Liz’s story

As a long-term advocate for Changing Places and disability rights, Liz was very pleased to hear about the change in the National Construction Code, which has been updated to include a new type of toilet: the Accessible Adult Change Facility. ‘I think that’s a fantastic step in the right direction.’

From 1 May 2019, certain classes of public building – such as major shopping centres, sports venues, pools, museums, theatres, art galleries and airport terminals – will need to include the new Accessible Adult Change Facility.

Liz is a trained social worker, who currently works as a customer experience officer in disability services. She enjoys an active social life, watching football at the MCG, movies, theatre and musicals.

Liz acknowledges that most people in the community are unlikely to understand how vital Changing Places are, ‘Unless you have a high dependency issue and need the equipment (such as the hoist and adult change table), you’re not going to understand what it’s for.’

These days Liz finds that she can’t look after herself as easily as she used to. Support workers are not allowed to lift her anymore, which means Changing Places are the only option. Having Changing Places available ‘means I can be more comfortable, because I’ve got the option to go to the toilet … I can stay out longer, because I have the ability to change myself.’

Liz would like to see Changing Places at every airport in Australia, domestic and international, in arrivals and departures. Travelling and not being able to go to the toilet is pretty hard work.

The change to the National Construction Code will hopefully contribute to a greater awareness of the needs for people with a wide range of disabilities. ‘More Changing Places means widening the boundaries experienced by people with severe physical disabilities and giving them a greater choice of places to go.’

Liz would like to see inclusion conversations with people with disabilities in the early stages of building development, to ensure a better understanding of what’s required and why – to ultimately provide a better outcome for the whole community.

Rebecca and Sarah’s story

 Rebecca’s thirteen-year-old daughter Sarah has a rare condition called Pallister-Killian syndrome. Sarah is fragile and has very high needs, she uses a wheelchair and needs support with eating and other aspects of her personal care.

Changing Places are essential for Sarah and her family to be able to participate in the community. As Rebecca stated ‘Where do you change a nappy for someone in their teens?’ Unless you have a child with a disability, you don’t really think about these things.

Sarah is able to sit up by herself and can do a standing transfer. Changing Places have an adult-sized change table, which can be raised and lowered at the push of a button. The Changing Places change table goes down low enough, so Rebecca is able to transfer and change Sarah, without hurting her back.
Where there are no Changing Places available – the family has gone home when Sarah needed a change, just left and not come back again – thereby missing out on events and activities. This can be quite an isolating experience.

Rebecca currently works providing information and support to other parents of children with disabilities. She was instrumental in the creation of Livvi’s Place, Victoria Park, Ballarat. The process of campaigning for a fully accessible playground resulted in a greater awareness about Changing Places and why they are needed.

Rebecca believes that it’s important for people like Sarah to be seen and heard. It’s good for the whole family, and good for the community. ‘Changing Places provide the security of knowing we can access a place, where we can take care of her physical and sanitary needs, with privacy and dignity.’

Michael’s story

 Michael is an engaging twenty-one-year-old who loves to watch rugby, football and the complete spectacle that is World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)!

In 2018, Melbourne was host to one of the biggest live WWE events, the WWE Super Show-Down – attended by over 70,000 fans. Fortunately for Michael and his family, it is possible for him to experience the thrill of seeing the WWE superstars live in action as many large entertainment venues – such as the MCG – now have a Changing Places facility.

It can be difficult for Michael and his family to attend such an event, as a great deal of planning is required: transport, accessibility, dealing with crowds and packing everything that’s needed. But knowing that there is a suitable toilet available makes a huge difference. And just knowing that such an outing is possible – can really make a difference in someone’s life.
The inclusion of a Changing Places facility gives many families the opportunity to participate in a family outing, rather than unfortunately being excluded.

Michael completed school four years ago and now enjoys going to Windarring (disability services and support provider) Monday–Friday. Every day there is a different activity; he particularly likes catching the train and going tenpin bowling. Michael is a keen observer and loves to watch what’s going on in the world. In his spare time, he has developed the fine art of watching two television screens at once, so as not to miss any sporting or YouTube action!

For the time being, Michael is content to watch the WWE superstars from afar, but with more WWE extravaganzas scheduled for Rod Laver Arena in the future, he may have an opportunity to witness the WWE crazy antics live!

Mollie’s story

 Mollie is an impressive young woman with a steely determination to succeed and carve out a career for herself. At twenty-two, like many others her age, she also enjoys going out and about, meeting friends and fellow students in Melbourne.

As a painter herself, Mollie has always enjoyed art and wanted to pursue a career in the creative field, combining this with the practical skills that would give her a good job. Interior design seemed the perfect fit. Mollie relocated from country Victoria to Melbourne in order to study Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT. Following the completion of this course, she recently started an internship.

Mollie was prepared for the challenges of moving to Melbourne and starting a university course ‘I knew that you overcome hurdles when they present themselves, and I didn’t really think about it too much’. It was a step-by-step process, which took some time.

When Mollie first started studying at RMIT, during breaks she had to regularly travel four blocks to the Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne’s Changing Places facility in order to use the toilet. This became really annoying (especially in winter!). In a one-hour lunch break, she drove her wheelchair up and back – as it was often quicker than catching a tram.

This difficult arrangement meant that she often missed out on interactions with other students and teaching staff, and sometimes critical class time also. But things were about to change.

A chance discussion with Mollie’s course coordinator led to the eventual installation of a Changing Places facility next to the library, in Building 94 (RMIT currently have five Changing Places across various campuses). After asking Mollie about her specialised needs, the course coordinator then spoke to the Dean and proceeded to instigate the project, which followed the Changing Places standards.

The new Changing Places facility meant that Mollie could now fully participate in student life – attending classes and meeting friends – without having to worry about travelling to a suitable toilet outside the university building each time she needed to use the toilet. Mollie was very happy about this development ‘It just made life a lot easier … all my classes were on Level 5 of that building, it was really good.’

Campaign – City of Greater Bendigo together with Scope

Bendigo wants a Changing Place

We would like to see a Changing Place in Bendigo CBD.

We would like to see a Changing Place in the CBD because Bendigo has over 100,000 people and no Changing Place within 5 km of the CBD.

People that require these facilities available to them are limited in their ability to shop in the CBD or attend events and festivals in the Bendigo CBD.

Read about the campaign in the Bendigo Advertiser by following the link below:

Calls for improved disabled public toilets in Bendigo

Changing Places campaign for Victoria Park, Ballarat

 

Campaign group: Touched by Olivia and Ballarat City Council

Campaigning for: A Changing Place facility in the inclusive play space at Victoria Park, Ballarat

We are building an amazing inclusive play space at Victoria Park. A Changing Places facility would ensure the best possible access for people with disabilities and their families.

Campaign case-study: St Kilda foreshore

In September 2014 the City of Port Phillip successfully led an advocacy campaign for a Changing Place to be built at the St Kilda foreshore.

At the time, the Victorian Government had announced funding to build six new Changing Place facilities across Victoria.  Three of these locations were to be chosen by a public vote hosted on the Changing Places website.

The City of Port Phillip campaign gathered public support through a number of means including social media, public signage and an article in the local Council newsletter ‘Divercity’, which featured Lisa Davis, a wheelchair user and Port Phillip local.

The effective campaign saw that St Kilda was chosen for a Victorian Government funded Changing Place facility.

The new Changing Place will be located at the redeveloped St Kilda Life Saving Club, which re-opens in late 2016.

This campaign was part of a broader strategy to make the beach more accessible to individuals with a disability.

Changing Places campaign for Chadstone Shopping Centre

Campaign group: Dianne and Brendan McCarthy

Campaigning for: A Changing Place facility at Chadstone Shopping Centre

My son Brendan is an active 27 year old man with cerebral palsy. Not having appropriate changing facilities severely restricts his ability to get out and do the things that he loves.

We live in the Chadstone area but, like so many people in Victoria, we often meet family and friends, some of whom would also use a Changing Place facility, at Chadstone Shopping Centre.  We want to be able to spend our time and money at Chadstone Shopping Centre like everyone else.

Without this amenity we have to cut our time short with our family and friends reducing the opportunities to extend our time relaxing and socialising, our shopping time is also reduced and the opportunity to participate in activities such as bowling or going to the movies become a problem.  With the continued development of Chadstone Shopping Centre it’s time to be a leader and provide this internationally recognised facility to cater for the full scope of people who visit.

Give us a Changing Place at the Show

The Royal Melbourne Show is Victoria’s largest and most iconic annual community event, held over 11 spectacular days in September at Melbourne Showgrounds. The 2016 Royal Melbourne Show will take place from Saturday 17 until Tuesday 27 September 2016. 

Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the Royal Melbourne Show celebrates and promotes excellence in Victorian agriculture, attracting around 450,000 people. However, there are no Changing Place toilet facilities at the Royal Melbourne Show which means that hundreds of individuals and families miss out or find themselves in undignified situations.