Liz Ellis has plans.
One day, she’s going to surf in every state in Australia. But there’s just one challenge in her way.
“I have big travel goals coming up, but sometimes travelling seems virtually impossible,” she says.
Liz is a wheelchair and Changing Places user, and is a very active and social person. She’s a regular attendee at the footy at the MCG, and the tennis and concerts at Rod Laver Arena – but it hasn’t always been easy to participate at large events.
“Sometimes at the tennis, it would get to a point that I’d just have to leave, because there was no suitable toilet for me to use,” she recalls.
“It meant I was missing out on what I paid for.”
That’s all changed now!
“I’m so excited there’s a Changing Places at Rod Laver. It opens up so many more event options for me,” she says.
But for Liz’s big travel dreams of visiting every state to come true, there’s still a bit more work to do. For them to happen, she needs to know there will be a toilet available that meets her needs.
“If there’s no Changing Places at the airport, you’ve got to wait until you get to your hotel with a hoist, and if it’s ready then you can use a bathroom,” she says.
Changing Places are now becoming a standard feature in airports, which means Liz is even closer to her dreams becoming reality. Brisbane Airport opened its first Changing Places facility in 2018, followed by Sydney Airport in 2019. Adelaide Airport is set to open its first early in the new year.
When Liz hears the news about Adelaide, her eyes light up.
“I’ll absolutely go to South Australia to surf,” she says.
For Liz, a new Changing Places facility isn’t just a new toilet she can use. It’s opening up a world of opportunity and adventure, providing her and other people with disability the same basic rights to get out and about and enjoy what’s on offer, like everyone else.
For businesses, facility owners and councils, Liz’s message is simple. Building a Changing Places facility is worth it, because it gives people with disability the opportunity to come and spend their time (and money) at your venue.
“It’s worthwhile doing. It helps your local residents have access to the community and ensures everyone feels like they’re welcome. It shows everyone that you’re offering inclusion.”
If you want to know more about Changing Places, where they are, or how to build one, click here.