Speakers, campaigners and guests gathered from across the country at the Proact Stadium last Saturday, 21st February, for the first-ever national Changing Places Conference.
Changing Places facilities are needed by around 250,000 people in the country whose needs are not met by standard accessible toilets due to a disability, age or brain-injury for example.
The stadium itself has a Changing Places facility used by football fans both home and away as well as by those attending community groups based in the stadium such as those provided by McIntyre and Leonard Cheshire. The facility’s success is the reason it was chosen to host the conference.
Speakers Gillian Scotford and Jane Carver from the charity Accessible Derbyshire were joined by others from across the country to celebrate what has been achieved, hear the latest news and to plan for the future via a combination of presentations and interactive workshops.
Jane, who has been campaigning for Changing Places for the past 12 years said: “When you are out there on your own campaigning for change it can sometimes be a lonely journey so to be in a room full of so many like-minded people felt wonderful!
Gillian commented that: “Thanks to enthusiastic campaigning there are now 148 Changing Places facilities within a 50 mile radius of Chesterfield which is fantastic for the area as they are a key enabler for days out for families like ours.”
The Changing Places facility at the Proact was recently announced as the 700th in the country. It was also nominated for the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for the best in the Britain for the fact that is has enabled the Proact to become a true community hub. The eventual winners, announced at Saturday’s conference, were Arsenal Football Club with the Spireites’ facility coming in third place: an achievement to be proud of!
Derbyshire now has 23 Changing Places facilities in total which are featured on http://www.accessiblederbyshire.org. Further information is also available at www.changing-places.org or on the Derbyshire County Council website.
Gillian Scotford and Jane Carver
Accessible Derbyshire is a local, registered charity (no: 1155675) that was founded in March of last year by Gillian Scotford and Jane Carver. It’s aim is to improve the lives of disabled people, their families and carers, living in or visiting Derbyshire and the Peak District. At its heart is ‘one-stop’ website showcasing the best in accessible leisure and tourism in the area: www.accessiblederbyshire.org.
In December 2014 the charity launched The Big Push: a 2 year initiative which aims to make this area the most accessible in the country.
Changing Places are large, hygienic spaces with a height-adjustable changing bench and ceiling hoist as well as the usual facilities you would expect in a toilet and are needed by 250,000 people in the country. The national campaign is run by Mencap and is sponsored by ‘Aveso’.
Press enquiries: please contact Jane on (07775) 639789.