Opinion: ‘Peterborough’s toilet location will be all important’

Campaigner Julie Fernandez writes about issues facing the disabled community in Peterborough as part of the PT’s award-winning Peterborough Unlimited campaign...

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 9:45 am
Campaigner Julie Fernandez.
Campaigner Julie Fernandez.

Fantastic news, Peterborough Unlimited, the campaign started by Joel Lamy, Cllr Julie Howell and myself, won the Community Contribution of the Year award on Tuesday.

The awards are organised by Athene Communications and Peterborough Telegraph.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend due to work commitments, but Cllr Howell attended on our behalf and accepted for us all.

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We are chuffed to bits as it just goes to show that if we all work together as a team, we can make things happen.

Getting the publicity from the award shows that people are listening and will galvanise us into working even harder to make all the changes needed to make Peterborough more accessible to disabled people and their families.

In fact, we have just heard that PCC was successful in receiving a grant for two Changing Places toilets for Peterborough. This was one of the subjects we have been working on at Peterborough Unlimited.

We are hoping that one of the Changing Places toilets will be put in Ferry Meadows, which is great news as it will allow more disabled people and their friends and family to be able to visit knowing there is somewhere accessible for them to go to the loo.

Whilst I write this, I think how crazy it is that it’s taken so much effort by us all to get PCC to put in the application for funding. How is it that we are still having to fight so hard for decision makers to do what is right and is enshrined in law – that being equality and rights for disabled people. An accessible toilet may sound like a basic subject, but if there isn’t one then how can disabled people enjoy themselves, attend an event, go for a walk in a beautiful park or go shopping in the high street!

We know that the other Changing Places toilet will be in the town centre, and this is where I have some serious concerns. A Changing Places toilet isn’t cheap, but it is essential, now that we have the funding for it, we need to make sure that PCC are in consultation with disabled people and disabled user-led organisations to ascertain where the best place to put it will be for those who use it. Let’s hope that PCC will not only engage with the disabled community but will also listen and do what is right for us.

We would love to hear your thoughts on where you might think that should be in the town centre and hope that we can achieve the consultation with PCC and the local disabled community, making sure that it is done properly. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] to let me know your thoughts on this.