An article in the news this month highlights an issue faced by many of the families our Court of Protection team works with. Adam George, of Redruth in Cornwall, is taking his local theme park to task over their lack of adequate changing facilities. Adam’s argument is that Flambards Theme Park has not made reasonable adjustments for him under the Equality Act, as it does not have a changing places toilet which allows him to be hoisted as required between the toilet and changing table.
Unfortunately it is the case for many of our clients that inadequate provision of toilet facilities prohibits them from visiting attractions that many other young people would do. This impacts not only on our clients, but on their parents and siblings who miss out on these experiences as a result. The decision here will be whether it is reasonable to expect an organisation to invest some £40,000 in this type of facility. The alternative is that a family rents their own at a personal cost of £350. With the costs related to disability already extremely high, this is a cost that could not be met by many.
It would be a great relief for our clients to know that their favourite day out could be undertaken without the worry of not having the most basic of amenities. This would remove some of the barriers to an active family life that are so numerous already. It would mean an end to trying to change a grown up child on the floor of a toilet cubicle; leaving events early to go home to use the changing facilities there; or simply not attending attractions because of a lack of facilities.
Our Court of Protection specialists regularly support clients to make adaptations to their own home environments so that they are suitable for their needs. We can’t, however, adapt every environment that they might wish to visit. We would welcome any change to the status quo that places some of that responsibility onto the organisations that offer services and experiences, thereby opening up so many new and exciting opportunities for those that require adaptations to be able to live the life they wish to.