoying a day out. The Fred Perry toilets state to be open until 5pm - this is no use to a wheelchair user/person with a disability who is going to the cinema and eateries in the evening.
I received no response to my email and sent it on to my local MP William Wragg who is also yet to respond. Below is what I sent: I fully recognise that yes this costs money but at the same time unless you are aware of a certain issue you cannot cater for it. I am not asking for every big store to have changing places, but one or two convenient places ie peel centre, central Stockport/redrock where people who need extra facilities can go and be safe, hygenic and retain dignity instead of cutting a trip short. No one is immune to disability, it can happen to anyone at any time. We are saving more lives and as a result have more people with complex health needs and physical disabilities. We need to ensure that towns have the provisions in place to suit those people's needs so that they too can lead fulfilling happy lives and have proper access to the community. If Wilmslow leisure centre can do this - Stockport as a Town can.
I feel this is a fantastic opportunity for Stockport to ensuire inclusivity of all disabilities and will encourage more visitors. Currently we plan all of our trips on where has the facilities for my daughter who has severe cerebral palsy (GMFCS 5). If the Arndale, Trafford Centre, The Chester Zoo and many many other places can do it, then Stockport definitely can. This is an issue close to my heart that prior to having my daughter I never knew even existed as a problem. With the right funds this problem is very easy to solve and could transform the lives of many others. I want to make a difference to lives and make sure that everyone can have the same experience when out in the community and aren't isolated at home.
The existing disabled toilets in the centre near Boots are absolutely diabolical. I recently used a radar key to access these toilets and there is nothing we can use to change Amy's pad. We had to use the ladies toilets where there is a big table for changing babies on - my almost 5 year old should NOT be getting changed in front of strangers/the public and this certainly shouldn't be the case when she is much older.
My email to the council is below:
"I am just wondering how we go about getting some suitable changing places for people with disabilities put into the centre?
I know that Beckwith house has facilities but I had hoped that when redrock opened more considerations would be made so that everyone can have access to everything.
I am happy to help fundraise or start a petition.
My daughter loves going to stockport and we go a lot... we are especially pleased about the great disabled parking facilities alongside redrock.
We recently used our radar key at the toilets near boots only to find they are for people with disabilities that only require a grab rail.
Level access changing facilities like a fold down table and also a hoist would make the world of difference for us in accessing the community as I know it would for several of our friends who face the same issues having to cut days out short/stay at home because they can't get what they need to stay out like everyone else.
Above is a link to the changing places website. for example at chester zoo, the trafford centre, the arndale centre and so on where we've been able to enjoy a day out like everyone else because of apt access and equipment.
This is an issue that will be on the rise with the longer lifespans we are able to live and also because of the babies they are now able to save that previously couldn't be. Medical technology has save dso many lives and we need to ensure that everyone has the correct provisions in order to live a dignified, comfortable and safe life.
One thing no one is immune to is disability - it can happen to anyone at any time. If people lived a day in our lives they too would campaign for change to help enrich the lives of their loved ones.
(For context: our most recent trip to stockport involved me placing my 16kg child on a 15kg baby changing table in costa... it was a "disabled" toilet and yet no room for her wheelchair, no hoisting, no space for medical equipment... and everyone knocking on the door wanting to change their baby as i took over 20 mins in my limited space to change her.)
Thanks in advance,"
To this email I will also attach a photograph of a changing places we used at Chester zoo. For context.. the arndale, the trafford centre, chester zoo, sandringham water park and many other important places for the community have changing places. I understand that Beckwith house has a changing places however I feel this is not central to where people visit in Stockport. My thinking is more redrock and peel centre oriented.
I have also attached a picture of my daughter as she is today. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy to full term but unfortunately Amy's heartrate slowed when I wasin labour and she was born with no heartbeat and required resusitation. As a result she has severe cerebral palsy, is solely tube fed, is non verbal and non mobile, and also has epilepsy. With the improvements in medical technology we are saving more lives... but in order to cope with this we need the right provisions to ensure the dignity, hygiene, and safety of these people. It is only ever going to be a growing issue... it shouldn't be a question of should we.. it is a question of how soon can we get this sorted.
Thank you for reading my email,
I am more than happy to discuss further and as you can see Stockport Council are continuing to post content on their facebook without actually responding to my post (of which has had a few shares and I have also commented daily requesting a response). I really want to work to make our town a more accessible place for everyone and have several friends in our network in simliar situations.
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