Briana has never been one to want to stay at home.
A Changing Places user, she and her best friend Bella share a keen sense of adventure. A passion for getting out and enjoying everything life has to offer.
But the Brisbane-based locals found that sometimes it was difficult to find accessible things to do around their hometown. Adventures became tricky, because they couldn’t easily find out what was accessible for them.
So, an idea was born. If there wasn’t a place people could find accessible things to do in Brisbane, why not make their own?
“We set up the Facebook page a couple of years ago,” says Bella, one half of Briana and Bella: Accessible Brisbane.
“Bri has a lot of friends with disability, and we found that if people didn’t know what there is out there that they can go and do, they can get stuck in the same old routines – going the places you already know are accessible, rather than new places,” she says.
Their Facebook page has quickly turned into a catalogue of places in and around Brisbane that are accessible for people with disability.
“We try and highlight the good things, as well as some of the barriers. It’s all meant to be constructive – if we are saying something isn’t accessible, we’ll say why and how it could be better,” says Bella.
For the duo, access to a Changing Places facility is a big part of what makes a day trip possible.
“When you know a Changing Places is available, it’s a massive relief. It adds some normalcy to your life, so you don’t have to plan out every minute of your day around when you might be able to access a toilet,” says Bella.
“People without disability don’t need to plan like this. They can assume there will be a toilet for them wherever they go. If we all had to plan our lives around going to the toilet, the world couldn’t operate.
“It’s not fair that for a lot of people with disability, this is just the reality.”
The message the pair have for organisations or locations considering building a Changing Places facility is simple: build it, and we’ll come.
“You’re going to get a whole new range of people who can suddenly visit your venue. It’s not a small group of people, there’s a lot of us. And we would go!” says Bella.
“We often go to Pacific Fair, which has a Changing Places facility, even though it’s an hour and a half away – simply because we know we can stay there for longer.”
“You’re not just building a toilet. You’re changing people’s lives by doing this – and not just the person with disability, but their families, friends and people caring for them” she says.
Building a Changing Places facility doesn’t just benefit people with disability, it benefits the facility owners too. Find out more about getting started building yours.